Monday, June 06, 2005

Unlikely Champ

I don’t think there was any point during the final round that anyone not related to Bart Bryant thought he was going to win. When you look at the list of players within two shots of the lead after the front nine, you probably would have picked Bryant and Green to finish the worst of the group. Usually in prestigious tournaments like The Memorial, the big names shine. And there were a few big names, like Tiger, Couples, Sluman and Toms. They all have a major and at least 6 wins each on tour. Granted Couples and Sluman haven’t been in the middle of the action on Sundays much lately, but when the are hitting it well, they have tons of experience to carry them to the top. On the back nine it seemed that Couples was destined to win. After he staked it on 15, it looked like he had a two shot lead, but he missed the eagle putt. Then he bogeyed 16 and Bryant birdied 17. An instant later, Couples hits an awesome approach on 17 out of an impossible lie while Bryant is getting a huge bounce with his tee shot on 18 that eventually finds the water. As surprised as I was that Couples missed his birdie, I was down right shocked that Bryant made par from the hazard. Congrats to Bart Bryant, that was one hell of a finish.

Most may ask what happened to the big names on the back nine, especially Tiger and Toms. When these guys made the turn and saw so many players within two shots of the lead they knew that they had to get to 15 or 16 under to win. So they started pressing. They started firing at pins and when they started missing greens they found themselves in the wrong spots. They walk a fine line between letting the game come to them and pressing to try to make birdies. That’s why you see a Tiger or Toms make 3 or 4 birdies quickly but then all of a sudden make a double. They are going for broke with every shot.

Before the tournament I predicted that Perry, Toms and Goosen would all be in contention. Well, Perry finished middle of the pack and Toms was leading early in the final round. Goosen wasn’t in the field which was a bit of an oversight on my part. In the future, I’ll be sure to pick players in the field.

The Booz Allen is this week. I will preview the field and the course this week. I plan on attending on Friday.

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