Lumpy, Leonard and the guy who shot 102
With vintage Palm Springs weather returned to the final round of the Bob Hope Classic, scores were what they usually are at this event. That is, lower than low.
How low were they?
Consider: Of the 74 who teed it up for the fifth and final round, 62 went red and eight others matched par 72. So friendly were the confines that eventual champion Bill Haas made just four bogeys in 90 holes and played his final 47 bogey-free. Tim Clark played his last 42 bogey-free. The winning score cracked the 30-under mark for just the fifth time in tournament history.
All of which made Paul Goydos’ closing round stunning. In a negative way.
It was an 80, the highest of the 584 scores handed in by the pros over the course of five rounds. Of course, you’re bound to shoot such a score when you make a 9 at a par 3, as did Goydos did when three consecutive 4-iron tee shots went into the water at the fifth.
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Here is the good news: Tim Herron has escaped the bitter Minnesota winter with trips to Hawaii and San Diego, and along the way he’s gone 8 under in 36 competitive holes.
Now, the bad news: That solid play hasn’t earned Herron a spot into either of the two Monday qualifiers in which he’s competed. Ditto for Esteban Toledo, who, like Herron, went 5 under in Honolulu and 3 under in San Diego, only to come up short.
Frank Lickliter is another who has tried twice thus far, and other PGA Tour veterans such as Kirk Triplett are taking on the Monday challenge this year. Give them credit, because there are others who demand only free spots and couldn’t even tell you on which day the Monday qualifier is held.
Herron’s bid to get into the field at Torrey Pines featured six birdies and a solid stretch of pars, though it was all undone by a triple-bogey at the par-4 12th.
Among the four players who qualified for this week’s tournament at Torrey Pines was Michael Putnam. He did it in dramatic fashion, too. Sitting at 2 under on a day when you needed 4 under for a playoff, Putnam birdied the 16th, then holed out for eagle at the par-4 17th to finish at 5-under 67.
Two guys who didn’t get a chance at the Monday qualifier? Chris DiMarco and Joe Durant. Both were preoccupied with the fifth round of the Bob Hope Classic, which had spilled into Monday.
Two who did play in the Monday qualifier, only to fall short? Bobby Clampett (73) and Mark Carnevale (74).
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Oh, and the player who shot 102 in a pre-qualifier for the Farmers Insurance Open? Someone named Adam Lee. There is a day job, we hope.
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In July of 1996, five players who were full-time members of the PGA Tour chose to take part in the Scottish Open at Carnoustie. Whether appearance money, the desire to tune up for the British Open, or a passion for Haggis was the primary incentive, it matters little. Fact is, five U.S.-based players took a playing opportunity in Europe rather than tee it up at the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill.
One of the five was Scott McCarron – the same Scott McCarron who last week called on PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to put a stop to players getting releases to play in tournaments opposite U.S. events.
It serves as a reminder that the view sure changes when you move from one side of the fence to the other.
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As for those folks who are probably riding the anti-release wave these days, for your venting pleasure, let the record show there are seven PGA Tour members who have permission to skip San Diego and play instead in Qatar.
Five of them – Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, and Henrik Stenson – are European PGA Tour products, which tempers the argument. Camilo Villegas has received a release and so has Kenny Perry, who is perhaps playing his first-ever pure European PGA Tour tournament so he hardly should be used as an example to fuel the fires.
Much was made of the fact that Abu Dhabi had a far stronger field than the Bob Hope Classic, which makes you wonder in which cave have some folks been residing? The European stops in the Middle East have been consistently stronger the last few years than those in the U.S. they’ve been opposite, so again, file it under old news.
The same is probably true again this week, with Qatar possibly a better field than the Farmers Insurance Open. (Although when it comes to star quality, our one ace, Phil Mickelson, beats whatever five cards Qatar chooses to play.) Dubai will be fine next week, too, but after that? A series of stops in New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and Madeira. Terrific locales, we’re sure, but there’s not a meaningful tournament on the European schedule until the BMW PGA Championship in late May, so hopefully that hysteria will die down.
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Justin Leonard broke 70 for the first time this season with his fourth-round effort at The Hope. Unfortunately, even that 68 couldn’t help him avoid missing a second straight cut to open a season for just the third time since he joined the PGA Tour in 1994.
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Clubhouse leader for ironman status? Would you believe Pat Perez?
He’s entered into the Farmers Insurance Open and will thus be the only player to take part in all four tournaments this season.
Matt Kuchar, Brian Gay, and Bo Van Pelt had played in each of the first three tournaments, but are all skipping Torrey Pines.
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Don’t look now, but Tom Watson has fallen to 11th in the Ryder Cup standings.
Says here, however, that he’s still in the running for a captain’s pick. He is, after all, one of the few players in the mix Corey Pavin can relate to.