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PGA Tour: Wells Fargo Championship: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 13 May 2015, 4:03 pm

1).The "Pete Dye Swing" of the PGA Tour wrapped up at The Players last Sunday, and Dye's courses delivered three fine winners, Furyk at Harbour Town, Rose in New Orleans and a great climax at The Players with Rickie Fowler breaking through. His five-under-par finish was the lowest four-hole conclusion to a tournament by the winner since the Tour started compiling such trivia in 1983.

2).Plenty of good finishes by Europeans also, Sergio obviously, Donaldson (T8) and McIlroy (T8 while losing half a stroke per round to the field on the greens), and Knox and Stenson (both T17 with final round 68's). Disappointing final round from Poulter but I liked his congratulatory tweet to Fowler: "Totally overrated finish. Nice playing mate. Impressive."
Of course, bitter sweet from Poults as he tied for Fowler as the most overrated player on Tour in the infamous poll of his Tour colleagues. Perhaps one of the reasons for this perception is his propensity for poor final rounds. Scoring rank by round this season:
1). 16th
2). 30th
3). 66th
4). 144th.
Such polls are disingenuous to say the least, but one seasonal trend continues:

3).The anchorers are having a very hard time of it this year. Clark and Stadler have been injured most of the year and have not had much chance to boost their career earnings prior to the anchor ban. Others whose form has dipped, regardless of which putting style they're using:
Scott: Ranked 3rd in the world on Jan 1st; now 11th. Putting stat? Plummetted from 55th to 193rd.
Bradley: owgr placing down from 28th to 36th; putting stat from 47th to 140th.
Simpson: owgr placing down from 43rd to 50th; putting stat from 34th to 176th.
But one of the most forthright opponents against the ban, Brendan Steele, has risen in the owgr from 152nd to 95th, despite sliding from 72nd to 101st in the putting stat with his normal-length putter.

4).Rickie Fowler has climbed into the Presidents Cup Team qualifying positions. Current top ten, plus a couple of Captain's Choice suggestions!:
Spieth, Walker, Watson, Furyk, Reed, DJohnson, Fowler, Kuchar, Holmes, Haas (missed two putts inside 3 ft on Sunday and still finished one shot out of the play-off).
Mickelson: 37th.
Woods: 138th.

5).Tim Finchem has pulled another rabbit out of his hat with persuading "Career Builder" to sign up for six years as title sponsor for the old Bob Hope tournament in the California desert.

6).Francesco Molinari finished T10 in the "desert" four months ago offering hope that his foray onto the PGA Tour might be successful. But that's his only Top Ten, he's struggled with wrist injuries, seen his ranking drop and is playing this week in Espana as the European Tour kicks off its European "Swing".
Fellow Ryder Cup veteran Robert Karlsson is no longer a PGA Tour member, but still has a home in Charlotte and plays this week's Wells Fargo Championship; Stenson also plays and you'd think his game was tailor-made for to the Quail Hollow course, but his record here is terrible. Still fancy him though, plus a couple of other local-ish boys, Bill Haas and Fatty De Jonge.
David Lynn lost in a play-off here two years ago. sirbenson's scoop on DaveLynndawg suggested he might have retired; hope he and his family are OK, this seems pretty drastic.

7).The Wells Fargo Quail Hollow course will be the site of the 2017 PGA Championship and 2021 Presidents Cup. It's a Championship course by any standard which seems to suit players of all types. Holmes won last year, Furyk finished second (for the second time), the long and the short of it.
The greens have been resurfaced with bent grass replaced by Bermuda, and there are some fine finishing holes including the driveable 14th (perhaps my favourite short Par-4), the excellent sweeping Par-5 15th which Rory eagled during his 2010 coming-out party, and the 18th, a Par-4 featuring an especially tricky tee shot with a creek running down the left of the hole.

8).US Open "Local Qualifying" is well underway at sites across the United States and the June issue of Golf Digest has a timely US Open preview. A couple of things struck me:
~The course plays long. Very long. Gratuitously long?
The Par-70 Chambers Bay has 12 Par 4's and EIGHT of them are 488 yards and more, at least four of them over 500 yds. What's the point of that? Luke Donald is among those not yet exempt; given a presumed "bombers paradise" like that, why would he care?
~Strongest suggestion that The Country Club in Brookline (suburban Boston) will host the 2022 US Open following Chambers Bay, Oakmont, Erin Hills, Shinnecock, Pebble Beach, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, (2021), with LA Country Club lined up for 2023.

9).The year's first Champions Tour "Major" is in Alabama this week, the "Regions Tradition" at Shoal Creek where Kenny Perry won last year. Europeans Parnevik, Chapman, Langer, Lyle and Montgomerie are in the field, as is a resurgent Ian Woosnam.

10).Back to The Players to wrap these notes up, and NBC's Television coverage which included the assertion that The Players is the "pre-eminent tournament" in the World. Not exactly, but NBC are understandably miffed that Fox outbid them for the USGA's package of tournaments leaving NBC with The Players but no Majors.
There'll be some "out of the frying pan and into the fire" as Joe Buck (I can't stand him on his specialist sports, hope he's better on Golf) anchors the Fox coverage replacing NBC's excellent Dan Hicks, and the always opinionated Greg Norman takes Johnny Miller's chair. Hopefully the rest of the crew are better than the tired anti-anything not American narrative from NBC and we are spared stuff about the likes of Garcia, Poulter, Westwood etc, "This would be automatic in the Ryder Cup", as another putt slides by. (Will miss Koch and Maltbie though.)
Get over it Johnny, Rolfing, Jacobsen; every two years the Europeans are better than Team USA!
See you at the US Open. Oops. Wait!

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Post by GPB Wed 13 May 2015, 5:04 pm

Gonzo is apparently ALL IN for the PGATour as he is playing in Charlotte and more importantly NOT Playing the Open de Espana.

IIRC, EuroT officials would not give him a release to play QH during Open de Espana week.  Oleson was not able to play Greensboro last year when the Denmark tournament was being played.

Gonzo is about 400 pts from keeping his tour card, while playing almost every week.

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 13 May 2015, 5:42 pm

Gonzo is gonzo, still not certain of earning a place in the WTF fields.
Of those Europeans not currently (500 FedEx pts or other exemptions) of keeping their card, I'd say realistic prices might be:
1/5: Donaldson (409) and Westwood (415)
1/2: Jacobson (267)
6/4: Molinari (267)
7/4: Davis (251)
2/1: Blixt (244 - not sure whether he has an extra year)
25/1: Greg Owen (105)
20/1: Gonzo (77)
5/1: Dubuisson (72)

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 13 May 2015, 6:13 pm

Els has withdrawn from the Wells Fargo as he suffers from a muscle strain. Imagine he'll be catching an early flight to Wentworth - he'll want to recover in time to play there.

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Post by robopz Wed 13 May 2015, 6:18 pm

No wiggle room for Blixt... 2012 win has him good though 2014... 2013 win adds one year to be good through 2015. Distressing run of bad form for Blixt since last year's Masters though... a few encouraging sign's late last year... but so far this year it's been mostly famine followed by more famine...

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 13 May 2015, 6:24 pm

Cheers robo,
The good and the bad (ugly?) from Jonas last week.
He was on the range with Fowler as Rickie was awaiting news of late finishers.
But he hit the biggest duck hook on #18 (his 9th) on Friday, after which his driver flew just about as far left!
Not much reason to be optimistic for him the rest of the season except his short game can be brilliant and has bailed him out before.

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Post by GPB Wed 13 May 2015, 7:07 pm

Doug Ferguson's column highlights a three Walker Cuppers from 2007.

Rhys Davies beat Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in Singles matches in 2007.

He also won the Turkish Airlines Challenge on the Challenge Tour last weekend.

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Post by beninho Wed 13 May 2015, 9:49 pm

Gonza was never a top drawer plater in Europe. If he can squeeze out a living he is pretty much at his level I'd say. I know we mentioned david lynn on the other thread, I also recall from twitter he had a kid relatively recently, maybe he didn't want to miss the formative years travelling here there and everywhere. And who could blame him!!

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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 13 May 2015, 10:28 pm

Gonzo's had some very good wins and a handful of decent results in the US - certainly not a record to be sniffed at.
Trouble is, if he doesn't keep his card this year where will he play? Back to Europe I suppose, perhaps commuting from his Miami digs.


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Post by SmithersJones Wed 13 May 2015, 10:35 pm

Thanks as usual Kwini. You know better than us on this side of the pond but the impression I get of Fox suggests they're going to be more xenophobic rather than less!
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Post by kwinigolfer Wed 13 May 2015, 10:59 pm

The only thing I ever watch on FOX these days is the FA Cup and Champions League stuff they have. So I get Martin Tyler, or commentator-du-jour and don't have to worry about anything else. They never carry my NFL Team's games and if they have my baseball team on I just turn on the video and listen to the radio commentary.
And they don't do news so don't have to concern myself with that.

But Joe Buck is so far up himself that he might find Peter Jacobsen up there.
Hopefully Greg Norman will be better but no sign of that from the cameos I've seen of him.
Prepare for the worst!

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Post by navyblueshorts Thu 14 May 2015, 8:37 am

kwinigolfer wrote:...But Joe Buck is so far up himself that he might find Peter Jacobsen up there...
Laugh
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Post by Bob_the_Job Thu 14 May 2015, 9:53 am

Great write up Kwini - you're why I don't have to trawl through all the dross in the golf mags/sites.

Love Quail Hollow and the side on view live on TV of McIroy hitting his 5 iron second to the 15th in 2010 is one of those golf images that will stay with me (sadly I didn't follow golf when the likes of Seve was in his pomp). The way the championship tee is set on the 18th actually makes the creek look like it is the middle of the fairway.

I'm still Marmite on Poulter - he can be funny and endearing at times, and such a kn0b at other times, but as a golfer, he's always been streaky and a bit like GMac, capable of playing above his talent level for spells.
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Post by McLaren Thu 14 May 2015, 11:40 am

bob

Very good point, I follow a few golf related tweeters but thanks to kwini I don't feel the need to delve into the dirge of modern golf mags.



Quail hollow is the sort of major venue we need more of, especially in the UK. It produces good pro golf events but is not so precious in terms of architecture and history that the odd modification is an issue. We need not worry when news of a tweak to quail hollow is announced but I flinch every time a classic is altered in the name of making it relevant for a modern major championship.


McIlroy has apparently put in many hours on the putting green since The Players™ after an admission of poor putting, as proven by kwinis stat of .5 strokes lost to the field on the greens. But what happens to a player who admits his putting was a little wonky?

It must be something terrible as for years Woods has avoided ever uttering that his putting was an issue. Is Rory about to find out what catastrophe woods was trying to avoid?
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 14 May 2015, 12:16 pm

Cheers Chaps,
Agree about Poulter being Marmite, but at least he's our Marmite! Usually fun to follow, but says and does some daft things, on and off the course.

Mac,
I think the latest re-do, re-seeding greens, switching to Bermuda, also softened some of the greens which Phil used to criticise annually. This from 2010:
"For as beautifully designed as this golfcourse is tee-to-green, the greens are by far the worst-designed greens we play on Tour. I would say that 18 is the worst green we have on Tour, except that it's not even the worst on the golf course. Twelve is."!!!!


Nice start for Fleetwood in Espana, but early retirement for Sullivan; not sure exactly why.

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Post by McLaren Thu 14 May 2015, 12:31 pm

Did phil have a point, or was he suddenly confronted with a more interesting set of greens and didn't like the challenge?

When pro golfers comment on architecture you know even if they don't explicitly say it that the horrid concept of "fairness" makes up a large component of their argument.


PS: Have you seen the latest round of phil is the greatest tipper story doing the rounds? Pay your people properly and you won't as a nation have to be so obsessed with tipping.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 14 May 2015, 12:41 pm

Mac,
The QH Club agreed with Phil so presumably he had a point. When I went, also in 2010, they were having trouble grassing the 12th green, it looked almost bare in spots due to it's tree-shaded location. Assume they've afforded it more light now.
Why would Phil keep going back if he "didn't like the challenge"? He's only missed one Quail Hollow tournament, only two in the field have played more.

Phil's tipping is legendary, but America is f*cked up as far as tipping is concerned; and it's getting worse. Many restaurants automatically add 20% to your bill for a group of six or more - out of this world absurd. I'm quite happy leaving nothing if service/food etc is not up to snuff, but it usually means I have to explain why to the "maitre d'". Ridiculous.

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Post by Roller_Coaster Thu 14 May 2015, 3:12 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Many restaurants automatically add 20% to your bill for a group of six or more - out of this world absurd. I'm quite happy leaving nothing if service/food etc is not up to snuff, but it usually means I have to explain why to the "maitre d'". Ridiculous.

I guess (hope?) Vegas probably isn't typical even for the states, but we were in one place that did that for just 2 of us. Needless to say the bill still had space for "gratuity" as well. Wonder what proportion of customers simply pay the figure and add the "normal" 18 percent on (again).

Place was full of "automatic 18% for groups of 6/8 or more" signs. Don't agree with it, but it is what it is I suppose as they have told you about it before you choose to eat there. However it included the buffets too!?! Here's 20% tip for allowing me to serve myself with your less than exquisite fayre. F**k off.




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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 14 May 2015, 4:01 pm

Quite, Roller.
It just eliminates some restaurants from consideration when going out in a group. I very seldom pony up more than 15%, usually in a place where I'm more likely to pay cash and find something like Neil Young's favourite:
"She worked in a diner
Never seen a woman finer
I used to order just to see her float across the floor" etc.
In that case, cash and make sure it goes straight to her!


Meanwhile, Phil was helping himself to the Quail Hollow buffet, three birdies in his first three holes, but gorging himself early has done no good - now +1.
Harrington playing OK at -1.

After yesterday's comments about Jonas Blixt and his dismal form, he's playing much better today. -2 and beyond being about time he had a decent tournament. Early days though.

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Post by McLaren Thu 14 May 2015, 4:03 pm

+2 and T91 for Sergio in the first round of the Spanish. laughing
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Post by McLaren Thu 14 May 2015, 4:31 pm

+3 drumroll
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Post by navyblueshorts Thu 14 May 2015, 5:42 pm

McLaren wrote:+2 and T91 for Sergio in the first round of the Spanish.  laughing
Don't count your chickens too soon Mac...

At least he's supporting his home event.
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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 14 May 2015, 7:36 pm

Plenty of good scoring at Quail Hollow, but only Streb going really low with his 65.
Harrington has two Top Tens here and he's off to a solid start. Hope he keeps it up.


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Post by skiddy Thu 14 May 2015, 10:41 pm

'Tiger Woods has never been one of the best drivers of the ball'. Bruce Critchley just retire already!

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Post by kwinigolfer Thu 14 May 2015, 11:26 pm

Bit of a mess for Rory with a water-ball at the 17th, but two under ain't bad. Would be nice to see him take advantage of what should be ideal scoring conditions tomorrow morning.
Russell Knox again the best of Team GB&I - 15 pars and 3 birds, great stat's strokes lost putting. How many times have we seen Knox the best GB&I golfer this season? Quite a few!

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Post by Bob_the_Job Fri 15 May 2015, 8:28 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Bit of a mess for Rory with a water-ball at the 17th, but two under ain't bad. Would be nice to see him take advantage of what should be ideal scoring conditions tomorrow morning.

Scoring conditions were pretty perfect when he was out yesterday - the greens were still rolling true.  He's just not in the same crystal sharp form he was mid to end of last season.  He seems a bit off with his short irons which is pressurising his putting.

kwinigolfer wrote:Russell Knox again the best of Team GB&I - 15 pars and 3 birds, great stat's strokes lost putting. How many times have we seen Knox the best GB&I golfer this season? Quite a few!

He doesn't seem to have an extra gear which is what's needed these days as the fields are so strong and the quality so high. I suspect a lot of tournaments recently have been won by someone who has thrown in a super low round at some stage.
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Post by navyblueshorts Fri 15 May 2015, 9:48 am

skiddy wrote:'Tiger Woods has never been one of the best drivers of the ball'. Bruce Critchley just retire already!
Except...it's true.
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Post by super_realist Fri 15 May 2015, 9:49 am

navyblueshorts wrote:
skiddy wrote:'Tiger Woods has never been one of the best drivers of the ball'. Bruce Critchley just retire already!
Except...it's true.

Agreed, hitting it far doesn't make you good. Woods driving has always been errant.

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Post by incontinentia Fri 15 May 2015, 10:15 am

I thought he was pretty good at driving when he was with Butch Erm
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Post by McLaren Fri 15 May 2015, 11:15 am

"[Golf] doesn't need to be in the Olympics," (adam scott)

http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/12886892/adam-scott-mince-words-olympics


Hard to disagree with that.
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Post by super_realist Fri 15 May 2015, 11:25 am

AGree, a sedentary, fat mans game like golf has no place in the Olympics.

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Post by skiddy Fri 15 May 2015, 11:57 am

Its not true at all. Hes been number 1 in total driving before. Its another lazy myth commentators peddle out to fill air time when theyve nothing to say. Something Critchley spends his whole time doing.

Total driving
98- 16th
99- 4th
00-1st
01- 39th
02- 11th
03- 45
09- 12
12- 6
13- 17

Those stats which take into account distance and accuracy suggest he has always been one of the better drivers of a ball.

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Post by McLaren Fri 15 May 2015, 12:03 pm

skiddy

Thanks for posting those stats. It is crazy for people to think Tiger could be so successful with poor driving.
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 15 May 2015, 12:07 pm

Bob,
Agree with what you say about Rory and Russell Knox.
Rory's distance control has been off for the past month, even at the MatchPlay. And his medium-range putting not great either.
But he certainly has that extra gear, or two, that you say Knox doesn't. Rory looks very comfortable in Charlotte; hope he takes advantage this morning.
Knox has become very consistent though, and he'll throw in low rounds when his putter is warm, which it certainly needs to be for him to go to the next level.


Woods's stats speak for themselves, unfortunately for him, then . . . . and now.

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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 15 May 2015, 1:56 pm

Completely agree with Adam Scott regarding the Olympics.
But sadly, if he carries on playing as he has done recently, his disdain will be academic - four over par on his first four holes this morning.

Quail Hollow cut-line heading from even par to minus one. And that'll mean another wasted week for Brian Davis and Gonzalo unless they pull their respective fingers out.

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Post by skiddy Fri 15 May 2015, 2:09 pm

Any idea why he keeps going on about it?
Is it because he doesn't want to 'work' for a week without pay?
No idea why he really cares either way

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Post by super_realist Fri 15 May 2015, 2:17 pm

I liked Fowlers thoughts on the issue.

"It would be a dream come true for a dream I've never had"

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Post by I'm never wrong Fri 15 May 2015, 2:58 pm

The most interesting man in golf is 4 under par with a hole in one.

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Post by SmithersJones Fri 15 May 2015, 3:38 pm

Bad day at the office for yesterday's leader in Spain - Trev's given back the 7 shots he picked up yesterday Doh
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Post by McLaren Fri 15 May 2015, 3:42 pm

My man sergio looks like he might make a sneaky cut. Crying or Very sad
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 15 May 2015, 3:55 pm

Miguel won 288 x Ale
You know he'd've preferred 288 x RedWine

I'm sure he can arrange a trade.

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Post by McLaren Fri 15 May 2015, 3:57 pm

Maybe he could share a couple with Keegs next time they cross paths. Although I have a feeling keegs doesn't drink. (despite the claims of him having his "own" beer)
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Post by Bob_the_Job Fri 15 May 2015, 3:58 pm

Good start for McIlroy on the trickier back 9

Do Nike not realise that their current strap line is very open to interpretation - "Nike Vapor. There's always better."??
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Post by kwinigolfer Fri 15 May 2015, 4:25 pm

Scores all over the place in Espana.
One curiosity is that the leading (with round still in progress) Espana golfer is Edouard Espana. And he's French!

Russell Knox showing the value of a warmer putter, now tied for second.

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Post by incontinentia Sat 16 May 2015, 9:58 pm

Rory is playing amazingly! Yikes
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Post by Mad for Chelsea Sat 16 May 2015, 10:30 pm

11 under par, and the longest putt he made about ten feet, if that. Special round of golf from the world n°1, his iron play and wedges out of this world today.

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Post by GPB Sun 17 May 2015, 2:10 am

I would be SHOCKED if Keegan was a teetotaler.

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Post by pedro Sun 17 May 2015, 10:10 am

By the looks of his eyes he's defo smoking/drinking/eating something.

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Post by McLaren Sun 17 May 2015, 11:45 am

GPB wrote:I would be SHOCKED if Keegan was a teetotaler.

Can I ask why you would be shocked?
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Post by incontinentia Sun 17 May 2015, 12:52 pm

A while back, when JB Holmes shot his phenomenal 62 at Doral we spoke about the great rounds on the PGA tour in recent years. Rory's final round at Quail Hollow in 2010 was mentioned, but surely yesterday's 61 has to be up there too. Does any of the stats gurus out there know what the field average score was yesterday?
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