Thursday at Congressional: Who Made a Statement?

Posted: June 16, 2011 by mceagle611 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



Well, all I can say is if I were a betting man this would not be my conjecture for the outcome of the First Round at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Throughout the day the course played extremely difficult leaving no room for error – the epitome of the US Open – as players had to refocus after a good percentage of their shots. See Golf’s National Championship has a different approach than the rest of the majors; in the Open – especially in the first two rounds – you have to keep your head above the water…there is no going low (Or at least that’s what we expect). As long as you are in the field on Saturday, you likely still have chance; the unfortunate fact about the Open, though, is that one gets to the top of the leaderboard by demonstrating poise and consistency. Not destroying the course in only one 18-hole round, rather testing your nerve because you have to make pars ALL DAY LONG.

As he has done for quite a few of the past couple majors, Rory McIlroy demonstrated the poise and consistency that is needed to win the tournament during the First Round – rather he made birdie after birdie instead of par after par. The beautiful thing about this tournament is that par is a good score and the players fall down the leaderboard when they fail to make that 6 or 7 foot par-save, rather than missing the 18 or so foot birdie. If you take a look at the leaderboard – with McIlroy’s immaculate round of 65 topping them all – you would see names that might ring a bell. Two years ago today if I told you to identify whom Charl Schwartzel, Y.E. Yang, and Louis Oosthuizen were you would certainly reply by saying something along the lines of, “who in the hell are those guys?” Well at that time, despite being the huge golf-enthusiast that I am, I would agree – no one knew who they were.

However the players overcame great odds to win recent Majors, in some cases more than just majors. As a huge Tiger fan I will never forget the unforgettable performance that Yang had to beat out Tiger Woods for the 2009 PGA Championship. Louis Oosthuizen’s dominating performance at St.Andrews, having a winning margin of 7 strokes. Finally, Schwartzel’s recent Masters victory in which he finished birdie, birdie, birdie….birdie. Wait a minute, I’m having a flash-back to that very same 2011 Masters, let’s re-visit it.

In the Masters which occurred during this past April, who had a First, Second, and Third Round lead? Shot a First Round 65 (Coincidence?)? Then finished with an all but uncanny 80 (+8) accompanied by being outside the top 10? Our Irish boy Rory McIlroy! People are saying he has recovered from the meltdown but I don’t buy it one bit. He could be ahead by 6 strokes going into Sunday; but he will not win especially because this Congressional Course can eat you alive if you are not striking the ball well. If you shoot an 8-over par at Augusta National – at times a course in which you can make up some strokes – then you certainly are not going to do well at any USGA US Open course. We’ll see who will emerge as the one who consistently shoots that 69 or so, only that person will have a chance of winning the tournament.

My Predictions after Day 1 –

Players who have played their way out – Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood were curiously good players in the same group that may have moved out of contention early. I think Donald is still in it and may have to shoot under par on Day number 2.

Winner with Scores: If my heart was predicting it would say Phil Mickelson (74,69,69,70). However, my golf knowledge says Graeme McDowell (70,70,73,69). I think that Jason Day, Y.E. Yang, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson will be there in the end, but McDowell knows how to make good shots and clutch putts.

Winning Score : 282 (2-under par)

Comments
  1. […] : Phil Mickelson – Ouch Phil, not a great performance at the US Open. Mickelson, likely the favorite at the beginning of the weekend at Congressional Country Club, didn’t exactly get the birthday present he was looking for. He […]

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