This Week in Golf – May 9th, 2011

Posted by Robert on May 9

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Goodbye to a Legend

We start out this week on a somber note.  The legendary Spanish golfer, Severiano Ballesteros, passed away on Saturday after a hard fought battle with brain cancer.  Seve won 5 majors, 6 Order of Merits, and a Ryder Cup record that is 2nd to none.

All three tours stopped in mid-round on Sunday to observe a moment of silence, honoring the man whose contemporaries compare him to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.  Seve was 54 years old.

Where’s that Tiger, Hold that Tiger

For the third straight week, we golf geeks were treated to bonus holes on the PGA Tour (for no extra charge) at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, SC.  And to add an extra twist - it was two former college teammates from nearby Clemson:  2009 US Open Champion Lucas Glover and Jonathon Byrd.

After Lucas made gutty pars on 17 and 18 to post -15, Jonathon needed a birdie on 18 to force the playoff.  Not likely as 18 was playing the toughest on the course and only two players in the field had birdied all day.  However Lucas didn’t have any doubts; he told Kostis right after the round that his old Tiger teammate was going to birdie it.

And as if on cue, Jonathon striped a driver 300 yards to 160, stuck his approach to 15 feet and poured in the putt.  The playoff wasn’t as dramatic - Jonathon missed the fairway and landed in the bunker and settled for bogey.

A bearded Lucas Glover looking more like a crewman on the Deadliest Catch than a touring pro  (as David Feherity astutely remarked during the broadcast)  ripped it down the fairway, put a dart in the middle of the green and two putted for the victory.  This was Lucas’ first win since the 2009 US Open.

Lehmen Wins Again

The Champions Tour went to extra holes as well this week.  Tom Lehmen won his 2nd major on the Geezer Tour at Shoal Creek in Alabama on the 2nd sudden death playoff hole.  He beat Peter Senior when Senior failed to make par - missing a 5 footer.  Lehmen is dominating the 50 and over crew.  This is third win in seven tourneys this year.  He won the Senior PGA Championship last year.

One of my favorites, Mark Calcavecchia, looked like he was in control all week.  He held the lead for most of the tournament until he reached number 12 on Sunday which he double bogeyed for the 2nd straight day.  Calc looking for his first Geezer Tour win, hit is drive right under a tree and after punching back out to the fairway he took his anger out on the poor defenseless tree.  The unarmed tree did not retaliate.

Dream a Little Dream

For the 2nd week in a row, The Nationwide Tour is proving to be the venue for huge underdogs to realize their wildest dreams.  Last week it was a Monday qualifier who won, this week it was an amateur playing on a sponsor’s exception at the Stadion Classic UGA in Athens, Ga.

University of Georgia senior Russell Henley became only the 2nd amateur to win on the Nationwide Tour.  This is Henley’s home course which gave him a little bit of an advantage; however he still had to face a strong field of pros.  And Henley is no fluke, he was the low amateur at the US Open last year finishing tied for 16th.

Next Up:

The big guys are playing one of the premier events next week, The Players Championship in Ponte Verde peach, FL.  This is the course with the trademark 17th hole island green.  It is considered by many as the fifth major and will draw a deep field.  Tiger Woods is back in action after his solid play at the Masters.

The Geezers, Ladies and the Kiddies are all off next week.

Until then, hit it, find it, and go hit it again.


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