PGA Championship Sunday AM Blog: Twin Battles of the Titans
As you know from prior post readings, there are two major championships set for conclusion today, so let’s get to the predominant one…the women’s, err, men’s, uhhh, US Ama…PG..Oh, goodness, I cannot decide. Let’s not settle the tie of importance, but instead, look to the valor of combatants in both. For chivalry’s sake, we’ll start with the young ladies.
Maria Jose Uribe and Amanda Blumenhurst are set to do battle at Crooked Stick in the two-round, final chapter of the USGA Women’s Amateur. Uribe went -5 over 17 holes to dispatch Ha Na Jang, conqueror of Alexis “da’ kid” Thompson. Both birdied the final hole, the 193-yard 17th, in a fitting conclusion to the match. Uribe utilized a three-hole stretch of birdies from #9-#11 to move from one-down to one-up status. The match had yet to reach the 2-up mark until Uribe made four on the par five, fifteenth hole.
Amanda Blumenhurst was an unexpected -7 through fifteen holes in her farewell to defending champion Kimberly Kim. Add to the mix that Blumenhurst made par on two short (493 and 455) par five holes, and this was a potential 62-65 round! If we were to match cards from the semis, Blumenhurst would hold a two-hole lead with three to play. Both girls have made copious birdies over the course of the week, and anything less will probably not do on Sunday. I look for a surprise middle (holes 15-27) of the match, with a potential turn-and-surge for the eventual winner.
In that other event, cool Tulsa is preparing for the coronation of Tiger Woods as four-time PGA chamopion. To go with victories at Medinah, Valhalla and Medinah, Woods is suggesting that any PGA held at a lower midwest venue is his property. Forget the Whistling Straits (T24) and Hazeltine (2nd) runnings; it’s the furnace that captivates Woods. While other writers have suggested that this one is a done deal, I’ll go a bit beyond and offer support for why it is anything but.
Stephen Ames: has won the Players, and therefore, has experience in eliminating a strong field from contention. Also wishes to represent adopted country (Canada) in Presidents Cup this Fall at Royal Montreal. Thanks to Mike Weir’s barf-o-rama on Thursday and Friday at Southern Hills, Ames is primed to move from 19th into the top whatever, ripe for admission or selection.
Woody Austin: has shown that he can win events on tour, now gets a chance to make waves in a biggie. The putter is the key for Woody today, as he will probably find his usual number of fairways and greens.
John Senden: unheralded down-underer will benefit from the low-key pairing with Austin. Attention will be focused on the groups behind (Tiger and Ames) and ahead (Els and Weekley.)
That’s it. I’m not considering anyone outside of these three to have a chance at victory. Six down with Tiger in the lead is too far away. Els would need 62 to have a chance to get Tiger’s attention. Even then, I don’t think that the Big Man with the Little Voices would be able to finish a 62 off, which is what is needed to cage the kitty.
P.S. Euro Walker Cupper Lloyd Saltman is trying to pull a Daniel Summerhays and win on his land’s version of the Nationwide, the Euro Challenge Tour. Unlike Summerhays, who chose to turn pro and abandon the Walker Cup, Saltman is staying on to earn a cap for his squad. Speaking of Summerhays, he’s at -8 and six off the lead (T11) entering the final round of this week’s Nationwide event.
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