Posts Tagged ‘Henrik Stensen’

Junior Golf: Thrilling Olympic Battle

In today’s Monday Mulligan we look at the thrilling final 18 holes of the 2016 Rio Olympics Men’s Golf Competition. It was a classic battle which had a ton a drama and surprises! (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

Yesterday started off with Justin Rose 1 shot ahead of Henrik Stensen and everybody else was basically fighting for 3rd in theory, at least, because these 2 guys were in good form. Rose appeared unflappable as he had been playing well for the 1st 3 rounds and Stensen had been playing good for weeks and recently won The Open Championship. Probably neither 1 was going to collapse during the final round. Bubba Watson was T4, 6 shots back and Matt Kuchar was T7, 7 shots behind Rose and Rickie Fowler was 9 behind and Patrick Reed was 13 shots down in the pack. Medal hopes for the Americans were not looking good.

With Rose and Stensen trading birdies nobody gave much thought to 3rd place until someone saw that Matt Kuchar, playing a couple of groups ahead of the leaders, had gone 6-under par on holes 5 through 10 and was blasting past people on his way up the leaderboard. Getting a bronze was looking good but a silver or gold was needing 3-under at least on the 3 easier finishing holes. After driving the par 4 16th, Kooch 3-putted for a par. Stuck his tee shot on the par 3 17th to less than 3 feet and made a birdie and just did not hit his 3rd shot close enough on the par 5 18th and made par, so he finished 13-under and locked up the bronze medal.

Meanwhile back in the last group, Stensen pulled even to Rose with a birdie on #17. Now they’re tied going into the par 5 72nd hole. Lead NBC announcer legendary US golfer Johnny Miller said,
“I think whoever birdies this hole wins! I don’t expect both guys will make birdies, the nerves are just too great!” All of the announcers made reference as to how everybody on the course, not just the players was feeling the intense pressure of being the 1st Olympic Golf Gold Medalist in 112 years!

So Henrik was 1st to hit to the 18th green leaving his approach almost 30 feet short of the hole. Then Justin stuck his 3rd shot to maybe 2 feet, pressure, what pressure? Henrik missed his birdie putt so that meant a 2-footer was all that Justin needed to win the gold medal and yes, he made it. Coming down to the final shots on the last hole, what a finish for golf!image

Gold Medal-Justin Rose, Silver Medal-Henrik Stensen, Bronze Medal-Matt Kuchar. Great job guys!

Let me close with some quotes from Matt Kuchar and his USA teammate Bubba Watson. “I can assure you I’ve never been so excited to finish in the top three in my life,” Kuchar told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands. “I can’t explain to you the pride I feel just burning out of my chest. It’s something I haven’t felt before.” Watson, who was in contention for a medal at the start of Sunday’s round, was excited for Kuchar. “I was grinning from ear to ear every time I looked at the leaderboard and saw he was making pars and making birdies, he was going to get a medal. As long as he signed the scorecard the right way, he was going to get a medal.” Can you say team sport?

See you on #1 tee looking to be a part of something bigger than yourself… Sam

Junior Golf: Congratulations Jimmy!

In this Monday Mulligan we will revisit the great action at the men’s PGA Championship. This tournament provided as much excitement and interest as anyone could want, filled with everything you could imagine except for lead changes, hard fairways and fast greens. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135

In the leadup to this event most pundits had Jason, Rory, DJ, Jordan, Henrik, Bubba and Ricky in their top 5 favorites to win. There were a few other names in the mix with some writers offering 10-15 of their most likely-to-win names. The thing is that Jimmy Walker’s name was not on many, probably not any, lists.

Some of you may not be familiar with Jimmy. He’s a local guy for us, playing high school golf at Canyon High School in New Braunfels on the northeast fringe of San Antonio, college golf at Baylor, just up I-35 in Waco and now lives in Boerne on the north edge of our city.

Until his win yesterday Jimmy’s most recent victory was at our own 2015 Valero Texas Open on the Oaks Course here at TPC San Antonio. And he is a strong supporter of The First Tee of Greater San Antonio, where Linda, Dr. Nick Askey and I put on regular parenting seminars. So I think it’s fair to say that San Antonio golf fans were thrilled with Jimmy’s 1st major win!

Parents, this tournament is 1 of those BIG reasons I recommend you TiVo pretty much every pro tournament. Day 1 provided plenty of surprises with Jimmy unexpectedly leading and Rory and DJ not playing well at all and a lot of other top players looking pretty good.

Friday saw Rory and DJ go home, as in not making the cut, what’s up with that? Some other big names moved up the leaderboard and couple of new guys, like Robert Streb were playing well. Jason and Henrik, among other were staying in contention and looked like they were going to fight all the way to the 72nd hole.

Saturday morning saw a few people get 18 holes in but play was stopped before the leaders teed off. So 36 holes was on tap for the leaders on Sunday, a test of endurance and patience.

Lift, clean and place was in effect Sunday as about half the tee shots plugged or got virtually no roll. So the course played longer, even though the soft greens meant the guys could shoot right at the pin. As the day went on, it seems that someone tied Jimmy for a hole or 2, but Jimmy didn’t falter, but everyone else did, except for Jason Day. The guys trying to catch up, were for the most part too far behind and Jimmy was playing very solid golf.

Henrik was in it with Jimmy and Jason until he blew a ¾ 9-iron over the green for a double-bogey on #15 and never really regained his game afterwards. So we had a 2-man race with Jason trying to catch Jimmy and Jimmy not making any mistakes. On #18 tee Jason was thinking he is 2 shots behind and needs to eagle the par 5 18th to have a chance to get in a playoff. As he walks up the fairway he sees the leaderboard showing that Jimmy had just birdied #17 and now he, Jason was 3 shots back. It had to be an eagle and Jason hit his 2nd shot to 10 feet or so and made the putt for the eagle. Now Jimmy knew he needed a par 5 to win. (photo pga.com)

PGA Championship - Final RoundGoing for the green in 2, he blew his 2nd shot over the green into some fluff. A lot of folks questioned why Jimmy chose to go for it rather than laying up, but Jimmy,and his caddy knew his stats and would hit the same shot again. So Jimmy hit a flop shot to about 30 feet and put his lag putt to about 3 feet. Folks if you want pressure, try standing over a 3-footer on the 72nd hole to win your 1st major! No problemo for Jimmy! He stroked that little putt into the center of the cup like he had been doing all day long, what performance under pressure! Congratulations Jimmy Walker!

See you on #1 tee looking like a major champion… Sam

Junior Golf: Unexpected Results

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will look at unexpected results, what happens when your son’s round of golf doesn’t look anything like you thought it would or should, or what we, his team, were expecting.img_0106

A perfect example is yesterday’s 1st round results at the PGA Championship. 2 of the biggest favorites will need to have a great round today or miss the cut. Rory McIlroy had a 4-over par 74, with 35 putts. Please note that most tour pros would love to average 27-28 putts per round, or less, so 35 is horrible. Now Dustin Johnson, winner or 2 events in a row not that long ago blew up to a 77, what’s up with that? (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Along with Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, these were most of the top names being picked to win the 4th major of 2016. Let’s see, Jimmy Walker and Martin Kaymer, who are they again? Well, Martin has won 2 majors and Jimmy has won 5 times in the previous 2 years, but neither has had a lot going on this year. How is Jimmy leading and how is Martin tied for 4th with Henrik among others, after 1 round?

Jimmy said he grew up playing a Tillighast course, I think referring to our wonderful Brackenridge Park Golf Course, Old Brack, here in San Antonio. The big greens, generous fairways and bunker placements were familiar to him. Folks, the pros favor some courses over others and pleasing to the eye, familiarity, acceptability of their preferred shot shape, etc are big deals. It’s a bonus to Jimmy that a course in a major feels comfortable to him. (Jimmy Walker photo pga.com)

PGA: PGA Championship - First Round

Jul 28, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; Jimmy Walker reacts to the crowd after making a putt on 17th hole during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC – Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports

And Martin Kaymer, in majors he’s either really on or really off and if it’s an on week for him, look out. He can get in a serious zone. Let’s not forget Henrik Stensen, winner of The Open Championship 2 weeks ago, he’s and Martin are only 2 shots back. No disrespect to the other players in the top 10 after round 1, but you can look up the complete leaderboard online.

What does this mean to you and your junior golfer? Competitive sports is tough, it’s like life, things happen! Good things and bad things happen and many cannot be readily explained. It’s getting back up to hit another shot that counts. Believing that the next shot will be a good shot counts even more! I can assure you that there were times S3 looked like he was ready to cry, faint or throw up after hitting a bad shot or having a bad hole. Sometimes he got over it on the next tee box and sometimes it took a few holes, but he got over it during the round, usually finishing with a strong final 3 holes, at least.

Being an encourager is 1 of the most important roles for a parent. Remember that just because your son has been playing great recently does not mean he will play great in his next event. The encouragement must be that nobody plays great all the time, but he, your son, must believe he can hit a good shot after hitting a poor 1. Positive, positive, positive! If you get knocked down, you get back up. Forget the bad, focus on the good.

Let’s enjoy this great golf weekend! The Women’s Open Championship is in progress and of course we have the rest of the Men’s PGA Championship. Get the TiVo going!

See you on #1 tee expecting good shots… Sam

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