Combat at the Generals Post
And so it's fitting that the tour swings to the Monterey Peninsula to help decide things. This week's stop is the now inactive Fort Ord military base and the Bayonet Course designed by one of the military's very own. General George McClure laid out the plans for this track back in 1954, and boy, has it withstood time! Years later it ranks as the second most difficult course in all of Northern California.
The Bayonet's rating is 75.6 from the back tees. Compare that to local toughies like Spyglass Hill (75.3) and Poppy Hills (74.6). Just for the record, 2002 U.S. Open venue Bethpage Black sits at 76.5.
'We (the players) were talking and this should be the Tour Championship,' said Arron Olberholser. 'They could hold a U.S. Open here. Tomorrow!'
Olberholser sits at No. 1 on the tour's money list and a good week here would go a long way toward earning the year-long title.
The course is familiar to Olberholser, who hails from California and played the course many times as a teenager. He is also one of three players in the field who, with victory, would earn a tour-titled 'Battlefield Promotion' to the PGA Tour. Fitting that it could happen at a military base.
Cliff Kresge also has two wins, as does Jason Gore. All three realize the importance of a good week and the chance to win the money title which allows a player complete exempt status on the PGA Tour for the following year.
Patrick Moore is also one win shy of the coveted three wins that would move him to the next level, but he is taking this week off.
There is plenty to play for in the next few weeks. Top 15 is the obvious goal, which earns a player PGA Tour privileges for the following year. But top 30 is big as well. It exempts a player into the finals of the PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournament. Those players 31-70 are exempt from the first stage of Q-School and begin the quest to earn a PGA Tour card at second stage.
As you watch this week on the Golf Channel, certainly follow the likes of Olberholser, Gore and Kresge to see if they can do what Chad Campbell did here last year. Campbell made the Bayonet Course the site of his 'Battlefield Promotion.' Campbell then went on to nearly win the PGA Tour's Southern Farm Bureau Classic a few weeks later.
Keep an eye on players hovering around the top 15. Veteran players like Jay Delsing (15th) and Omar Uresti (16th). But also keep tabs on youngsters like Andy Miller (38th) who Monday-qualified his way to victory last week and is trying to make like his Dad Johnny and carve out a Hall of Fame career.
There is no doubt about it. General McClure's course, which was hand-built by soldiers, is the perfect track to help separate the best on this tour from the rest. Par will be tough to come by at week's end and somebody might just make Fort Ord the site of their 'Battlefield Promotion.'
Full coverage of the Monterey Peninsula Classic
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
After grinding out a 68 on Friday, Tiger Woods is trying to get the lead all to himself in Round 3 at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him.
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Highlights: Tiger birdies six of his first seven
Tiger Woods entered Saturday tied atop the board and wasted little time taking the outright lead at East Lake.
Woods moved clear of the field with this birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.
Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.
One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.
He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.
He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.
He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.
Iowa State honors Arozamena before football game
AMES, Iowa - Iowa State honored slain golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena with an elaborate ceremony ahead of the Cyclones' game against Akron on Saturday.
Iowa State's band used a formation that spelled out Barquin's initials, and both teams wore a decal on their helmets in her memory.
A tribute to Barquin played on a video screen before a moment of silence, and fans were also asked to wear yellow, one of Iowa State's main colors and a nod to Barquin's Spanish roots. Most of the roughly 60,000 fans in attendance complied with yellow and with golf shirts on a chilly morning in central Iowa.
"I think it's fantastic. The tribute is amazing. But ultimately, it would have been perfect if she could have been here for her tribute, which was going to happen anyway." said Ed Hamilton, a retired police officer from nearby Ankeny, Iowa.
Barquin, the Cyclones' first conference champion in 25 years, was finishing up her degree at Iowa State and working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.
A memorial honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena at Jack Trice Stadium. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
Barquin competed in the U.S Women's Open earlier this summer, and coach Christie Martens said she was approaching "the pinnacle of her career."
"Iowa State fans are very loyal. We haven't had too many winning football teams over the years. Yet the fans turn out. There's a great loyalty here -- but it spills into other sports as well," said Iowa State fan Kent Hollrah of Denison, Iowa.
Collin Richards, also 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in Barquin's death. Police said Richards stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond on the course, where it was found after other golfers noticed her abandoned bag.
Cyclones coach Matt Campbell also wore an Iowa State golf hat on the sideline to show solidarity with his colleagues.
"Be with all of us today Celia, your legacy will forever live on & we are forever grateful for your impact. Much love from your Cyclonitas," Iowa State linebacker Willie Harvey tweeted earlier Saturday, using the nickname that Barquin had for her teammates.
Tiger, Bryson testing each other's golf balls ahead of Paris
ATLANTA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t arrive in Paris for next week’s matches until Monday, but one pairing already seems to be penciled into captain Jim Furyk’s lineup.
Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners, and when Furyk made both captain’s picks, it added to the notion that they would be paired during the team sessions in France. On Tuesday at East Lake, Woods and DeChambeau teed it up yet again.
Both Woods and DeChambeau play Bridgestone golf balls, although they use different models.
“The two are very similar, they are very numbers-oriented and that translates to their feel on the course, but they get fitted to two different golf balls,” said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf’s ball-fitting manager.
Woods plays the company’s Tour B XS, which is softer and spins more, while DeChambeau plays the Tour B X, which is designed to take spin off shots.
Although DeChambeau played a version of the company’s golf ball that was close to what Woods now plays earlier in his career, he appeared to be preparing for a pairing next week during Tuesday’s practice round.
“I’ve seen some chipping of the other’s ball during practice rounds, getting used to it,” Rehberg said. “There’s been some sharing of golf balls internally between those guys. It’s almost like the worst kept secret in golf. It seems they are going to be paired up one way or another.”
The rules for the Ryder Cup were changed in 2006. They allow for foursomes teams to change golf balls between holes but not during a hole, which explains the duo’s interest in becoming comfortable with the other’s golf ball, particularly around the green and for chip shots.