This One Wont End in a Tie
'I was there, but left in the 6th inning,' said Joe Durant. 'I went back to my hotel to watch the finish on t.v. and when they decided to call it I said NO. Don't do that!'
Buick Classic winner Chris Smith was there as well and has an idea as to how to finish things off the next time managers run out of pitchers. 'Let's just bring in a strong-armed outfielder and have a home-run derby,' Smith quipped! 'But let's set the record straight. I wasn't booing. I didn't want to set a bad example for the kids.'
When it comes to the Greater Milwaukee Open, Smith need not worry about any bad behavior. This week's golf is actually great fun for the kids. In fact, you might be hard pressed to find a tournament that is supported better by the community than this one.
With brats on the burner and beverages flowing just as fast, the only thing more popular at Brown Deer each year is birdies. And you can expect plenty of them! This course is less than 6,800 yards in length. Its only true defense is the rough. But last year's winning total of 18-under-par was the highest total in the last four years. Two-time GMO champ Loren Roberts won it in 2000 at 24-under.
The fan favorites are the same each year. Four native Wisconsin boys are in the field. Led by last week's champ Jerry Kelly who lost a playoff to Roberts in 1996 and finished third in 1999. Steve Stricker is here along with Skip Kendall and J.P. Hayes. Hayes is actually the one with the best recent record here. He's finished third each of the last two years.
Yet, none of Wisconsin's favorite sons has ever won the tournament. And as Stricker admits, 'The pressure's mounting.'
This tournament is actually one of the Tour's best kept little secrets. Quaint atmosphere, fans who appreciate the tournament for more than just 'who's in the field,' and a golf course that many in attendance have actually played for about $30.
Nobody asked me, but I like Skip Kendall this week to represent the Badger Boys the best. But watch out for the likes of Neal Lancaster who qualified for the British Open on the strength of strong finishes the last few weeks, and perhaps a couple young guns. Bryce Molder is a non-member who has made nearly $300,000 in 10 starts this year. And Charles Howell nearly won the tournament last year. He's all smiles this week for some reason. Maybe he knows something we don't!
I do know this. This Milwaukee sporting event won't end in a tie, and one look at any of the concession stands and you realize they won't run out of pitchers either!
Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.
Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.
Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.
“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”
Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.
“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”
Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.
Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.
Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.
Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.
Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.
The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.
The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.
This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.
After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.
“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”
Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.
Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.
“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”
Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.
To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.
“More punishment,” he said.