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Dont leave it short

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Hanging out at the notorious par-3 17th on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, watching the Senior Hogan Flight (handicap 8.0-11.9) in the third round of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour's Senior National Championship.

Billy Helmuth, a 54-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., was among the first threesome I witnessed play the hole, which was registering 117 yards to the pin.

Helmuth hit a gorgeous shot over the top of the flag, landing about 12 feet past the stick and rolling down the slope to within 4 feet.

As the next group came to the tee box, Jim Craig, a 53-year-old from San Felipe, Texas, said of Helmuth's ensuing birdie putt: 'Bet you he doesn't get it to the hole'

'No way,' I challenged. 'From 4 feet?'

Helmuth left it short.

'Told you,' Craig said. 'Too much pressure.'

After the green cleared, Craig proceeded to stripe his tee shot to within 7 feet; though, it was slightly above the hole, leaving a tricky left-to-right slider.

'One thing I can tell you, that won't be short,' he said of his upcoming birdie putt.

We won't say Craig left his birdie effort short. We'll just say he didn't hit it high enough. Or hard enough.