Perrys Porch

By Rex HoggardApril 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share
AUGUSTA , Ga. ' Its called Camellia, but after Sunday officials may want to rename Augusta Nationals 10th hole Perrys Porch, a roping right-to-left tee shot that seems to defy the physics of the modern golf ball and fit Kenny Perrys game like azaleas in April.
If the roars return to the back nine on Sunday as many predict the chorus will begin at the par-4 10th. On Saturday, Kentuckys own gave a glimpse of things to come, slinging his tee shot some 50 yards past fellow pacesetter Chad Campbell and lofting his approach to birdie range on his way to a share of the 54-hole lead at the Masters.
The birdie hoisted Perry to 12 under and sent a wave across the pitched canvass that the man who made family and friends and a home-game Ryder Cup a priority for all those years has turned his focus to about the only thing he didnt seem overly passionate about ' a major.
Not that the road ahead looks anything like a victory lap. Hes blown it before, on that same Valhalla venue at the 1996 PGA Championship that would later define his career, and he has the broadest shoulders south of equator in Angel Cabrera standing between him and a date with a green jacket.
This time, however, the pride of Franklin, Ky., has an edge, and no, its not that new driver that seems to be finding every fairway. This time Perry seems to have a clarity of thought and more confidence than hes ever had in his corner.
Hes also fulfilling that final chapter his father, Ken, has been hounding him about all these years.
Ive had a great career, and Id be very satisfied if it ended today, Perry said. But dad has always said, You need to win a green jacket.
If Tiger Woods father nurtured the prodigy to greatness, Ken Perry needled his boy to perfection. The Perrys always competed and when Ken won, which he usually did, he let his son know it so much that when Kenny Perry finally clipped his old man he celebrated like he had a green jacket draped over his shoulders.
I was 14. I beat him on the golf course, Perry said. You know how I did it? I hit a 4-iron in the hole for a one, he made par. I let him have it.
If hes going to deliver that green jacket to Franklin he first he must slip past Cabrera and a host of world beaters in waiting.
Sundays final two-ball has a combined age of 87, out with the young guns, in with the march of the middle aged.
Perhaps, considering the back-nine bonanza many expect in the final round, Saturdays goal was to do no harm. On Friday, when Anthony Kim was throwing 11 birdies onto the board, he inadvertently struck a theme when he noticed his parents in the crowd. I try to focus, but then my ADD kicks in, he joked.
Maybe the softer side of Augusta National demands a little ADD. Sports psychologist call it dumb focus ' see ball, hit ball stuff. And, if reaction from players late Saturday was any indication, no deficit is too high of a mountain to climb.
Within five strokes Im going to have a chance, said Steve Stricker, who is alone in fifth place at 7 under. It means I have to play some great golf, but you can go backwards or forwards here really easily.
How much is too much seemed to depend on how much change has really come to Augusta National. The players have done their part, the rest is up to those who set pins and, to a greater degree, Ma Nature.
But if Perry or Cabrera open the door even slightly, the line of takers is a whos who list of major players. Chad Campbell is two shots back, Jim Furyk is another shot adrift at 8 under and Woods and Phil Mickelson top a large group a touchdown away going into the fourth quarter.
Campbell seemed destined for a spot in the final group until he left his bunker shot from behind the 16th in the sand. It was a misstep, not a meltdown, and the quiet Texan who recently took a membership at Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth, played like the clubs most famous alum Ben Hogan for the other 53 holes.
He stumbled late, but the player who was once voted the PGA Tours best player without a major shingle has a calm that suggests it may finally be his turn.
I would rather be in the final group, obviously because you'd be a couple shots better and wouldn't have to make up as many shots, Campbell said. Still looking forward to tomorrow. Still got a great opportunity to win this golf tournament.
Besides, Campbell seems to fit the profile thats emerging from the first major played since last years Ryder Cup.
In fact, considering the leaderboard, a list that looks vaguely like Paul Azingers lineup from Valhalla, PGA of America officials might consider trying to slide Augusta National into the next open Ryder Cup spot. Among the top 10 after three rounds at Augusta National, only Stewart Cink, Justin Leonard, Ben Curtis and J.B. Holmes were missing.
For Perry, the sentimental hero of Valhalla, a Masters victory would be a coup de grace of his own design after putting more importance on collecting friends than major championships. At least, until now. And it could all start on Perrys Porch . . . make that Camellia.

Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

    Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

    Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

    The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

    In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

    "That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    "I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

    Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

    But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

    "Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

    "He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."

    Getty Images

    Koepka looking to make hay on Horrible Horseshoe

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:26 pm

    The Horrible Horseshoe - Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial Country Club - annually ranks as one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour.

    Consider Brooks Koepka undeterred.

    Last year's U.S. Open champ has played the stretch 2 over this week but knows that if he's going to have any chance at catching Justin Rose on Sunday, he's going to need take advantage of the par-5 first and then find a way to pick up shots on the Horseshoe.

    "I feel like just need to get off to a good start on this golf course," Koepka said after a third-round 67 Saturday. "If you can get 2 or 3 under through six holes, I think you'll be right there."

    Koepka will start the final round four behind Rose, as he looks to win for the first time since his maiden major victory last year.

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    The big-hitter missed nearly four months this year with a wrist injury and is progressing quickly in his comeback despite dislocating his wrist on two different occasions over the last two months.

    Koepka missed the cut with partner Marc Turnesa at the Zurich Classic in his competitive return before following up with a tie for 42nd at the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 11th at The Players Championship.

    Now, thanks to a closing birdie Sunday, he finds himself playing alongside Rose in the final group on Sunday.

    "I feel like my game is coming around," he said. "[At Zurich], I was five days into touching clubs. I am finally finding a rhythm and feel like I'm getting really close. ...

    "Just want to get off to a good start [tomorrow]. That's really all I am trying to do. You put together a good solid round tomorrow, you never know what can happen. The important thing is we were just trying to get in that final group. I thought the putt on 18 was kind of big to get in that final group and play with Rosey."

    Getty Images

    Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

    On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take a four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

    Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

    What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up one to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made 17 birdies and just three bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentinian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.

    Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 7-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

    Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year.

    Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

    Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th.

    His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

    Getty Images

    McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

    They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

    England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

    Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

    Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.