Phone: 1.201.803.5546|

The Tour – Fifth Event


The players were sort of getting used to going to sleep Sunday in one place and waking Monday in another. Sort of, as the unnerving part had pretty well disappeared for most, instead replaced by a sort of anxiety, the kind little children face when they hop in the family car and, when they ask them where they’re going, mommy and daddy say, “It’s a surprise.”

Replacing mommy and daddy in this scenario was The Chairman. And he left it for his charges to figure out where they were. For most, it was easily recognizable. Though the greens had the reputation of being lightning quick, so quick, in fact, that a humorous comment made by a noted golf commentator was taken as derisive by the humorless powers-that-be at the course to the point where said commentator was never invited back, the course was recognized as, though not overly difficult, definitely a true test of golf forcing a golfer to use every club in his bag and to sometimes recognize that, though the shortest distance between where a ball lay and the hole was a straight line, that wasn’t always the most efficient way of getting there, especially on or near the greens. The course was also recognized as one of the most beautiful and maybe best maintained in the entire world.

That course was Augusta National and it would be the host for the fifth event on The Tour. As The Chairman had noted two weeks ago before the start of the third event, at Pebble Beach, this event could mean the end of the line for those on the Ruckhaus Tour who had yet to advance past the first hole in any of the first five events.

This being the fifth event, it was ‘put up or shut up’ time for 146 golfers. That represented about two-thirds of the entire tour contingent for this week. The Ruckhaus Tour might be a lonely place next week but it would give the survivors a better chance to advance to the Staffa and maybe even the Gerney Tours.

But, before sending the Ruckhaus Tour players out, The Chairman had this to day: “Due to all the players making it past the first hole at last week’s event and therefore making to the Staffa Tour as provisional members, there are too many golfers available for too few spots. I can do lots of things, like magically transport you from event to event and have you play your rounds in a minute or two. But, one thing I can’t do is to have any more than 156 golfers play in a tour event at any one time. And, this week, 173 golfers qualified. So, for the 50 who qualified to move up to the Staffa Tour this week, I’m going to have a one round Monday qualifier where those 50 will qualify for 33 available spots. For those who don’t make it, you’ll have a second chance to move up to the Staffa Tour as a result of this week’s event. In addition, if there are spots available for next week’s tournament, wherever it may be, you’ll automatically qualify.”

UP NEXT: The Monday Qualifier


50 players were playing for 33 open spots on this week’s Staffa Tour. With 66% of the field moving on, the aim in this one-rounder was to be “good enough.”

Most golfers went out to the first tee figuring that par would be “good enough” and playing conservatively while trying to pick their spots to pick up extra stroke would be the rule of the day.

Par was, indeed, good enough.

More than good enough was Ernie Vossler, who birdied six of his first seven holes, added another on ten then cruised home with a 66.

Another player who sprung out of the gate was Howard Twitty. Almost unfortunately, he dropped like a rock. Going out in 5-under 31, and adding another birdie on twelve to take it to 6-under, Twitty conservatively went for the par-five fifteenth in three only to scuff a 50-yard approach and put it in the water. His second attempt overshot the green and it took him three to get up and down for a triple bogey eight. On seventeen, Twitty overshot the green and, again, took three to get down. The downward spiral continued (and mercifully finished) on eighteen as his drive went into the woods, deep and unplayable enough where he had to take a drop, eventually making double and finishing at even par 72. Just good enough.

Six players tied at +1. They’ll be playing for four spots. They are:

Fred Daly. Out in 33, a 40 on the back including three bogeys and a double on fifteen where he tried to go for the green in two and failed, putting his ball in the water and taking a seven.

Frank Stranahan. Three birdies in the first four and also out in 33, the back nine was equally as horrible for him as it was for Daly as his approach on eleven went into the water as well as his third on fifteen, walking (or crawling) away with double both times.

Sandy Lyle. He actually eagled fifteen as his 3-iron from 207 held the green and he made a 24-footer. But five bogeys canceled out both that and two other birdies.

Fred Funk. All over the map on the front with three birdies, three pars and three bogeys, Funk came up short with a 2-iron approach on fifteen as his double bogey there was one shot worse than the birdie he had on thirteen.

Toney Penna. Actually fairly consistent today as he had fourteen pars. A birdie on five was canceled out by a bogey on six but he couldn’t quite undo the double on eleven as he put his approach in the water–as the only birdie Penna could muster on the back was on fifteen, overshooting the green on his second shot approach and getting up and down.

Bobby Cruickshank. The “Wee Scot” went out in 38 and couldn’t quite make up for it on the back nine. He birdied fifteen (a 6-iron to six feet and making the putt) and eighteen (a 4-iron approach from 189 and a seven-foot putt) but was undone by a sixteenth hole bogey as his tee shot on the par three landed in the left hand trap, put his sand shot to within three feet then two-putted.


Six men play for four spots in a playoff starting at one.


FIRST HOLE (445 yards, par four):

Five pars with the player who had the best chance at birdie choking.

Daly, Lyle and Cruickshank all made it on in regulation and two-putted. Stranahan missed right on his approach but up and down, making a 6-footer for par. Penna put his approach into the left trap and hit out to within two feet, making his par. Funk hit his approach to within 12 feet, missed on that putt then choked on a one-footer.

Funk is out and the other five move on, still playing for four spots.

SECOND HOLE (575 yards, par five):

Only Penna made the green in two and that just on as, after a 318-yard tee shot, his two iron managed to just split the bunkers on either side, leaving him 51 feet for eagle. Stranahan unloaded a 306 yard drive, went for it in two and missed left but chunked his third into the bunker. He got up and down, making a six-footer for par. Everyone else was on in regulation three.

Daly hit his approach to 16 feet and two-putted for par. Cruickshank hit his approach to within seven feet while Lyle bettered that, his ball stopping two feet closer.

Penna two-putted from 51 feet for birdie. He’ll move on. Cruickshank drained his birdie putt as did Lyle.

With three birdies and four spots to fill, Penna, Cruickshank and Lyle are guaranteed to play in this week’s Staffa Tour event while Stranahan and Daly will move on to the third playoff hole.

THIRD HOLE (350 yards, par four):

Each hit safely and conservatively, both hitting 2-irons with Daly stopping 105 yards away and Stranahan ten yards closer. Each hit his approach safely on, Stranahan to fifteen feet and Daly three feet closer. Stranahan missed his putt but Daly didn’t and Daly will move on to the Staffa Tour.


Before sending out the Ruckhaus Tour players, many in their quest for mere survival, the Chairman asked this easy question: “What’s the final word of every prayer?” More than a few golfers answered, “Amen.” “Well,” said The Chairman, “that’s where you’re going.”

Some of the old-timers looked quizzically at The Chairman. It was their fellow competitors who were familiar with the course who gave a quick explanation of something known as “Amen Corner.” Truth be told, as the term was only coined in the past fifty-odd years, even some of those who were familiar with the course in its early days had no idea of the term. But, then, they’d also be surprised as to how the course had been lengthened. For instance, as the 234 golfers would be starting on the eleventh hole, some would be taken aback that a hole which was about 400 yards when the course first opened in late 1932 was now close to 500 yards today without adding an extra stroke to its par four.

Those who survived eleven would attempt to traverse Rae’s Creek and hold the green at twelve. Make it past there and try to reach the par five thirteenth in two. After that, as far as The Chairman was concerned, “It’s a surprise.”

THE FIRST HOLE (11th – 485 yards, par 4)

234 teed it up and 28 walked away with birdie. It wasn’t easy with the pin in the Thursday pin placement, which is a rather difficult one, for two reasons. First, it’s toward the front and near the pond. And, second, the capricious wind can play havoc with even the best approach shots.

LONG DRIVING CONTEST: John Daly at 345. That’s no surprise. What was a surprise was someone not known for “grip it and rip it” was his equal–Chi Chi Rodriguez. “Drive for show” as neither birdied, Daly making par and Rodriguez three-putting.

CLOSEST TO THE PIN: Donnie Hammond had the shot of the day, pushing his drive into the trees. With a bit of an opening, he put a 2-iron to within a foot.
Honorable mention: Billy Mayfair (2 ft.) and Bart Bryant, who made up for a short drive by hitting his approach from 207 within three feet.
All told, nine players hit within seven feet with seven making birdie, only Dave Ragan (6 ft.) and Gene Sauers (7 ft.) choking.

DIDN’T HAVE TO MAKE A PUTT: Russ Cochran came up short and just missed rolling into the pond. With 45 feet, a side hill lie and the ball above his feet, he chipped in. Jeff Sluman missed his approach past the pin and off the green to the right. With a clean shot at the pin, his bump and run from 65 feet was dead center.

DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Some golfers saved their fictitious careers with long birdie putts. Not all the long putters were putting for their careers, but they were impressive nonetheless. George Knudson, 34 feet, Billy Andrade and Roger Maltbie, 37 feet, Fred Funk, who missed in the Monday qualifier playoff, 40 feet, Gary Koch, 45 feet, Gibby Gilbert, 48 feet and two guys who saved their asses because, if they missed, they were goners, Don Pooley, 50 feet and Ray Floyd, 54 feet.

MISSED BY THAT MUCH: Ken Green’s chip was right on line by he missed by less than one roll of the ball, his ball hanging over the edge of the cup and not dropping despite a very slow walk to his ball, then casting his shadow over it and staring at it intensely. The good news for Green? As a Staffa provisional member who picked up $20,000 in his first two events before getting shut out in his third and ending up in golf’s equivalent of A-ball, Green’s career isn’t an inch away from ending.

NEXT UP: The par-three twelfth.


Of the 234 golfers to tee it up on the first hole this week (the 11th on this course), 28 survived by making birdie and moving on to the very pretty but otherwise innocuous short par three over Rae’s Creek. Innocuous until the golfers realized that the capricious swirling wind would come into play and would likely be different for every golfer. You couldn’t watch a member of your foursome hit first then attempt to get a good read. In other words, get your 155 club out, hit and hope.

28 teed it up on twelve and five survived.

Water landings immediately knocked out five players. Missing the green knocked out everyone who did that as nobody chipped in.

Now, for the “greenies”:

CLOSEST TO THE PIN: Paul McGinley, 3 feet. Made the putt.


LONG DISTANCE PUTTING: Lefty Russ Cochran drained a 51 footer.

MOVING ON (In alphabetical order): Bobby Clampett, Russ Cochran, Larry Hinson, Paul McGinley and Don Pooley.

It’s off to the par five thirteenth.


The Thursday pin placement on this par five is cruel–up close to Rae’s Creek. Do you go for the green in two and risk putting your approach in the creek with and under-hit or do you miss long and leave a thirty-foot (or more) snake of a putt? Or, do you hit short and hope to get up and down thinking that birdie here might be enough?

The first threesome:

POOLEY: Went for the green in three, got close but missed his eight foot putt for birdie.
McGINLEY: The worst tee shot of the three, by far, as he shanked a 2-iron well into the trees, but had an opening and was able to place a 5-iron to within 75 yards, getting up and down by making an eight foot putt.
HINSON: Had the best tee shot, leaving a clean line from 232. But his 2-iron came up short and in the creek. He got up and down, but needed just the “up” part, as par wasn’t good enough.

Pooley and Hinson are definitely finished.

The other twosome:

CLAMPETT: Shanked a 3-wood. Didn’t have much for a second shot, but managed to get out into the fairway leaving 125. His sand wedge came up short and he elected to chip from just off the front of the green. His chip wasn’t close, leaving 11 feet. Though he made the par, he’s done.
COCHRAN: Hit a 3-wood dead center leaving 237 in. Knowing birdie to be good enough, he elected to lay up, leaving 44 yards. Unfortunately, the odd distance with a creek in between seemed to confound Cochran and he left himself short, but dry. Needing to chip in from 35 feet, he missed by four feet, settling for par.

Paul McGinley, on the cusp of being sent packing by The Chairman wins this week’s Ruckhaus Tour event in three holes along with the $180,000 first prize and a full Staffa Tour card.

On the next edition of “Top Shot”: A bunch of players who couldn’t get past the first hole for five straight weeks are eliminated. You’ll find out who after this message from our sponsor.


Having not made it past the first hole in any of the first five events, 126 golfers were eliminated.

Anderson, Armour (both grandpa and grandson), Baiocchi, Baker-Finch, Barnes, Bean, Bies, Blake, Baddeley, Brad Bryant, Burns, Cabrera, Joe and Michael Campbell, Canizares, Cink, Tim Clark, Coe, Coles, Collins, Harry and Pete Cooper, Cotton, Cox, Crampton, Crenshaw, Dickson, Dodson, Mike Donald, Dudley, Evans, Farrell, Fazio, Fehr, Fezler, Fitzsimmons, Fleck, Fleckman, Fought, Funseth, Marty Furgol, Gilder, Glasson, Goodman, Grady, Bert Greene, Groh, Harmon, Hart, Henke, Allan and Harold Henning, Hulbert, Hunt, Jamieson, Grier Jones, Kirkaldy, Kirkwood, Kratzert, Lawrie, Lowery, Lye, Maggert, Manero, Maruyama, Don Massengale, McCumber, McDermott, McDowell, McGee, Mediate, Mize, Nieporte, North, Oberholser, O’Grady, Olazabal, Oosterhuis, Padgham, Pampling, Peete, Pohl, Ragan, Rees, Reid, Renner, Revolta, Riley, Rocca, Schlee, Schoux, Shaw, Sifford, Sills, Sindelar, MacDonald Smith, Springer, Stadley, Streck, Tewell, Thorpe, Tolles, Torrance, Travers, Travis, Wadkins, Ward, Bert and DeWitt Weaver, Wetterich, Buck White, Wiebe, Wiechers, Zarley, Barron, Butler, Flesch, Randy Glover, Steve Jones, Nary, Nobilo, Steve Pate, Ransom, Bill Rogers, Stankowski.

The reason why the last eleven aren’t in alphabetical order with the rest were that those golfers played on the Staffa Tour as provisionals the first week, won no money and got bumped down and won no money in the next four weeks. The list is stacked by money earned. Minimum wage for five weeks on the Ruckhaus Tour was $2,700 with the final eleven earning $2,337.

NEXT UP: The Staffa Tour event from Augusta.


It was an amusing site. On one hand, it was The Chairman, with his traveling road show of the greatest golfers in history–a gentleman who could seemingly snap his fingers and have over 500 of the best golfers in the world magically transported to many of the most venerable courses in the world. On the other, it was the stuffed shirts in the green jackets of Augusta National, gentlemen (only) who could snap their fingers and watch lots of people jump–a TV network, advertisers, the tournament help and the patrons–don’t dare say “gallery.”

So, who was going to run this show? Turned out to be The Chairman, though the green jacketed crew controlled the weather.

As the 156-man field comprising the Staffa Tour this week played their first round, they faced windy conditions though with approachable but customarily very quick greens. Though there were some impressive scores, only 35 broke par.

Curtis Strange was one of the early risers and he quickly set the tone with a 7-under 65. He birdied the even-numbered holes on the front side with a seventh hole bogey as his only blemish. Out in 33, he turned it up a notch on the back side. At the start of “Amen Corner,” the difficult eleventh hole, he knocked home a 23-footer for birdie. At the conclusion of “Amen Corner,” the par five thirteenth, he banged a 285 yard 3-wood to the center of the dogleg then calmly placed a 4-iron to within six feet, sinking the putt for eagle. Strange got lucky on the par five fifteenth as he just cleared the pond in front of the green with his second as most balls tend to slide back into the water. With a difficult stance, he hit a miraculous chip which almost went in, settling for a tap-in birdie. A 7-iron on the par three sixteenth stopped within five feet which was converted for birdie and sent Strange to 8-under. Unfortunately, his approach on eighteen went into the right bunker and Strange couldn’t get up and down, missing a seven-footer for par.

With a later tee-off time was Dave Douglas. The front side was almost mundane–Clark Kent-like, as Douglass parred eight of the holes. But there was one hole–the third, where Douglas played like Superman. Playing at 350 yards, Douglas smacked the daylights out of a driver, hitting the green on the fly and rolling off the back. Chipping from 15 yards, Douglas flushed it for the only eagle on that hole today. Onto the back nine and Douglas played like a man possessed. He started ten with a 316 yard blast, the downhill landing area helping a bit, then deposited a 7-iron to within five feet, making birdie. Eleven saw Douglas drop an 18-footer for birdie and twelve saw him birdie the par three from even further away, 25 feet. After a par on thirteen, Douglas birdied fourteen with a 6-iron approach to six feet. He almost eagled fifteen, clearing the pond and stopping within seven feet. But he slid the putt past and stared down a five-footer which he put in the center of the cup for birdie. Pars the rest of the way in led to a 31 back nine and, like Strange, a 65.

Rounding out the top ten: Skee Riegel (66), Bud Holscher, Ralph Guldahl and Sam Byrd (67), Willie Goggin and Don Fairfield (68) and, in a four-way tie for ninth, Justin Leonard, Sandy Herd, Jimmy Clark and Dick Metz, all at 69.

Speaking of Herd, he got out to the fastest start of all, birdieing four of the first six holes thanks mostly to fine approach shots, though he did knock in a 16-footer for birdie on the par three sixth. But the back nine wasn’t as kind, starting with a bogey on ten no thanks to a poorly hit approach which left a long bunker shot and which led to a bogey. After that, birdies on eleven and thirteen were canceled out by bogeys on fourteen (a three-putt) and the last (more sand) leading to a inward nine of 37 and his 3-under score.


Someone had to be at the bottom of the leaderboard. And that was Adam Scott with an 11-over 83. Amen Corner wasn’t kind to Scott as his tee shot on eleven hung up in the left rough leaving him over 200 yards in. He hit too much club and found the lone bunker in the back right. That was worth bogey. On eleven, he probably should have taken one more club as his 9-iron ended up in Rae’s Creek. Taking his drop just behind the creek, he chunked number three into the water as well. Five went just off the back but he managed to get up and down for a quadruple bogey seven. The final insult was “Army golf” on eighteen (left, right, left, right). One in the left trees. Chip out on two. Left bunker on three. Right bunker on four. Five on and two putts good for a three-bagger. Ugly.


Yesterday’s first round co-leader was in front by a couple lengths before falling back and yielding to the other co-leader.

Curtis Strange, whose opening round 65 tied him with Dave Douglas for the early lead, got it to 12-under and a three stroke cushion on the rest of the field before he faltered near the finish line. Even still, he’s only one back.

Four birdies and a bogey sent Strange out in 33 and his tournament score to 10-under. He started out well on the back nine, not hitting an overly long drive (288 on that hole is often 40 and 50 yards behind the really big hitters) but making the most of his 4-iron approach, leaving only five feet for birdie, which he converted. He also converted on the back end of Amen Corner, hitting a superb drive to the dogleg and a 2-iron in, landing him safely on the green but a long way out–over 50 feet. But he two-putted for birdie to take it to 12-under.

Then came the final three holes as Strange seemed to lose his edge.

He overshot the green on the par three sixteenth and took three to get up and down. Seventeen was a three-putt disaster from 13 feet after a drive dead center and a crisp 8-iron approach. The eighteenth saw a drive pushed right into the trees. Strange was able to advance the ball but not onto the green. 50 yards out, it again took him three to get up and down, dropping him from three up on the field into a three-way tie for second at one back.

Douglas seemed to play conservatively today despite the benign conditions, picking his spots and making birdie while not making any mistakes which cost him strokes.

The conservative part was sort of 20/20 hindsight as Douglas birdied two of the first three. The opening hole was on in regulation followed by a 15-foot putt while three was a conservative 4-iron followed by a 9-iron to within four feet. If you remember, Douglas had taken a different tack yesterday, crushing a drive that rolled off the back of the 350 yard hole before chipping in for eagle. So, two different approaches, both from yesterday to today and even from the first hole to the third and yet two positive results.

It was pars the rest of the way in for Douglas save for dropping a 14-footer for birdie on the fourteenth though there were a couple bits of drama even among the pars. On the par five fifteenth, Douglas elected to go at the green in two. But he pushed his second a bit right, just clearing the pond and landing in the bunker. It took him three to get up and down and he walked off with par. On the next hole, the par three, he overshot the green but then chipped to within two feet, again walking off with par.


Two others are tied with Strange at 9-under. Skee Riegel, who was one off the pace yesterday with a 66, cashed in with birdies on the two back nine five pars on his way to a 69.

Bettering that by a bit was Bud Allin’s 65. After a 70 yesterday, Allin shot out of the gate quickly today with five birdies on the front side including a near hole-in-one on the sixth when his 7-iron just cleared the massive front trap and stopped just a foot from the hole. An eagle on 15, when his 3-iron from 229 set up a nine foot putt, along with an eleventh hole birdie, more than canceled out a bogey on sixteen.


Jim Barnes, with a 64. After a 73 yesterday, he’s now at 7-under and in a three-way tie for fifth at three back. Barnes earned his keep on the back nine, almost making a mockery of Amen Corner in the process. Eleven was a 6-iron from 196 to within six feet. That was worth a birdie. Twelve saw Barnes drain a 34-footer on the par three for another birdie. On in two on thirteen, he two-putted to make it three birdies in a row. Fourteen was a 9-iron from 163 to within four feet. Fifteen saw Barnes clear the pond comfortably and two putt from nine feet for his fifth consecutive birdie. Three pars coming in and he had 31 on the back side and a low round of the day at 64.


+1, with 81 golfers sticking around for the weekend.


And what about Adam Scott and his 83 yesterday, which placed him dead last in the 156-man field? Well, needing 62 to make the cut, he did darned well, but not good enough, improving his lot by 17 strokes with a 66.

Like the fellow who just won the Masters, Charl Schwartzel, Scott finished with a bang, birdieing four of his final five holes. Come to think of it, Scott didn’t do half bad in this year’s Masters either. Fourteen was a 15-foot putt. Fifteen was a second shot which rolled off the back of the green and an up and down. Sixteen was a two-putt par. Seventeen was a wedge to eight feet. And eighteen was another 15-foot putt. If only he could have played 27 today.


The guys at the top had a bit of rough going while another player came back from teetering on the cut line to move within striking distance.

It was Dave Douglas and Curtis Strange in the final pairing. Though he had a rough back nine, Strange sort of hung around, shooting a one-over 73. At this point in time, it leaves him two back.

For Strange, a tee shot behind a tree at eleven led to his first bogey of the day. Into the trees again at thirteen, he punched a 7-iron into Rae’s Creek (or a tributary thereof–whatever). Bogey again. And eighteen has just been an anathema to Strange through the first three rounds. Yep, trees again. He was able to advance the ball to within 50 yards of the green but couldn’t get close to the way back pin placement, making it a bogey five for the third consecutive day.

As for Douglas, the front nine was a disaster. A three-putt bogey six on two was just the beginning. In the right hand bunker on the par three fourth, he watched his second shot roll just off the green past the back left pin placement. 17 feet away, he elected to putt and did that three times for a double bogey. Hitting his tee shot into the trees on seven, he made another bogey and repeated that performance on nine. Out in 41, three birdies and a bogey got him home in 34 but that’s still a 3-over 75 for the day, putting him in a three-way tie for tenth.

Tied with Douglas but heading in the other direction was a man just on the good side of the cut line, Mike Weir, who had the low round of the day by two shots.

A run of three consecutive birdies on three, four and five sent him out in 33. Weir saved his best work for the back nine. For the third day in a row, he birdied ten. Even though he hit his drive under 300 yards and got little of the favorable roll that the heavy hitters customarily get, his approaches all three days were spot on: Eight feet in the first round, five in the second and nine today. He put a 9-iron to within three feet of the very accessible pin placement on twelve, played short of the creek but got up and down on thirteen, hit within twelve feet on the par five fifteenth, two-putting for yet another birdie and knocked home a 25-footer on seventeen to come home in 31 and finish with an 8-under 64.

The man with the second best round of the day found himself playing in the final pairing tomorrow, Dave Hill. After a 34 front side, Hill had a four-under run from thirteen through fifteen as he finished with a 66. Going for thirteen in two, he overshot the green but got up and down for a birdie four. Fourteen was an 8-iron approach to within seven feet and another birdie. Fifteen saw Hill hit a 300 yard drive, but down the left side and with the big tree in his way. Forced to improvise, he deliberately hooked a 5-iron and hit a miraculous shot, not only clearing the pond, but watching his ball roll to within four feet of the cup where he made the putt for eagle. 6-under 66 for Hill and a share of the third round lead.

Who’s Hill sharing the lead with? Ralph Guldahl, who posted a 4-under 68. Guldahl made hay on the two back nine par fives. On thirteen, he missed a bit long but got up and down for a four while, on fifteen, he landed safely on the green in two but made an impressive two-putt from 45 feet. A final birdie on seventeen, where his pitching wedge approach spun back to within two feet capped off a 33 on the back side.


Skee Riegel (even par 72 today) and Rory Sabbatini (70), both at 9-under, Strange and Bud Allin (both 73), Denny Shute and Ted Ray (both 67) and Roberto deVicenzo (68), all at 8-under and, in a three-way tie for tenth, Weir, Douglas and Bob Goalby (68), all at 7-under.


The story of the day is that yesterday’s co-leader, Ralph Guldahl, smoked the rest of the field while bringing Augusta to its knees. Needless to say, that left the green jacketed crew with red faces and looking somewhat like Christmas ornaments.

Let’s do it hole by hole as it was THAT good:

1: Lousy approach but on the green. Two-putted from 48 feet.
2: On in three on the par five, he dropped an eight-footer for birdie.
3: Two-putt par from 33 feet.
4: Another two-putt par, this one from 41 feet.
5: Yet another two-putt par from even further away, 59 feet. Mighty impressive on these greens.
6: On the par three, he stopped pin high but 17 feet away. It looked like a “gimme” for Guldahl as he drained it for a birdie.
7: A 2-iron to the center of the fairway and a pitching wedge to within four feet. Birdie.
8: With the pin in front but still nearly 260 yards away and uphill probably a club or so, Guldahl absolutely annihilated a 2-iron, the ball rolling on and stopping ten feet away. Ten-footers are nothing today for Guldahl, and this was no exception as he made an eagle three.
9: An 8-iron approach left a 14-foot putt. Guldahl’s putter came through again.

OUT IN 30.

10: On the wrong side of the fairway in the rough, he overshot the green by just a bit, but recovered and got up and down for par.
11: A 226 yard 5-iron left a 7-footer for birdie.
12: Left a 16-footer for birdie on the par three and actually missed the putt. Par.
13: Watched his 3-iron approach roll from the high side of the green back toward the creek stopping seven feet away. Eagle.
14: A two-putt par from 31 feet.
15: Over the green in two, he elected to putt off the short grass. Lots of guys do that. Guldahl stopped his putt within a foot and made birdie.
16: A 6-iron flew the green. But the chip was a thing of beauty, catching the slope of the green just right and stopping within a foot.
17: A two-putt par from 22 feet.
18: Guldahl could have played this hole twice and won by plenty. A conservative 3-wood to the right side of the fairway was followed by a rotten approach, as Guldahl’s ball ended up in the far right side of the eight hand bunker. Faced with a long sand shot, Guldahl hit it within four feet and made par.


Dave Hill, playing in the final pairing with Guldahl, was the forgotten man. His 73 left him 9-under for the tournament and all alone in fifth. The two things which won’t be forgotten are the $120,000 check and a trip to Gerney Tour next week.

Jimmy Clark shot the second best round of the day, a 6-under 66. Come to think of it, Paul Runyan did too. But, for Clark, it got him a second place check. Unfortunately, even his impressive 12-under finish was shunted to the background.


Roberto diVecenzo on the par three sixth. Playing at 186, the Argentinean went with an 8-iron. With the pin in the back center, deVicenzo went right at it, with a couple bounces and a roll and an ace.

Clark, on the par four third. Besides diVecenzo’s ace and the par fives, there was only one other eagle this week. That was also on the third. And that was back in the first round where Douglas drove the green, rolling through it but chipping in for a deuce. Clark took the more conservative approach, placing a 4-iron tee shot in the center of the fairway and then holing out with a pitching wedge from 132.


Denny Shute and diVecenzo (both 68 today and -11 for the tourney), Hill at -9, Runyan (66), Jim Turnesa (68), Jim Barnes (70) and Douglas (71), all at 8-under. And, in a four-way tie for tenth at 7-under: Willie Smith (68), Gene Kunes (70) and Skee Riegel and Rory Sabbatini (both 74).

As for Mike Weir, who vaulted into contention with yesterday’s best round of 64, sadly he couldn’t carry that to today as he shot a 73 and finished tied for fourteenth along with first round co-leader Curtis Strange (74), both at 6-under.


Bulla, Todd Hamilton, Love III, Weibring, Jerry Barber, Gardner, Harney, Hawkins, Lyle, Larry Nelson, JC Snead, Ulrich, Vossler, Casey, Lickliter, Massy, Espinosa, Johansson, Rinker, Jay Haas, Danny Edwards, Feherty, Moe Norman, Charlie Ward, Chandler Harper, Waldorf and Peter Alliss.


So, it had been determined though, that The Chairman controlled The Tour, the guys in the green jackets–those hideous green jackets that no sane human being would be caught dead wearing outside Augusta National but which every golfer aspired to wearing–controlled the weather. Maybe they had some secret room in the Butler Cabin, with labels on switches not unlike the Bat Cave, where one of those green-jacketed people, probably named Hootie–or some other nickname you wouldn’t find above the Mason-Dixon Line–flipped those switches purposefully so as to create the desired results for the rest of the green-jacketed crew. “OK, Chairman, you want to put your “A” flight on our course? Let them deal with THIS!” And on came the wind machine and something else which turned the greens from being able to hold most well-hit approaches into something resembling driveways and patios and where even putts would keep running past most holes.

All it did was to slow down most of the 119 golfers as 28 broke par with a 73.6 aggregate score.

At the top of the leaderboard was Willie Fernie, with a 6-under 66.

Fernie meandered around the front nine, posting an uneventful 1-under. But he finished with a flourish, running off five straight birdies starting from thirteen. Going for the par five in three, he laid up a short pitch to within a foot. On fourteen, his 8-iron approach stopped seven feet above the hole, with a birdie putt immediately following. Fernie overshot the green on the par five fifteenth then watched as his chip ran nine feet past the hole, satisfying the green-jacketed crew. But his putt was dead center, making it three birdies in a row. A 6-iron at the sixteenth stopped four feet away and yet another birdie while a twenty foot putt on seventeen made it five in a row. Fernie almost made it six in a row as his drive on eighteen skirted the trees on the right but stayed on the short grass with an 8-iron approach coming to a halt within five feet of the hole. Alas, Fernie couldn’t make that putt. Even still, 31 on the back nine and an impressive 66.

The only other man to see even 5-under today was Tony Jacklin, who also had one of the shots of the day.

Out in an even-par 36, like Fernie, Jacklin did his best work on the inward nine. On ten, his drive caught the downslope and rolled past the 320-yard mark (well, there is no actual mark, but you get the idea) leaving a short iron in. Hitting 8-iron from 157, he was right on target, his ball banging off the flag stick on a couple bounces and into the hole for an eagle two. Birdies on the par-three twelfth and the two par fives got him to 5-under with three left. Unfortunately, Jacklin overshot the sixteenth green and took three to get up and down. But he got that back on eighteen with a 7-iron approach to five feet. Unlike Fernie, he made the putt, though it went in the side door (a result of 13 and liberal use of my imagination).


Willie Anderson and Dave Stockton at 4-under, Vijay Singh, Jerry Kelly, Scott Verplank, Johnny Miller and Bruce Devlin are all tied at -3 and, in a seven-way tie for tenth at 2-under are Peter Thomson, Phil Mickelson, Scott Hoch, Jug McSpaden, Billy Casper, David Duval and Leo Diegel.


Well, there was Jacklin’s eagle on ten. There was also another hole-out from just a bit longer. That was Anthony Kim’s effort on seven. Hitting a very conservative 4-iron on the 414-yard hole, Kim was faced with 166 in (a 4-iron 248? In my dreams. I can’t hit a driver that far.). Faced with lots of sand both in front and behind but with the pin in the back left, Kim carried the traps and watched his ball roll in for an eagle two. Kim finished with a 73.

Bettering those two was Ken Venturi. On the fourth hole and into the wind, Venturi cranked up a 4-iron on the 196 yard par three. The wind knocked the shot down and it landed on the front sliver of green between the two traps and the ball rolled in. Alas, for Ace Venturi, though the hole-in-one put him 2-under at the time, he went 8-over the rest of the way starting with a bogey at the very next hole (so much for an adrenaline rush) and culminating (?) in a quadruple bogey seven on the sixteenth when he hit a fat 6-iron and misjudged the wind as his tee shot landed in the drink. A bad chip, followed by another bad chip, though the second one held the green, followed by three putts and that ace will be a distant memory in short order.


Notables who should pick up their games: Jack Nicklaus (75), Byron Nelson and Walter Hagen (both 76), Ben Hogan (77) and Greg Norman, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer (all at 78) all have to do better tomorrow. Otherwise it’ll be two and out.


Counting Willie Fernie, who started the day at 6-under, only one other player saw that score today–Vijay Singh. But he didn’t finish with that as the green jacketed crew made sure the wind blew in random directions and the greens held little with only 19 players bettering par for the first two rounds.

First round leader Fernie remained atop the leaderboard, though he had company in Bobby Nichols. Both are a 5-under 139.

If you remember, Fernie had a 5-under run from thirteen through seventeen in the opening round and it appeared as if he was going to do something similar today as he birdied thirteen (on in three and an eight foot putt) and fourteen (a spectacular 8-iron approach to within a foot). Like yesterday, Fernie overshot the green on the par five fifteenth and, like yesterday, chipped to within nine feet. Unlike yesterday, it took him two putts to finish up. Whether that had anything to do with the following two holes we’ll never know. But, on sixteen, Fernie pushed his 5-iron tee shot into the bunker, eventually making bogey. And, on seventeen, he three-putted from just ten feet for another bogey, eventually finishing with a 1-over 73.

Nichols’ 68 was one off the low round of the day.

Though all pars, Nichols had his chipping game working well today along with his putter, which kept him in the hunt. On three, he flew the green left. Faced with a tricky pin position in the back right and not a lot of green to work with, Nichols left himself with a 14-foot putt which just fell in. He took a flyer out of the rough on seven, again landing behind the green. But he chipped to within a foot, making par. And, on sixteen, he flew the green to the left with a seven-iron. With the pin in the back right and an uphill chip, Nichols aggressively punched it up, stopping a foot from the cup. Nichols had a couple nice birdies on the back nine. On twelve, he went over the flagstick, leaving a pesky five foot downhill putt. And, on fifteen, electing to lay up short of the pond, he got up and down from 75 yards, draining a 12-foot putt in order to do so.

Tony Jacklin, one behind Fernie at the start of play today, finished that way as well, with a 1-over 73. He’s tied with Johnny Miller, who shot a 1-under 71.

Jacklin’s day didn’t start out well, with a poor wedge shot on the par five second, coming up short and in the bunker. It took him three to get up and down, dropping a shot. He dropped two more at the next hole where he sprayed a 3-iron off the tee and got stuck behind a tree, being forced to take a penalty drop. Jacklin made up some ground with birdies at two of the remaining three par fives as well as, like Nichols, flying just over the stick on twelve and making the five-foot putt.


In a four-way tie at 3-under are Young Tom Morris, Dutch Harrison, Tommy Aaron and Nick Faldo. And, in a five-way tie for ninth are Doug Sanders, David Duval Gene Sarazen, Willie Anderson and the aforementioned Vijay Singh.

Singh did get it to 6-under with birdies on two, three and seven. But the back nine painted a different picture. Ten was a missed three-footer for par. Thirteen was a shot pulled into Rae’s Creek leading to another bogey. Sixteen was a rotten 6-iron slashed way right. Truth be told, he was lucky his chip from under the trees held the green as it could easily have rolled down and into the pond. That was worth another bogey. And a 3-metal under the trees at seventeen led to Singh missing the green short with his second and another bogey.


Greg Norman with a 67. After an even par front nine, Norman ran off four birdies in a row starting at twelve. Looking back, the tee shot at twelve seemed to start Norman’s engine. Taking aim at the stick with an 8-iron, Norman managed to stick it, the ball stopping on the edge of the cup. After that, he got on in two on the par five thirteenth and two-putted. Fourteen was a putt from 25 feet and just off the back of the green for a birdie three. And, on fifteen, Norman flew the green into the collection area and chipped to within five feet, making it four birdies in a row. And he capped his incredible back nine with a 9-iron approach from 170 which stopped within a foot of an eagle. Though he’s 1-over for the tournament, Norman will be sticking around for the weekend.


A very high +5, with only 34 of the 119 golfers eliminated.

Some players who were doubtful based on yesterday’s round improved enough to earn a check for this week. Included in that list were Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer (all +3 after two rounds). Walter Hagen (+5), with birdies at the final two holes, limped in just under the cut line. Alas, Tom Watson (75, after a 78 yesterday) will be heading home as will be Nick Price, who ballooned to a 79 after shooting even par yesterday.


Yesterday’s co-leader, Bobby Nichols, stayed atop the leaderboard with a 3-under 69.

The wind was up yet again, though there are rumors the men in the green jackets would turn off the wind in exchange for the golfers hitting at the perilous Sunday pin placements. (Truth in advertising: Conditions are random and the wind has been up for the first three rounds along with “hard” greens–which are hard enough even when they’re not hard.)

Anyway, back to Nichols… If you looked at his scorecard, you would have thought he was erratic today as he had only nine pars. And, as he shot 69, that would leave some room for bogeys, which he had three of. But, if you took a look at the bigger picture, you’d have seen twelve of fourteen fairways hit, thirteen greens, 26 putts and one for one in sand saves to go along with some timely scrambling.

A birdie on one followed an 8-iron approach from 179 which stopped on the lip of the cup. That might have been the shot of the day except for two players who did better. But Nichols gave it back with a three-putt bogey on three. He quickly recovered to birdie the two par threes but gave one back when he sprayed a 9-iron approach on seven into the seventeenth fairway. Nine was a nice up and down from 45 yards. A birdie on eleven was canceled out by a shot into the lethal but otherwise gorgeous azaleas in the back of twelve. Nichols’ approach on thirteen cleared the creek by not much and he got up and down for birdie. The other par five, fifteen, also netted Nichols a birdie as his second rolled off into the collection area behind the green and he got up and down, making a seven-foot putt in order to do so. He parred the rest of the way in, though he almost gave back a stroke on sixteen when he tee shot to the par three landed just four feet away, but above the hole. Faced with a putt he just had to breathe on, he left his second putt further away than where he started, but made the uphill seven-footer nonetheless.

Ah, life on the roller coaster. But he had company as Young Tom Morris had three bogeys among his 5-under 67 to move into a tie with Nichols.

Morris birdied the second hole for the third straight day, but gave it back with a bogey on five, the second time in three days he’s done that. After a birdie on eight which consisted of coming up just short on the par five and putting from over a hundred feet (114, to be exact) and getting within a foot of actually draining it, Morris followed that with the shot of the day.

Let’s just say that the “gutties” Morris hit in his day didn’t go anywhere near as far as the one-piece highly-compressed balls of today. After smacking the snot out of his tee shot on nine 350 yards, Morris knocked a sand wedge into the hole from 125 for an eagle two. His back nine featured a run of three consecutive birdies starting on fifteen but he finished his round by leaving a bad taste in his mouth as his tee shot on eighteen went into the left hand trees and he couldn’t get his second within fifty yards, taking three to get down from there. Nonetheless, 67 was the best round of the day of the 85 surviving golfers.

Also getting it to 8-under at one point in the round was Johnny Miller, who’s been hot as he finished fourth last week on the Gerney Tour after winning at Pinehurst on the Staffa Tour two weeks ago to earn his season-long seat at the adult table.

Starting the day at 4-under, Miller got it to minus-6 with one swing of the club. Hitting a conservative 4-iron off the tee on three, Miller was faced with a routine pitching wedge from a buck and a quarter. One bounce and in for an eagle two and the other shot of the day. A pair of ten foot putts netted Miller birdies on seven and ten, sending him to 8-under. But the wheels fell off almost immediately as he sprayed his tee shot on eleven. He barely got within a hundred yards with his second and made bogey from there. Twelve was a complete disaster. Into the drink off the tee, his third went up against the bushes in back of the green. Faced with a difficult chip, as his ball was on a downhill lie, Miller bladed that and took a three putt triple bogey. Back to where he started the day, Miller birdied the two par fives before hitting into the trees on eighteen and taking bogey. 5-under for Miller puts him in a five-way tie for fourth.


Tony Jacklin is all alone in third at 6-under (70 today). Joining Miller at minus-5 are Willie Anderson, David Duval, Vijay Singh (all at 69) and yesterday’s co-leader, Willie Fernie, who shot an even par 72. Tied for ninth at 4-under are Phil Mickelson, who moved into red numbers with a 4-under 68, and Lloyd Mangrum (69).

And cursing a blue streak was Tiger Woods. Unable to match his win in the inaugural Tour event at St. Andrews and starting about two hours (or 15 seconds–depends upon your perspective) before the leaders, Woods toiled in front of a relatively small gallery (sorry, Augusta wants you to call them “patrons” as “gallery just sounds so unruly and has a negative connotation–like “ilk.”). After all, with this array of golf talent, Woods isn’t the most visible face in the crowd anymore.

Starting his day at even par, Woods couldn’t reach the par five second in two and watched as his third ended up in the left hand bunker. Bogey. The next hole was even worse as his approach rolled off the back of the green and his chip rolled off the front. His next chip rolled off the right side of the green. He finally chipped on with his fourth (try another club, maybe?) and he two-putted from ten feet for a double bogey six. Out in 39, Woods started the back nine by hitting into the trees and taking another double bogey. And he finished on eighteen by putting his approach in the sand and not being able to get up and down. So far, he’s played eighteen at 3-over. 39 on the back after hitting half his fairways today, being unable to scramble (only two of eight) and unable to get out of the sand (0-3) and all he has now is fifteen golfers behind him.


Bobby Nichols and Young Tom Morris started the day two shots clear of the field. Tony Jacklin was the fellow all alone in third and, though he started the final round with a birdie, he dropped like a rock, eventually finishing with 77. Of the fivesome at 5-under, only Willie Fernie made a bit of a run, finishing with a 69 and in sole possession of third place.

That left just Nichols and Morris to duke it out.

Morris gave one back on the very first hole by hitting a poor 3-metal off the tee and an even worse second, under the trees to the left and well short of the green. Nichols got into a giving mood on three and four, overshooting the green on three and two-putting from eight feet and hitting his tee shot on the par three fourth into the front bunker and taking a four.

But they got it back to even-Steven as Morris birdied the par five eighth, but was bested by a pair of 2-irons by Nichols, the second of which stopping eleven feet from the hole and being converted for an eagle.

Both men went out in 36 and remained where they started the day–at 8-under.

Eleven saw a two-shot swing. Morris hit into the trees on the right but he had a clear shot out. Landing in the lone bunker, Morris hit a poor shot and ended up two-putting from long distance for a bogey five. Nichols, on the other hand, found the short grass off the tee and put a 7-iron approach to within five feet, making that for birdie.

After matching pars on twelve and birdies on thirteen, Nichols opened up some daylight, cashing in on a sand wedge to within a foot on fourteen, making birdie while Morris had a routine two-putt par, and again on fifteen as Morris went into the trees off the tee and had no chance to go for the par five in two while Nichols did, hitting a not-too-great chip but making the ten-footer for birdie.

The old line is that turnabout is fair play. And, with Nichols up four with three to play, turnabout came on sixteen. Morris misjudged a 6-iron and flew the green by a bunch, couldn’t get close with his recovery shot but still drained a 13-foot putt. As with Morris, Nichols also flew the green and his chip shot was a couple feet closer. But his putter went nighty-night and he three-putted for a double bogey.

And now Nichols’ lead was halved to two strokes.

With honors at seventeen, Morris put the screws to Nichols. With the wind at his back, Morris unloaded a shot which would have won one of those long drive competitions you see on ESPN where guys just swing from the heels and see how far they can hit it. 368. Dead center. A shaken Nichols hooked it left, catching the trees and stopping only 232 yards from the tee. The good news was that he had both a good lie and a clean shot in, albeit from just over 200 yards while Morris was facing just about 60. Pulling out a 7-iron, Nichols came through with flying colors, stopping his ball eight feet from the hole. Morris’ turn now and he landed inside of Nichols by a couple feet. Unfortunately, Nichols couldn’t make it two in a row as he two-putted while Morris made his.

And now Nichols had but a one shot lead with one to go.

Morris again had honors at eighteen. 310 down the middle and to the corner of the dogleg. Man, this guy can pound them when he has to. Nichols was a bit down the right side and about 25 yards shorter but with a straight line in. First to go, Nichols selected an 8-iron from 168. Just about on line, it bounced and checked, with the upward slope of the green past front left pin location helping the ball to back up within nine feet of the hole. From 144, Morris went with a pitching wedge. Like Nichols, he backed up his ball, but a foot closer to the hole than his opponent’s.

With Nichols putting for the win, Morris went first and, with ice water coursing through his veins, hit the putt dead center.

Though Morris was on a roll, Nichols wasn’t really in a tight spot. Two putts and it’s off to a playoff though with Morris having the edge of finishing birdie-birdie. One putt and it ends here. Faced with a slight left to right break, Nichols lined it up and knocked it home, winning the tournament and the $1.8 million first prize. Nichols was also the only golfer to break 70 three times this week on the Gerney Tour as no one else could do it more than twice.

Consolation wasn’t too bad for Morris as he became the first golfer to pick up two million dollar-plus paychecks thanks to $1.08 million here and a win at Pinehurst in week two.


A birdie, no less, as the par three sixteenth only gave up one. Usually players get close as the Sunday pin placement is in the back left and even a shot which lands on the right side of the green will roll down and get close. But, 85 golfers took aim and there was only one birdie, that by Dave Stockton, whose 5-iron stopped thirteen feet away and he made the putt. Though Stockton was 1-under today, the middle two rounds ate him up. After an opening round 68, which put him one back, Stockton dropped off the radar with rounds of 77 and 80, eventually finishing in a tie for 62nd. As far as sixteen, it was the second toughest hole of the day, right behind the other back nine par three, the twelfth. But twelve players made two there.


Fernie (69 today) was all alone in third at -8. Willie Anderson, Johnny Miller, David Duval and Vijay Singh shot identical 71s to finish in a four-way tie for fourth at -6. And, in a four-way tie for eighth at -5 were Tommy Aaron and Nick Faldo (both with 69 and with Faldo birdieing Amen Corner plus the next two holes) as well as Dutch Harrison (70) and Phil Mickelson (71).


Jerry Pate, with a 67.

Though he scrambled for par on five occasions, two out of the sand, Pate came through with a bogey-free round while finishing in a tie for thirteenth after starting the day at 2-over. That earned him another $156,000 as an even-par 72 would have netted Pate $44,000 while finishing at 3-under was worth a cool $200,000.


Ernie Els, with his permanent Gerney card, had missed the cut in his first four tournaments. But, making the cut by four and finishing 68-71 saw Els finish all alone in twelfth at 4-under and $230,000 more in his bank account.


Jack Burke, John Huston, Old Tom Morris, Bob Rosburg, Ian Woosnam, Henry Picard, Allan Robertson and Geoff Ogilvy.

By |2017-02-13T11:23:09+00:00November 23rd, 2011|The Tour Archives|Comments Off on The Tour – Fifth Event

About the Author: