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The Tour – Sixth Event


[Ed. note: This is a quick play event. Though I’ll try to use my imagination, a lot of the hole by hole descriptions will be missing.]

Action moved from the pines of the southeast, specifically Augusta National, to the palm trees and trade winds of the Pacific, specifically Hawaii, more specifically Kapalua on the island of Maui.

For some of the older players, those for whom travel across the pond in either direction was prohibitive, Hawaii was other-worldly. Many had thought Pebble Beach was heaven on earth. But, Hawaii? And no week on a rocking boat nor even that jet lag that the newer players had told them about. After all, the preferred method of transportation for The Tour was something which existed only in science fiction novels. Nearly 6,000 miles in an instant and while they slept though, for the guys with enlarged prostates, getting up to take a leak in the middle of the night on the night after a tournament was usually discombobulating.

The Ruckhaus Tour crew was up first. After the last tournament, The Chairman had decreed that any golfer who hadn’t made it past the first hole in five events would have to play his competitive golf elsewhere. It also shrank the Ruckhaus Tour to 118 golfers.

The first hole for that group was the eighteenth. Though an imposing 663 yards, it was downhill, probably about four or five clubs worth by the time the green was reached, and almost always played with the wind at the players’ backs. So, reaching in two was a possibility and getting close in three and making birdie a very distinct one.

The result? 118 golfers and 61 birdies.

But, on a tour where excessively aggressive play rides the hairy edge between reward and disaster, birdie wasn’t good enough.

Five players made eagle. Alphabetically, they were John Cook, Rod Curl, Stewart Gardner, Mark James and Chi-Chi Rodriguez.

Those five will go to their second hole. In this case, that’s the reachable par four of 305 yards.


118 got narrowed down to five in short order. It got narrowed down to one just as quickly.

It was time for the short 305 yard par four fourteenth. Chi Chi Rodriguez bogeyed. So he’s likely done. Stewart Gardner and Mark James parred. Well, that gets rid of Chi Chi. Rod Curl birdied. So out go Gardner and James.

That left John Cook. With a short approach left, he holed out. In quick play, he got a result of 3*. That asterisk meant that if he rolled a 66, his shot went in. Since I have a three dice setup in Excel, I hit F9. Not only did 66 come up, but it was the mark of the beast: 666. In this tournament, 666 is a winner. $180,000 for Cook and a full-time Staffa card await him with the other four guaranteed at least next week’s even on the Staffa Tour.


It’s quick play time. So, wham, bam and thank you, ma’am. Let’s hope these guys can enjoy the beauty of the Plantation Course on beautiful Maui.


Tom Purtzer with an 8-under 65.

After starting out with a bogey, Purtzer went 6-under on the next five, including an eagle on the par five fifth. 3-under over the final five including eagles on the two back nine par fives and that put Purtzer in sole possession of first place.

Andrew Strath was one of the early risers and posted the score to beat for the longest time. A 5-under run from holes five through ten and a birdie-eagle finish and he’s in sole possession of second with a 66.


It’s a five-way tie for third among Toney Penna, Justin Leonard, Paul Azinger, Sam Byrd and Thomas Bjorn, all at 5-under 68. Frank Beard, Allan Robertson, Lee Janzen and Robert Allenby are all tied for eighth at 69.


Jeff Sluman on the 218 yard, par three second. Using an unknown club–usually the caddy will tip off the cameraman or commentator by sticking the appropriate amount of fingers in the air–but probably a 4-iron, Sluman landed his ball on the green and rolled it in.

Alas, the ace didn’t carry over to the next couple holes as he bogeyed the par four next hole as well as the par five sixth. Bogey-birdie on eight and nine sent Sluman out in even par 36. His second birdie in a row on ten was the last he’d get today, finishing up with eight straight pars and a 1-under 72, putting him in a fourteen-way tie for 37th.


The Chairman always said to “show up whenever” during the first two rounds and he’d get the golfers right out.

So, Tom Purtzer, with the overnight first round lead, had trouble sleeping, rose and ate his breakfast while it was still dark, then headed over to the Plantation Course to get his second round in as the sun came up. For some odd reason, when he walked off eighteen, the clock hadn’t moved much and he still had a full day in front of him. Maybe he’d head out to the beach and try windsurfing. There was this gorgeous beach, Paia, which appeared to be just for windsurfers and, even as a spectator, you could sit there for hours and just take it all in.

By the time he was done, Purtzer was up by four. But many players hadn’t yet teed off. Hey, some guys liked to sleep in. Even so, by the end of the day, only one person had passed him by.

And that was Frank Beard, who lit up the front nine to the tune of seven birdies and a 7-under 29. And, though he played well on the back, he couldn’t keep up the frenetic pace and settled for cashing on only on the two par fives–with a birdie on fifteen and an eagle on the last, finishing with a 10-under 63 and a two round total of 14-under 132.

Beard’s 63 made Purtzer’s 70 look mundane by comparison. Kind of was too, as five birdies were blemished slightly by a pair of bogeys. Purtzer’s three back at 11-under.

Also at 11-under was Allan Robertson as he shot a 66. Robertson ran off nine birdies even though the numbers–the ones not on the scorecard–say he played worse than yesterday as he hit barely half his fairways (8/15) but recovered to hit 15 greens in regulation. Robertson lost his way only on ten and eleven with back to back bogeys.


Justin Leonard is all alone at -9. Thomas Bjorn, Ted Ray and Jack White are tied for fifth at 7-under with Henrik Stenson and Tom Kite tied for eighth at 6-under. And, in a five-way tie for tenth, nine back at 5-under, are Willie Goggin, Sam Byrd, Gil Morgan, John Mahaffey and the man who was one back of the lead yesterday, Andrew Strath, who shot 75 today.


Bob Rosburg on the 203 yard par three eighth. Probably a 4-iron, could have been a five. In any case, it was an ace, the second in as many rounds as Jeff Sluman aced the second yesterday. Alas, even though he shot a 68 today, it wasn’t close to undoing his 81 of yesterday and Rosburg will be on the outside looking in this weekend. Speaking of…


Even par, with 75 making it. At fourteen back, the first folks out tomorrow will be playing for some low-level cash and that’s about it. Heck, even fifteenth is ten back. But, someone could make a run while one or more at the top of the leaderboard falter. So anything’s possible.

Besides Rosburg, Hawaii wasn’t a paradise for people such as Jimmy Demaret, Trevor Immelman, KJ Choi, Sergio Garcia, Bob Murphy, Hal Sutton, Craig Wood, Christy O’Connor and last week’s Ruckhaus Tour winner Paul McGinley. All missed the cut.


It was a windy day in the islands. Some had trouble handling it, including the two players who were at the top of the leaderboard while one player picked up five strokes on them. But yesterday’s leader still leads.

Frank Beard, after a 63 yesterday to take the lead, shot a 1-under 72 to move to 15-under and lead Tom Kite, the fellow who shot 67 and made up some ground on the field, by three.

Beard had to scramble for his 72, most of them for par, hitting only ten greens in regulation but managing to walk away at 1-under for the day thanks to three birdies canceling out two bogeys. His playing partner, Allan Robertson, who started the day three back, also had trouble getting to the greens on time, hitting only half with three bogeys and a double and a 3-over 76 to show for his efforts.

Tom Purtzer, the first round leader and the man tied with Robertson for second at the start of play today, also had trouble making it to the green in regulation. Like Robertson, he hit half his greens resulting in five bogeys and a similar score of 76.

Kite, on the other hand, hit 13 greens and seemed to have no trouble with the wind, bagging five birdies as well as a pair of eagles on the par five ninth and fifteenth. Only a bogey on eight and a double on seventeen prevented Kite from going lower. He’s at 12-under, three behind Beard.


Justin Leonard (72 today) is in third at -10. Purtzer and Robertson are tied for fourth at -8. And, in a logjam at -7: Denis Watson (69), Tommy Jacobs (70), Jimmy Hines (67), Andrew Strath (71), Old Tom Morris (70) and Ted Ray (73). Realistically, all but Leonard are also-rans at this point.


Ray on the fourteenth with an eagle two. 305 yard par four and apparently reachable. Ray’s been improving on this hole every day as he parred in the opening round and had birdie yesterday. What’s next tomorrow, an ace? Ray had another eagle in today’s round as he finished with a flourish, making three on the long downhill 600-plus yard eighteenth. Pars instead of eagles for Ray? 77 and an early riser tomorrow. Instead, he’ll be paired with Billy Burke (-6) in the sixth to last group.


Starting the day up by three, Frank Beard coasted home as, though his 6-under 67 was equaled, it wasn’t surpassed. His nearest competition, Tom Kite, shot a 71 and his next nearest competition, Justin Leonard’s 68, while solid, wasn’t anywhere near good enough. In the end, Beard won by six with a 21-under 271.

When yesterday he had to scramble, today’s round was much easier for Beard as he hit 15 greens in regulation and scrambled to make par on the others. Beard’s only blemish was a three-putt bogey on sixteen. (I’m doing the math here. 15 in regulation and 3/3 scrambling with a bogey means that bogey had to be a three putt, right? Man, this quick play stuff makes you work.) Beard had also had an eagle on the par five fifth. Overall, Beard was a master around the greens this week. Faced with 16 scramble opportunities, he converted on 15. Nice week for Beard as he earned his full Gerney card.


Which means all are headed to the Gerney Tour for at least the next week…Justin Leonard (-15), Tom Kite (-14), Curtis Strange (67 today) and Robert Allenby (68) were tied for fourth at -11, Ted Ray (70) and George Duncan (67) at -10 and, in a five-way tie for eighth at -9 were Brad Faxon (67), Toney Penna (70), Allen Robertson (72), Tom Purtzer (72) and Andrew Strath (71).


A whole bunch of guys, thirty, in fact, missed the cut and, as provisional members, will be relegated to the Ruckhaus Tour for next week. They are: Andrade, Beem, Pooley, Watrous, Bart Bryant, Garcia, Hammond, Levi, Ellis, Murphy, Scott Simpson, Sluman, Twitty, Clampett, Eastwood, Sutton, Allin, Hallberg, Knudson, McLendon, Gilbert, Wood, Dickinson, Koch, Mayfair, Darren Clarke, Fred Daly, Hinson, Morley and Todd.


The best thing about quick play is that you get to use your imagination. And who’s to say you’re wrong?

With that in mind, Phil Mickelson had a hell of a round.

On a windy day in the islands, more than half the field (71 of 124) finished under par. Looks like the wind wasn’t a detriment. As for Mickelson, he finished with the best round of the day, a 9-under 64. As an aside, having a par of 73 is just weird. 72 is normal and 71 and 70 also show up on the pro tour and on the majors rotation. I guess 69 would be weird too. Anyway, here comes the imagination part: Mickelson hit 13 greens in regulation and, on those greens, putted 18 times. That alone is damn good. But Mickelson also had 18 total putts for the entire round. By any measure, that’s fantastic. Which means Mickelson putted exactly zero times on the other five holes. Five chip ins? Putted from off the green more than once? Some combination thereof? No matter, it was amazing. In addition, after bogeying one, Mickelson had eight birdies and an eagle on the short par-four fourteenth. And, in Mickelson’s eight pars, he scrambled five times. Pretty good, huh?


Chris DiMarco, almost as good as Mickelson with 17 putts on the 13 greens he hit with one putts on the other five and 4/5 scrambling, came in one back with a 65 as did Dave Hill, who traveled around the course a bit more mechanically, albeit with eight birdies. Doug Sanders is all alone at 66. Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus and Cary Middlecoff are tied for fifth at 6-under 67. And, in an eight-way tie at 68 is an all-star lineup consisting of Olin Dutra, Ben Hogan, Gene Littler, Chick Harbert, Tom Watson, Mark Hayes, Ernie Els and Sam Snead.


Cashing in on every par three, all three of them, Doug Sanders took over the lead at the halfway mark with a 6-under 67. Sanders also birdied the two back nine par fives as well as the par four thirteenth in a bogey-free round. Though he hit just over half his fairways, Sanders hit thirteen greens in regulation and went 5/5 in scrambling on the remainder.

Close behind was yesterday’s leader, Phil Mickelson, with a 70. To ask him to reprise yesterday’s impressive performance where his short game could do no wrong would have been an impossibility. Instead, it was a more human performance complete with a couple bogeys and eight two putts of the thirteen greens he hit in regulation along with a couple of missed up and downs. Even still, he’s one back of Sanders at 12-under.

Also at 12-under and one back was the man who was one back yesterday, Chris DiMarco. DiMarco ran off five straight birdies starting on four as he went out in 31. Two bogeys on the back derailed that impressive start but he still managed to finish with a 4-under 69.


Corey Pavin. Though six others matched the 66 he posted (Gary Player, Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Johnny Miller, Miller Barber and Julius Boros), Pavin played above his head today. Never known as a long hitter, Pavin had a 290 average driving distance, 30 yards better than yesterday. That translated into fourteen greens hit and just three total putts on the four he missed along with scrambling successfully on each. That fine effort put him in a tie for fourth with Billy Casper at 11-under.


Dow Finsterwald is all alone in sixth at 10-under. And, in a six-way tie for seventh, along with Player and Jones are Dutch Harrison, Greg Norman, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. With that crowd at the top of the leaderboard, it should be a heck of a finish.


George Archer on the 398 yard par four sixth where he holed out with probably a sand wedge for an eagle. The good news? That eagle saved his ass as he shot 2-under for the day and just made the cut.


The cut line is at -2 with Archer and 76 others making it. On the wrong side of the tracks include Young Tom Morris, the only man to earn two million dollar-plus checks this young season, David Duval, Tom Lehman, Retief Goosen, Walter Hagen, Vijay Singh and, chucking his clubs into the ocean, Tommy Bolt.


It was Doug Sanders again today. This time, he turned on the afterburners on the back nine and walked off the Plantation Course at Kapalua with a four shot edge and an impressive 20-under par score.

Going out in even par 36, Sanders ran off seven birdies on the back nine including the final five in a row. As for the old adage, “Drive for show and putt for dough,” Sanders had his best driving day of the tourney and worst putting day (a relative term) and cashed that in to the tune of a 7-under 66. Sanders hit 14/15 fairways and 14 greens. And, though he putted 25 times (as I said, “worst” was a relative term), he scrambled for par all four times he was faced with that situation with one of those getting up and down out of the trap. Amazingly, Sanders is 16/16 in scrambling through the first three rounds.

Speaking of the trap, Phil Mickelson has yet to have visited one so far this tournament. One back at the start of play today, Mickelson double bogeyed the par four fourth and also bogeyed the twelfth. Fortunately, he also had seven birdies and came away with a 69. He’s all alone in second at 16-under.

Back to Sanders. He was playing with Chris DiMarco, tied with Mickelson at the start of play today. Suffice it to say that DiMarco won’t be in the final group tomorrow as three birdies and an eagle were canceled out by a bogey and a pair of doubles, DiMarco finished with an even par 73. That leaves him in a five-way tie for eighth at eight back.


Harry Vardon and Mike Souchak joined Sanders in shooting 66s. They’re tied for third at 15-under. In a three-way tie for fifth are Jack Nicklaus (67 today), Greg Norman (69) and Corey Pavin (71), all at -13. And, along with DiMarco in eighth are Lanny Wadkins (66), Padraig Harrington and Dave Hill (both 69) and Byron Nelson (70).


Two players made eagle on the drivable par four fourteenth. In quick play, everything happens so fast so you don’t know whether it was a drive and a one-putt or a hole out. Dr. Middlecoff and Jim Barnes were the men who shot deuces on fourteen. For Barnes, it was part of a 31 back nine and 67 overall. Unfortunately, he’s 12 back of Sanders while Middlecoff, who finished with 70 today, is a mere nine back.


Realistically, it would have taken someone to shoot a minimum of 64 and likely far lower than that to catch Doug Sanders.

It didn’t happen.

Then I got to wondering… Why Doug Sanders? Down two after the first round, he blew away the rest of the field over the final three, eventually winning by five. Now, Sanders wasn’t a slouch, by any means. But the 124-man field was riddled with golf’s all-time greats and Sanders laid waste to all of them. The wondering part is whether “A” and “B” versions of golfers were built into the game. After all, Sanders got on a roll and stayed there. After all, he had only two bogeys over the entire tournament, scrambled successfully 20 out of 21 times and, in his infrequent trips to the beach, got up and down successfully all three times while putting just 95 times.

68 today for Sanders and he won it by five with a final total of 25-under.

Greg Norman, who started the day seven back, might have given Sanders a bit of a run if not for a bogey on the opening hole and a double on seven. Pars on both and he shoots a 63. As it was, he came in with the second best round of the day, a 66, and finished all alone in second at 20-under.

As for Phil Mickelson, who started the day in second at 16-under, he backed up past thirteen other golfers in shooting a 3-over 76. His front nine was an unmitigated disaster with three bogeys and a pair of doubles more than canceling out three birdies and a par as he went out in 4-over 40. Though he went one under on the back, Mickelson finished ugly, with bogeys on sixteen and eighteen.


Johnny Palmer, with a 65. Like Norman, get rid of a couple of bad scores, in his case bogeys on one and eleven, and he’s in with 63 or better. Unfortunately, as he was eleven back starting play and made up only three on Sanders, he finished eight back, albeit in a three-way tie for fourth


Mike Souchak (70 today, -18) finished all alone in third with Johnny Palmer, Chris DiMarco (68) and Corey Pavin (69) finishing in the aforementioned three-way tie for fourth. Padraig Harrington and Jack Nicklaus (70) finished tied for seventh at -16. For Harrington, he was a modicum of consistency, shooting 69 every day. And, in a six-way tie for ninth were Art Wall (65), Scott Verplank (67), Bobby Nichols, Gary Player and Cary Middlecoff (all 70) and Harry Vardon (74).


Off to the Staffa Tour next week are Dave Douglas, Tom Lehman, Skee Riegel, Willie Smith, James Braid, Bob Ferguson, Rory Sabbatini, Tommy Bolt, Tony Jacklin, Denny Shute, Jim Turnesa, Roberto DiVecenzo, Gene Kunes, Jimmy Clark, Steven Ames and Jug McSpaden.

By |2017-02-13T11:23:09+00:00November 22nd, 2011|The Tour Archives|Comments Off on The Tour – Sixth Event

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