Phil Rodgers v Bob Charles
Phil Rodgers struck first, knocking an 8 iron two feet from the cup on the first hole for an easy birdie. But he gave the hole back to Charles, three putting from 20 feet. Then Rodgers started to take over the match, looking sharp like his last contest against Larry Mize. He stroked a nice lag putt for a tap in for par on the fourth, while Charles failed to get up and down from a bad lie in the rough. Then he stuck a 46 yard pitch two feet from the hole on the 5th for a birdie and a two hole lead. He birdied the 8th after a terrific seven iron and was three up at the turn, having shot 34, while Charles struggled along with a 37 going out. Charles got one hole back on the 11th after dropping an impressive 14’ putt. But he immediately gave the hole back when he missed an 8’ putt to save par on the 12th. Both golfers had birdie chances on the 14th. Rodgers dropped his 15’ putt and Charles missed form eleven feet to fall to four down with four to play. The lefty birdied the par five 15th to stave off elimination, but splashed his 5 iron off the tee on the 16th and took double bogey to lose the match. Rodgers had another solid round being one under par when he closed out the match after 16 holes.
Lee Trevino v Jerry Pate
Lee Trevino struggled out of the gate thanks to poor iron play and uninspired work out of the sand to pencil in bogeys and gave the first two holes to Pate who had easy regulation pars. Then he fell three back Pate dropped a five foot putt for birdie on the third hole. But the worm turned and Pate began to struggle. He rolled his drive into the creek bisecting the fairway and took bogey on the fifth. Then he three putted the second par five on the front for bogey to let Trevino back into the match with routine pars. Trevino dropped an 11 foot birdie putt on the 8th hole to make the match all square. But he three putted the 9th to end the front one hole down. Neither golfer was playing well—Pate went out in 38 and Trevino carded a 39 on the front side. Pate went up two holes on the 10th when Trevino caught a bad lie in the right green side rough and couldn’t convert a 28’ putt to save par. Pate nearly holed his pitch from the bunker to save par. Trevino gathered himself and birdied the par five 11th with a lovely 79 yard wedge shot. He gave back the stroke when he missed a ten foot putt to save par on the 13th hole. He was two down with five to play. He needed to make a move. He did exactly that. He stuck a 100 yard wedge four feet from the pin and birdied the 14th. Then hit another great pitch into the 15th and holed a seven footer to pull even and make the match all square heading into the last three holes. Trevino missed an 11’ birdie putt which would have won the 16th while Pate scrambled and dropped a seven foot putt to save his par. Trevino knocked his six iron over the 17th green and had about a 15 yard pitch to try to save par. Pate stuck his 8 iron 26 feet away from the hole. It was down to Trevino’s ability to scramble. He pitched and left himself a 12 foot putt to save par, while Pate putted to within two feet. Trevino desperately needed the sink the 12 footer. He putted through the break and have a three foot putt coming back. He made it and Pate tapped in from two feet to go one up with one to play. Pate drove through the fairway on the 18th and into the rough, but caught a break and had a good lie. Trevino missed his drive and ended up in the right rough just short of a mine field of sand traps. Trevino caught his six iron a little fat in the rough and rolled on the fairway, fifty yards short of the green. Pate had a full wedge and played the ball safely to the center of the green, about 25 feet from the pin. Lee had to hope for a miracle, dropping his pitch into the green or Pate three putting from 25 feet. Trevino took a run at the flagstick and rolled seven feet past. Pate lined up his putt, knowing he only had to get home in two. It was a nice stroke, two feet left below the hole. Trevino sunk his putt and Pate did the same, halving the hole and beating Trevino 1 up.
For the Red Bracket Championship: Phil Rodgers v Jerry Pate
Hal Sutton v Bruce Lietzke
Hal Sutton had been on his game in the last two matches, storming from behind to beat Peter Thomson, then controlling the match against Bill Rogers. It looked like his roll was going to continue when he knocked a six iron two feet from the pin on the first hole for an easy birdie and a one hole lead. But Lietzke held tough and the two golfers halved the next six holes. Then on the 8th, Lietzke hit a brilliant seven iron, sticking it two feet from the pin to birdie, while Sutton rimmed out a 10 footer to halve the hole. The match was all square, heading into the 9th. Both golfers hit sufficient short irons into the ninth green and both were putting from around 25 feet away for birdie. The honors went to Sutton, who missed badly, overplaying the break and leaving himself with ten feet coming back. Lietzke dropped his putt dead center and went up by a stroke heading into the back nine. He went out in 35, while Sutton shot a fine even par 36. The back nine belonged to Lietzke, who continued to notch holes onto his lead. Lietzke parred the 10th in regulation, while Sutton drove into the right rough, stuck a two iron into a deep bunker and failed to get up and down. He fell two holes back. Both golfers missed birds from about 20’ out and halved the 11th. Then Lietzke hit a fine seven iron over the pond and stopped it seven feet from the hole. Sutton managed to find the far left side of the green and was realistically looking at a lag. He hit a nice one to four feet, which meant nothing as Lietzke cooly dropped his putt for birdie and a three up lead. Lietzke missed from around 20’ for birdie on the 13th and Sutton, who nearly sliced his tee shot out of bounds, scrambled to save par and halve the hole. He was running out of holes, three down with five holes to play. Sutton was looking at a 16’ birdie putt on the short 14th. Fine, except Lietzke would be putting from only six feet after sticking a wedge. Sutton rimmed out his putt and Lietzke again, cooly, dropped the six footer to go four up with four to play and a chance to put it away on the par five 15th hole. Lietzke drove the ball neatly down the left side of the fairway. Pressing, Sutton hooked his ball into the woods, fortunately just short of the creek, but still able to only play a recovery shot. He tried to get the ball over the rough onto the second chunk of fairway, but was short and was looking at a long iron into the green. Lietzke chose not to play it safe, but took out a two iron to try to get home in two. He pulled it slightly and caught the front left bunker. Sutton launched his two iron at the green, it hit the putting surface and rolled to the back of the green against the frog hair, over fifty feet away. Barring a miracle, he was looking at par. Lietzke had a good lie in the bunker some fifty feet out, needing only a reasonable pitch to make par at the worst. He did better than that, rolling the shot a foot short of the hole. Sutton was through. He missed the put, Lietzke tapped in and had a date tomorrow with either Jerry McGee or Gil Morgan for chance to win his bracket and go to the tournament semi-finals
Jerry McGee v Gil Morgan
Jerry McGee had beaten what most thought were some pretty long odds to get to this round in the tournament. He had handled his first round opponent, Homero Blancas easily, winning 3 & 2. Then won close matches against the likes of Dave Marr and Hale Irwin. That’s why the gallery was surprised when McGee duck hooked his drive off the first tee deep into the woods and had to take a drop. He punched back out onto the fairway, but ending up starting his round with a double bogey and a hole down. Then after halving the next three holes with Dr. Gil Morgan, he erased that deficit with a 12 foot birdie putt on the fifth hole to match the match all square. Morgan failed to get up and down on the sixth hole and McGee was a hole up. But Morgan found his game again and birdied the seventh to go back up by a stroke. McGee helped him out on the 8th hole when he three putted from 45’ for bogey to put Morgan two up. The duck hook from the first tee box made an encore performance on the 9th, resulting in another birdie and a three hole lead by Morgan at the turn. But McGee had come too far to give up easily. He sank a ten foot birdie putt on the 11th to get a stroke back. He holed an 8’ putt on 13 to cut the deficit to one hole with four holes to play. But that nasty hook would rear its ugly head again on the 15th tee box. Another penalty drop and recovery shot doomed him to a bogey six. Morgan was two up with three to play. The next hole was just ugly for both golfers. Morgan knocked two shots into the water and took a quadruple bogey. McGee won the hole with a double bogey, three putting from twenty feet. He hung on to play another hole, being two down with two to play. Neither golfer found the 17th green with their approach shots. McGee dumped his in the right side bunker and Morgan overshot the green. It was now down to short games. McGee blasted out of the bunker to within nine feet for par. Morgan chipped to seven feet. McGee rimmed out his putt and took a bogey. The Doctor had a seven footer to win the match. He buried it and will move on to face Bruce Lietzke for a ticket to the Big Show—the bracket championship and shot at the crown.
Blue Bracket Champion Match Up: Bruce Lietzke v Gil Morgan
Tom Weiskopf v Gay Brewer
It looked like it might be a long day for Tom Weiskopf. Off the first tee, he hooked the ball deep into the woods and ended the first hole three putting from 13 feet. Brewer parred in regulation and was one up. Gay Brewer then nailed a monsterous 43 foot birdie putt on the second to take the first two holes. But Weiskopf got his game straightened out and he and Brewer shot par for the next four holes. Then Weiskopf broke through on the par five seventh, Brewer missed from 14’ and he dropped an eight foot putt for birdie and cut Brewer’s lead in half. Both golfers went birdie-par on the 8th and 9th. Brewer went out at 34 and Weiskopf at 36 and a stroke back. But Weiskopf had sudden breakdowns in his game. He chunked his wedge into the 11th green into the creek and lost the hole with a double bogey. Then he three putted from eleven feet on the 13th hole and suddenly found himself three shots back with five to play. Brewer wasn’t tearing up the back nine, but he wasn’t making big mistakes and that was good enough for a comfortable lead. But anyone who was a close observer, would have noticed not of look of rejection and defeat in Weiskopf as he set up for his tee shot off the 14th tee, but a jaw firmly and resolutely set—a man meaning business. He rimmed out a birdie putt on 14, but his par was good enough when Brewer pushed his wedge into the creek and took double bogey. He was only two back. He calmly holed a 12’ birdie on the 15th after Brewer missed from 24 feet. He was only one back. He scrambled from the left side rough on the par three 16th, making an eleven foot putt to save par and Brewer couldn’t get up and down from behind the green and saw the match go all square with two holes to play. To say that Brewer looked concerned would be an understatement. Both players drilled their drives down the middle on the 17th fairway, leaving themselves nine irons into the green. Weiskopf stuck his approach six feet from the pin. Brewer was long again and in the rough 15 yards past the putting surface. Brewer hit a nice pitch to 8 feet and was putting to save par. He dropped it and it was on Weiskopf to make his seven footer to win the hole and the match. It caught a little of the lip, but dropped and Weiskopf was moving onto the last hole with a 1 up lead. Weiskopf played a two iron safely down the left side of the fairway, leaving himself a short iron into the green. Brewer selected a three wood and rolled it across the fairway and into the left rough, but had a good enough lie to go at the green. Weiskopf knocked his nine iron onto the center of the green, 32 feet away from the pin. Brewer causght too much of the rough and ended up 70 yards short of the green. He was in desperate shape. He would have to knock his pitch dead on the hole and hope Weiskopf would three putt. His pitch was good, but not as good as he hoped, leaving himself a 16’ putt to save par. Weiskopf lined up his putt and lagged it four feet from the hole. Brewer stalked around the green, sizing up his putt. He dropped it! The pressure shifted back to Weiskopf. He addressed the ball quickly, and dropped the putt to win the match and complete an impressive back nine comeback
Raymond Floyd v Andy North
Andy North and Ray Floyd both missed birdie putts under 15 feet on the first hole, but Floyd would take the next two. North sliced his drive into the woods and found the creek that runs down the right side of the fairway. He ended up taking triple bogey and going one down. Floyd dropped a 15’ putt for birdie on the 3rd hole to quickly go two up. He hit a beautiful full wedge into the 6th hole and went three up with a four foot birdie putt, threatening to blow the match wide open early. But Andy North battled back with terrific short iron play. He stuck a wedge five feet from the pin on the par five seventh to cut Floyd’s lead to two up. On the 8th North parked his 7 iron three feet from the hole and birdied to trail only by a hole. But he slipped going out. He plopped his five iron in the left rough 38 yards from the pen, while Floyd played his 8 iron to the center of the green. North pitched to within 11 feet but didn’t drop the putt and fell back to two down making the turn. North got the hole back by nailing a 21 foot birdie putt on the 11th to cut Floyd’s lead again to a single hole. Floyd struggled from the deep bunker on the left side of the 13th green, while North notched a regulation par to make the match all square. The match was tied for the first time since the first hole by the plucky North. The pair halved the next two holes to stand on the 16th tee box all square. From here they would both struggle. North splashed his five iron into the pond on the par three and Floyd bounce over the back of the green. North hit a nice pitch to the green nine feet away, but needed that putt to make bogey. Floyd chipped to leave himself 14 feet to save par. Both golfers missed their putts and Floyd took the hole with a bogey to move to one up with two holes to play. North played his 7 iron approach of 17 safely to leave himself a 19’ putt for birdie. Floyd also play a mediocre short iron into the green and had 24’ for birdie. Floyd lined up his putt and nailed it! North had to made his 19 footer to halve the whole and stay alive. He putted through the break, missed and the match belonged to Floyd 2 & 1.
Yellow Bracket Championship Match Up: Tom Weiskopf v Ray Floyd
Julius Boros v Leonard Thompson
Leonard Thompson was a tournament surprise, having made it to the semi-finals by defeating Tom Watson 3 & 1, Kel Nagle 2 & 1, and Charles Coe 2 & 1. The fact that Julius Boros was playing to a chance to win the bracket was no surprise. Perhaps the only surprise is that he handled Billy Casper so easily in the previous round, beating Buffalo Bill 4 & 3, but then he had beaten Finsterwald 4 & 3 quite handily as well. Thompson won the first hole, when Boros failed to get up and down from the bunker. But (pardon the spoiler) it would be the only hole Thompson would win in the match. Boros immediately got the hole he lost back when Thompson three putted from 67 feet. He went up a hole when Thompson missed a six footer to save par. After both golfers bogeyed the par three fourth, they matched pars through to the ninth, with Boros still only up by one. Thompson missed the green long and right with his nine iron, while Boros played a steady eight iron to the middle of the green. Thompson hit a poor pitch leaving himself 22’ to save par. He missed and Boros two putted to go up by two at the turn. Neither golfer tore up the front side. Boros was two over and Thompson four over. Boros got busy on the back nine, he stuck a seven iron eight feet from the pin, while Thompson was long again and didn’t get up and down, falling to three down. On the 11th, both contestants had birdie putts, Thompson from 14 feet and Boros from six. Thompson rimmed out his 14 footer and Boros rapped in his putt to go four up. He floated a seven iron to four feet away on the 12th and found himself five up with six to play. He had taken control of the match and winning seemed an inevitability now. Thompson stayed alive matching Boros’ par on the 13th hole, but was now five holes back with five to play. Boros put Thompson and the match away on the 14th when he parachuted a wedge a foot away from the stick and tapped in for birdie. It was another easy win for the nonchalant big man—6 & 4.
Lon Hinkle v Harold Henning
The South African, Harold Henning, and Lon Hinkle were both long shots to be here. Hinkle had beaten Peter Oosterhuis and edged Lee Elder. Then even more improbably, he defeated Arnold Palmer in 19 holes. Henning’s journey was no less easy. He beat multiple majors winner Larry Nelson easily 5 & 4, then handled Frank Beard, no pushover, 3 & 2. He had to rally, but managed to beat Art Wall, Jr. 1 up to make it here today. Henning made a statement, blitzing the front side. He went one up when Hinkle hit his approach shot in the stream on the second hole. Then he drained a 14’ putt for birdie on the 3rd hole to go two up. After matching pars for two holes, Hinkle slipped on the six hole. He pushed his three iron right into the rough and could not get up and down. Henning’s short game was on and he knocked in a 4 footer to save par and go up three holes. Henning flipped a gentle little wedge shot to within five feet on the seventh hol, after not quite making it there in two, for another birdie and went up four holes. But Hinkle wasn’t totally through, he’d fought too hard to get here. He made a nice lag putt on the ninth to two putt to take advantage of a rare error by Henning, who knocked his approach shot into the stream. He was now three down heading into the back nine. Although he shot 39, and Henning a nifty 34, he was not buried and had a little momentum on the road home. He was hitting greens now, but Henning scrambled with his good short game and they halved the tenth. Both golfers crashed on the 11th. Henning pulled a five iron into the woods on his second shot and rather than punching it out, tried to steer it out and onto the green. He hit a branch and the ball ended up the creek where it cuts across the fairway in front of the green. By the time he was finished, he took a double bogey seven. Hinkle drove into the right fairway bunker and hit his second shot fat out of the sand and into creek. He scrambled and managed to make bogey and win the hole. He was now only two down. He holed a 15 foot putt for birdie on the 12th and he was back in the match, only one back with six holes to play. The pair parred the next two and came to the 15th tee box in a tight match, Henning still leading by one. They both hit nice drives on the par five 15th and chose to go for the green rather than lay up. Henning knocked his three wood in the left rough short of the bunker, about 50 yards from the pin. Hinkle pulled out a two iron ended up to the left of the same bunker, but a little closer to the pin. Hennng pitched first and rolled the ball to within eight feet of the hole for birdie. Hinkle knocked his pitch more past the hole and was looking at a 15 footer. He missed on the low side of the cup, but Henning rammed his eight footer home to birdie and go two up with three to play. Henning stopped his tee shot on the par three 16th on the back left fringe with about 30 feet to the hole. Hinkle flew the green and stopped abruptly in the bunker. He needed a good pitch to get up and down for par to try to halve the hole and survive to play on. He had trouble stopping the ball and rolled fifteen feet past the hole. Henning lagged to a foot away and the match hinged on Hinkles putt. He missed high of the hole, made his bogey and Henning tapped in for the 3 & 2 win.
White Bracket Championship Match Up: Julius Boros v Harlod Henning