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MFT Tour — Motor City Classic at Oakland Hills

 Chi Chi Rodriguez shoots Opening Day 65 (-5) for First Round Lead

The Course — With the hot weather yet to set in on the upper Midwest, the course was not baked out and hard and the greens weren’t cut too short. The rough was snaggy, even by Oakland Hills standards. A moderate breeze blew from the West. The tournament started with the red flags waving.

Chi Chi Rodriguez shot a blistering five under 65 to open the tournament and take a three stroke lead over the rest of the field. Several golfers played to -4, but seemed to quickly fall back into the rest of the pack. The Cuban “Swordsman” had his putter flashing on the first hole after draining a 13 footer for par.  On number two he hit a terrific 5 iron to within 7 feet and dropped that to go two under after two holes. He gave a stroke back on the fourth hole, however, when he played up the right rough and missed a 12′ putt to save par.  After reaching the next three greens in regulation but with long putts resulting in two putts, he crafted a brilliant 2 iron to within four feet on the 8th to birdie and go out in 33 (-2). He quickly birdied the 10th with a 13 foot putt and hit a nice wedge to within six feet on the 12th to go to -4 for the round. As with so many golfers today, he flew the 13th green with his tee shot and landed into a deep bunker, where he failed to get up and down to slip back to -3 on the day.  Then he gathered himself and birdied the new two holes. He sank a beautiful 32 foot putt through the valley in the 14th green for birdie.  Then nailed another 5 iron on the difficult 15th to eight feet and dropped that to come in with 32, for an exceptional 65 to take the lead in the event. Gay Brewer birdied three of the first four holes to bolt out of the gate.  But the unforgiving course caught up with him. He found deep bunkers with his approach shots on the 6th and 8th and was unable to get up and down and went out in 34, one under par. He dropped to even par with a bogey on the 11th, but redeemed himself with impressive birdie putts on the 14th and 16th to shoot 34 on the back nine for a 68, two under par.  Mark Hayes holed a 14 yard pitch for eagle on the 2nd hole and dropped a 19 foot putt for birdie on the 6th to go to -3. But a poor pitch on the 9th, left him an 18 footer for par which he missed to shoot 33 on the front, two under par. But that disappeared quickly with a double bogey on the 10th, thanks to duck hooked tee shot and three putting from 32 feet. He rebounded on the next two holes, dropping a 17′ birdie putt on the 11th and driving the par five 12th in two and two putting for birdie.  He parred in and shot even par 35 on the back to finish at 68, two under.  Donnie Hammond sunk an eleven foot birdie on the first hole, but then stumbled on the third and fourth holes due to problems with his short game and fell to +1 for the round.  He hit a beautiful 7 iron into the 7th hole and dropped a four footer to go out in even par 35.  He flirted with holing a 4 iron on the par five 12th for double eagle, but dropped a four foot putt for eagle and then parred in to come home in 33 for a two under 68.

Seven other contestants finished with one under 69s. The list includes Dr. Gil Morgan, Peter Jacobson, Arnold Palmer, Don Massengale, Dick Mayer, Dan Sikes and Dave Ragan

 Tommy Aaron Shoots 65 to take lead  70-65  135 (-5)

The Course — Oakland Hills was in much of the same condition as yesterday, normal fairways, average greens and no wind.  But about an hour into the round, it became overcast and started to drizzle and continued to slowly soak the course, slowing play along with the with the putting. By midday the rain lifted and the sun came out. A light wind from the Southwest tried to dry the golfers and the gallery. The white flags marked the day’s pin positions.

If you imagine waves building before being dashed again a rock and receding, then you can imagine round two of the tournament, with the waves being the golfers and the rock being minus four or five. It seemed that the day consisted of golfers gathering  momentum onto to have there scorecards and hopes dashed by an unrelenting Oakland Hills golf course.  The back nine, particularly the finishing holes were the cause of many promising rounds being destroyed. The man atop the leader board was the exception. Tommy Aaron put together a blistering 65 today to combine with an even par round of 70 yesterday to climb into the lead at 135 (-5). He dropped a 13′ birdie putt on the first hole, then followed that up with holed out from the trap guarding the front right of the fifth green to move to two under. He hit a brilliant two iron into the green on the 8th to move to minus three and go out in 32. He birdies the 11th and 15th with more sparkling iron play to fall to five under par.  He moved to minus six on the 16th hole by dropping a 57′ putt. But his round was not without a rock.  In his round the finishing hole, thanks to an errant tee shot and missed 14 footer for par, he bogeyed the 18th, the only blemish on his scorecard, to shoot 65 and move into the lead. Lee Trevino birdied the first two holes thanks to a great 9 iron into the first green and a 20′ birdie putt on the second hole.  He then parred out to go out in 34 and minus two for the tournament. He dropped a 13′ putt on the 10th to move to -3, but this would be his high water mark. He three putted the 14th hole from the fringe at the back of the green for his only bogey, to come home in even par with a 68 and what would end up being a tie for second place going into the weekend.  Arnold Palmer’s round, as one might guess, was more dramatic.  He nearly holed a full wedge on the first hole to birdie and move to minus two.  Then his putter got hot on the sixth and seventh holes where he dropped 13′ and 16′ putts to go out in 32, four under par for the tournament.  His round crested at five under with a magnificent 37′ birdie putt on the 10th. Then his crashed into the rocks. He was unable to scramble on the 11tH and 14th holes, missing 10 and 4 foot putts, to fall back to minus three.  He rallied briefly with a 13′ birdie putt on the 15th, but then crashed coming home. He hooked his tee shot behind some trees on the 15th hole, which necessitated a recovery shot and led to a bogey to fall back to -3.  Then he failed to get up and down from behind the green on the 18th to bogey the finishing hole and shoot another 69 for a two round total of 138, or two under par.

Chi Chi Rodriguez started strongly, moving to six under with a two putt birdie on the par five second. Then it started to come apart. He bogeyed the third hole, failing to get up and down from the deep bunker behind the green.  Then he double bogeyed the 7th hole. He badly sliced his drive into the deep rough, then couldn’t hack through the thick stuff and dropped his second shot in the water.  The hole dropped him to -3 for the event.  He three putted the ninth green and went out in 38, three over par for the round and two under for the tournament. He holed a 54′ putt on the tenth to get back to three under, but then bogeyed the 12th and 14th to come in in 36 for a round of 74 and tumble into a tie for fourth place at one under. Sandy Lyle made a run at the lead, working himself to minus four after the eighth hole, but like so many others, hit the rocks and receded to minus one. Curtis Strange, who started at even par, got to three under, but bogeyed the 14th and 17th holes to finish at minus one. Dick Mayer had a dramatic back nine after shooting 36 going out and falling to even par.  He birdied the 11th, 12th, and 13th, to move to -3. He holed out from the some trees on the left side of the 11th green for the first birdie, sank a 16′ putt on 12 for the second birdie, and holed out from a deep bunker guarding the front of the 13th green. However, the finishing holes punished him, as he bogeyed the 17th and 18th to finish at even par 70 for a second round score of one under. The cut came at +6 in the event.  Notables who won’t be playing over the weekend include, Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros at +7 and Gary Player at +8.  The champion of two weeks ago, Jay Hebert, shot 72-78 to be ten over on after cut day.

   Aaron and Langer, Co-Leaders at 207 (-3)

The Course — Saturday dawned overcast and damp, but with no wind. Then early in the round, the light rain came again, soaking the golfers, gallery, course and greens.  The course was soft and the greens slow, a light breeze blew in from the Southwest. The rough was like spinach and the flags were in their yellow positions.

Tommy Aaron started the day five under with a three stroke lead. He blitzed the front side and looked like he might build himself un insurmountable lead.  He nearly holed a 125 yard wedge into the second green and tapped in for birdie. He dropped 19′ and 11′ putts for par on the 5th and 6th and was at -8. He went out in 32 and was pulling away from a struggling field. But the worm tuned on the back nine.  He pulled a three wood approach shot into some dense woods left of the 11th green and had to take a drop. He pitched over the green, chipped on and two putted for triple bogey to fall back to -5 for whence he started.  He bounce back with a birdie on the par five 12th, but the comeback was short lived. He failed to get up and down out of a deep bunker on the 13th and penciled in a bogey.  He missed nine and eleven foot par putts on the 17th and 18th and shot 40 on coming home for a round of 73 and tied for the lead at -3. The co-leader, Bernhard Langer, started the day at even par and put together a round of 67 to finish at three under.  He went out in 33, thanks a some great iron play to make the turn at two under. Then dropped 10 and 15 foot birdie putts on the 10th and 12th to move to minus four. He failed to get up and down out of the deep bunker protecting the front right side of the 17th and slipped to three under where he ended his round, tied for the lead. Johnny Miller started at one over and shot a very clean 67 to move to two under.  He birdied the first two holes and dropped a 22′ birdie putt on the 15th, carding three birdies and 15 pars on the day. The Canadian, George Knudson, started the day also at plus one. He birdied the first hole, then birdied the sixth and seventh, dropping a 33′ putt on the sixth, to move to -2.  However, he three putted from 63′ on the ninth to go out in 33 and make the turn at one under. He fell back to even par, failing to get up and down on the 11th. But he birdied the 12th and 14th to finish shoot 34 coming in for a 67 and a tournament total of minus two.  Ben Crenshaw climbed up the leader board with a round of 63 to had into the final round at even par, three strokes back.  Likewise, Bob Rosberg moved up, shooting 69, to also be three strokes back. However, Lee Trevino and Chi Chi Rodriguez fell back to even par with rounds of 72 and 71, respectfully. However, they are still in the hunt only three strokes back.  Arnold Palmer, who started the day at two under, shot 39 on the back side to slip to plus two for the event.

The final round looked to be a horse race, with two golfers tied for the lead and four others no more than three strokes back

 Bernhard Langer Celebrates Par Putt for Victory

On a dreary day that threatened rain yet again, Bernhard Langer held firm, as Tommy Aaron and Johnny Miller crumbled to leave him King of the Hill and Motor City Classic Champion. Tommy Aaron and Johnny Miller made the turn at minus four, with the German trailing them by three at one under. Miller, who was playing in the foursome ahead of Aaron and Langer, bogeyed the 10th after slicing his drive into thick trees to fall a stroke back to three under. But he reached the 12th in two and two putted for birdie to move again into a tie with Aaron at minus four. The score stayed the same with Aaron and Miller locked at minus three and Langer trailing them at one under.  Then everything started to turn on the brutal finishing holes.  On the 16th Miller drove into the deep right hand rough short of the pond.  He had a bad lie, but decided to try to muscle the ball over the water, instead of playing a more lateral pitch back onto the fairway.  It was a terrible decision. The thick, wet spinach grabbed his seven iron and he dropped the ball ten feet short of the fairway into the drink. After a drop he played a nine iron onto the green and was putting from 27′ for bogey. He missed then missed a seven footer coming back to three putt for a triple bogey and fall to minus one. Meanwhile, Aaron pared the 15th and Langer holed a 19′ birdie putt to move to minus two, a stroke up on Miller and two behind Aaron. Miller wouldn’t recover from the triple and the drama turned to the final twosome. Langer planted a seven iron 13 feet away for birdie on the 16th, while Aaron pitched out of a deep bunker behind the green and was looking at a 22′ putt to save par.  Aaron missed and Langer knocked the 13 footer in dead center for a two stroke shift and a three under tie, going into the final two holes. Langer left his three wood short of the bunkers on the mountainous 17th.  Aaron was in better shape, managing to land between the two deep bunkers.  Langer pitched to within 13 feet to save par and Aaron chipped to within five feet. Langer’s putt slid under the hole, leaving the door open for Aaron.  But he rimmed out the five footer and the pair were tied at two under heading to the finishing hole. Langer drove into the left rough, but had a decent lie and was able to pull out a two iron to try to reach the green.  Aaron had sliced his drive barely through some trees and also was able to try to play a long iron into the green.  Both golfers landed two irons short off the green and were pitching from 50 yards out. Langer left himself a ten foot putt for par and Aaron had 19 feet.  Aaron played too much break and slid past the on the high side of the hole.  The pressure fell fully on the German’s shoulders.  Steely eyed, he dropped the putt and kicked his leg, as if slamming a door, to win the dramatic Motor City Classic. Chi Chi Rodriguez, two groups ahead of Miller had worked his way to minus two going into the 18th. A par would have sent him into a play off.  He pulled his approach shot right of the green and missed a 14′ par putt for bogey and finished with Aaron and Miller at one under.

Pos

Golfer

Tot

Thru

Today

R1

R2

R3

R4

Str

Prize

Pts

1

Bernhard LANGER (Germany)

-2

F

+1

73

67

67

71

278

$900,000

550

T2

Chi Chi RODRIGUEZ (Puerto Rico)

-1

F

-1

65

74

71

69

279

$373,333

218

T2

Johnny MILLER (United States)

-1

F

+1

71

70

67

71

279

$373,333

218

T2

Tommy AARON (United States)

-1

F

+2

70

65

72

72

279

$373,333

218

T5

Hale IRWIN (United States)

+1

F

-3

70

70

74

67

281

$175,625

101

T5

Tony LEMA (United States)

+1

F

-1

75

69

68

69

281

$175,625

101

T5

Lee TREVINO (United States)

+1

F

+1

70

68

72

71

281

$175,625

101

T5

Ben CRENSHAW (United States)

+1

F

+1

71

71

68

71

281

$175,625

101

T9

Hubie GREEN (United States)

+2

F

-1

75

66

72

69

282

$135,000

78

T9

Bob ROSBURG (United States)

+2

F

+2

74

67

69

72

282

$135,000

78

T9

George KNUDSON (Canada)

+2

F

+4

72

69

67

74

282

$135,000

78

T12

Harold HENNING (South Africa)

+3

F

-3

72

73

71

67

283

$92,143

60

T12

D.A.WEIBRING (United States)

+3

F

-2

73

69

73

68

283

$92,143

60

T12

Dow FINSTERWALD (United States)

+3

F

-1

72

68

74

69

283

$92,143

60

T12

Curtis STRANGE (United States)

+3

F

E

70

69

74

70

283

$92,143

60

T12

Phil RODGERS (United States)

+3

F

E

72

69

72

70

283

$92,143

60

T12

Mark HAYES (United States)

+3

F

+1

68

72

72

71

283

$92,143

60

T12

Tony JACKLIN (England)

+3

F

+1

72

70

70

71

283

$92,143

60

T19

Dave RAGAN (United States)

+4

F

E

69

72

73

70

284

$67,500

52

T19

Arnold PALMER (United States)

+4

F

+2

69

69

74

72

284

$67,500

52

T21

Peter THOMSON (Australia)

+5

F

-3

74

70

74

67

285

$52,000

48

T21

Dick MAYER (United States)

+5

F

+1

69

70

75

71

285

$52,000

48

T21

Charles COE (United States)

+5

F

+2

70

70

73

72

285

$52,000

48

T21

Don JANUARY (United States)

+5

F

+2

71

72

70

72

285

$52,000

48

T21

Dave HILL (United States)

+5

F

+3

71

70

71

73

285

$52,000

48

T26

Ted KROLL (United States)

+6

F

-3

73

69

77

67

286

$37,000

43

T26

Hal SUTTON (United States)

+6

F

-3

74

70

75

67

286

$37,000

43

T26

Jim COLBERT (United States)

+6

F

-1

74

70

73

69

286

$37,000

43

T26

Fuzzy ZOELLER (United States)

+6

F

+1

71

69

75

71

286

$37,000

43

T26

Jerry McGEE (United States)

+6

F

+1

72

69

74

71

286

$37,000

43

T31

Lou GRAHAM (United States)

+7

F

-2

73

71

75

68

287

$27,750

37

T31

Peter JACOBSEN (United States)

+7

F

E

69

72

76

70

287

$27,750

37

T31

Ray FLOYD (United States)

+7

F

E

71

73

73

70

287

$27,750

37

T31

Jay HAAS (United States)

+7

F

E

76

68

73

70

287

$27,750

37

T31

Larry NELSON (United States)

+7

F

+1

72

69

75

71

287

$27,750

37

T31

Dave STOCKTON (United States)

+7

F

+2

70

71

74

72

287

$27,750

37

T31

Gay BREWER (United States)

+7

F

+3

68

73

73

73

287

$27,750

37

T31

Julius BOROS (United States)

+7

F

+4

70

73

70

74

287

$27,750

37

T39

Tommy NAKAJIMA (Japan)

+8

F

E

74

70

74

70

288

$21,000

31

T39

Doug TEWELL (United States)

+8

F

+1

72

70

75

71

288

$21,000

31

T39

Roberto de VICENZO (Argentina)

+8

F

+2

73

69

74

72

288

$21,000

31

T39

Doug SANDERS (United States)

+8

F

+3

70

70

75

73

288

$21,000

31

T43

Billy CASPER (United States)

+9

F

-2

75

70

76

68

289

$14,355

23

T43

Charlie SIFFORD (United States)

+9

F

E

74

71

74

70

289

$14,355

23

T43

Bob CHARLES (New Zealand)

+9

F

+2

71

71

75

72

289

$14,355

23

T43

Larry MIZE (United States)

+9

F

+2

73

71

73

72

289

$14,355

23

T43

Dan SIKES (United States)

+9

F

+4

69

73

73

74

289

$14,355

23

T43

Bud ALLIN (United States)

+9

F

+4

71

72

72

74

289

$14,355

23

T43

Bob GILDER (United States)

+9

F

+4

71

73

71

74

289

$14,355

23

T43

Johnny POTT (United States)

+9

F

+5

72

69

73

75

289

$14,355

23

T43

David GRAHAM (Australia)

+9

F

+6

71

70

72

76

289

$14,355

23

T43

Al GEIBERGER (United States)

+9

F

+6

74

71

68

76

289

$14,355

23

T43

Sandy LYLE (Scotland)

+9

F

+7

70

69

73

77

289

$14,355

23

T54

Gil MORGAN (United States)

+10

F

+1

69

74

76

71

290

$11,300

14

T54

Homero BLANCAS (United States)

+10

F

+1

74

70

75

71

290

$11,300

14

T54

Donnie HAMMOND (United States)

+10

F

+2

68

73

77

72

290

$11,300

14

T54

George ARCHER (United States)

+10

F

+2

72

72

74

72

290

$11,300

14

T54

Lanny WADKINS (United States)

+10

F

+2

72

73

73

72

290

$11,300

14

T54

Chip BECK (United States)

+10

F

+3

73

72

72

73

290

$11,300

14

T54

Gene LITTLER (United States)

+10

F

+4

71

72

73

74

290

$11,300

14

T61

Bruce CRAMPTON (Australia)

+11

F

+4

73

70

74

74

291

$10,800

9

T61

Miller BARBER (United States)

+11

F

+4

73

71

73

74

291

$10,800

9

T61

Tom WEISKOPF (United States)

+11

F

+5

70

73

73

75

291

$10,800

9

T64

Isao AOKI (Japan)

+12

F

+2

75

68

77

72

292

$10,450

6

T64

Payne STEWART (United States)

+12

F

+4

70

74

74

74

292

$10,450

6

T64

Ken VENTURI (United States)

+12

F

+5

71

70

76

75

292

$10,450

6

T64

Doug FORD (United States)

+12

F

+6

70

74

72

76

292

$10,450

6

T68

Bob MURPHY (United States)

+13

F

+3

74

69

77

73

293

$10,000

2

T68

Leonard THOMPSON (United States)

+13

F

+3

72

72

76

73

293

$10,000

2

T68

Rik MASSENGALE (United States)

+13

F

+4

71

71

77

74

293

$10,000

2

T68

Tom WATSON (United States)

+13

F

+4

74

70

75

74

293

$10,000

2

T68

Orville MOODY (United States)

+13

F

+4

73

71

75

74

293

$10,000

2

T73

Kel NAGLE (Australia)

+14

F

+2

72

72

78

72

294

$9,600

1

T73

Roger MALTBIE (United States)

+14

F

+5

71

73

75

75

294

$9,600

1

T73

Mike SOUCHAK (United States)

+14

F

+7

72

70

75

77

294

$9,600

1

76

George BAYER (United States)

+15

F

+5

71

74

75

75

295

$9,400

1

T77

Larry HINSON (United States)

+16

F

+5

75

70

76

75

296

$9,250

1

T77

Mark McCUMBER (United States)

+16

F

+6

75

69

76

76

296

$9,250

1

T79

John MAHAFFEY (United States)

+17

F

+2

71

71

83

72

297

$9,050

1

T79

David FROST (South Africa)

+17

F

+4

72

73

78

74

297

$9,050

1

81

Grier JONES (United States)

+18

F

+7

72

72

77

77

298

$8,900

1

82

Mac O’GRADY (United States)

+19

F

+2

72

73

82

72

299

$8,800

1

83

Andy NORTH (United States)

+22

F

+6

72

72

82

76

302

$8,700

1

By |2017-02-13T11:22:55+00:00February 12th, 2015|Kastner's Clubhouse|Comments Off on MFT Tour — Motor City Classic at Oakland Hills

About the Author:

I'm 59, married, an avid table top game player, mostly AGS and Skeetersoft baseball. Lately my passion is ASG Golf. I'm an addict. I've started a tour and am five events into it. I was posting on the Delphi forum but will hopefully be posting event results and write ups here. I love feedback, so don't be shy to give me shout.