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Sunday, June 17, 2012

3 Out of 5 Ain't Bad

I'm feeling pretty good about my picks right now. While Olympic has been host to 4 upsets -- which I'll simply define as "the leader going into the final round didn't win" -- I think DL3 at +10 is too far back to figure in today's play, and Justin Rose at +5 is borderline at best. The Weather Channel's forecast for today (which may be a bad link by the time you check it -- it has "tomorrow" as part of the url, but which you can still check from a link at the U.S. Open leaderboard page), says the final round will be pretty much like all the others -- 71 degrees F, 64% humidity, 13mph SW winds.

I've been looking at players no more than 4 strokes back -- you may recall I used the same measure after the first round -- which means players at +3 or better. Jason Dufner still sits at that number, along with amateur Beau Hossler, Webb Simpson, and several others. I won't dismiss any of them as a possibility.

Likewise, both Ernie Els and Lee Westwood are at +2. Lee (my pick to win at the beginning of the week) has redeemed himself quite nicely since his 73-72 opening rounds. Can he post another 67 today and get back to even? I don't know, but that might be enough.

Colin Montgomerie picked Ernie Els to win, and I wouldn't be surprised if he did either. He's doing just what I expected -- make up ground with his ball striking. With rounds of 75-69-68, a 67 would also get him back to even.

Do I really think even par will win this Open? To be honest, no. I don't think the "Olympic Curse" will hold this time -- at least, not as long as the USGA doesn't let the course get out of control where good shots don't fare any better than bad shots. But I don't suspect they'll let the greens be as receptive as they were yesterday either. In the end, I think either Jim Furyk or Graeme McDowell will manage to post a -1 round, which will probably put the tournament out of everybody's reach...

Except for maybe Fredrik Jacobson's, who happens to be sittiing all by his lonesome at +1 and coming off a 72-71-68 tournament. I have to admit, I really like Freddie's chances now that he's gotten himself into position.

Wouldn't it be a hoot if the Olympus Curse held true... and the Junkman hauled off the heavy metal? Well, after he won his first PGA Tour tournament last year, he said each of his kids was going to want a trophy. I'd hate to be in the middle of the fight over this one!

At any rate, I'll be watching this one closely. Although I picked Luke Donald to win the Masters and he didn't, I did pick both Louis Oosthuizen and Bubba Watson as players to watch there. With 3 of my 5 players to watch at this Open still viable, I just might have a chance at the Grand Slam this year!

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