Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Senior Duel

In the midst of the excitement over Inbee Park being just one round from history -- only Babe Didrikson Zaharias has managed to win the FIRST three majors of the season (Western Open, Titleholders Championship, and US Women's Open, in 1950) -- the battle over at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship has suddenly become very interesting.

Fred Couples

Fred Couples still leads at -15 (66-62-67) but only by 2 strokes. It seems that Kenny Perry decided to shoot back-to-back 63s (71-63-63) to reach -13. Fox Chapel is extremely soft after all the rain but -- as an old Wild West cowboy might say -- that's still some pretty fair shootin' thar. This link will take you to a much more indepth article about the event over at ESPN.com, but here's an interesting factoid from that article:
After a lethargic 71 in the first round left him frustrated, Perry switched putters to one with more loft hoping it would help keep the ball online on the soggy and cleat-marked greens.
The decision paid off handsomely as Perry set a tournament record for the lowest score in consecutive rounds. The combined 14-under 126 Perry posted in the second and third rounds is two better than the 128 Jack Nicklaus shot in 1990 when the tournament was held in Dearborn, Mich.
You read that right: Kenny went to a putter with more loft to help keep the ball on line on the wet greens. More loft helps get the ball up on top of the wet grass more quickly. That's a useful thing for you readers to remember if you play in the rain very often. Although I haven't heard the exact amount, I'm guessing Kenny went from around 3 degrees (fairly standard on the Tour's superfast greens) to around 5 degrees.

Granted, the soft conditions have made the SENIOR PLAYERS a much closer competition than the US Women's Open is shaping up to be. There are 5 players within 5 shots of Freddie, as opposed to Inbee leading a pack of only 5 women under par. Inbee's attempt to make history gives the women a real interest boost over the seniors.

Still, if today turns into a shootout between Freddie and Kenny (and possibly another player or two), it might be worth your time to leave Inbee & Co. for a few moments to check in on the old guys. At least during the commercials.

The photo came from golfweek.com.

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