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Saturday, October 18, 2014

As For My "Three to Watch" This Week

Earlier in the week I did a post naming three players -- each on a different tour -- worth watching this week, as each was making their first appearance in a while. The results have been all over the place!

Billy Horschel, for example, missed the cut by 3 shots at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. However, given that Billy has been a new father for less than a month and missed the cut at an event where that cut is usually under par (cut was -2, Billy shot +1), I'm willing to give him a pass this week.

Michelle Wie during second round in South Korea

Michelle Wie is faring much better at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea. Coming back from an injury that's kept her out of the game for several months, she got off to a slow start with a first round 76 (+4). Not that she played that badly; the wind was up the first 2 days, and Paula Creamer shot an 81 that first round -- her worst round ever in competition.

But Michelle came back with a 70 (-2) in the second round and a 67 (-5) in the third round -- she just finished as I'm writing this -- to post at -3 for the tournament. That's only 3 shots back of current leaders Yoon Kyung Heo and Beatriz Recari. Not bad for her first event back!

Patrick Reed at the Volvo World Match Play

And then there's Patrick Reed, playing in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in England. Perhaps the biggest surprise to some fans, Patrick made it out of the round robin play by winning 2 of his 3 matches. He now moves on to today's quarterfinals, where the matches look like this:
  • George Coetzee VS Patrick Reed
  • Victor Dubuisson VS Mikko Ilonen
  • Joost Luiten VS Pablo Larrazábal
  • Henrik Stenson VS Jonas Blixt
And yes, as hard as it may be to believe, defending champion Graeme McDowell is already eliminated. At this point the man to beat appears to be Joost Luiten, who is the only undefeated player in the matches.

One quick note for those interested in the Ryder Cup "rematches" at the Match Play (5 Euros versus Reed)... Only Dubuisson and Stenson are still around for the Euros. Reed dispatched Donaldson on Friday to make the quarters, which europeantour.com noted might be considered a bit of payback for the USA:
Patrick Reed gained a small measure of revenge for last month's Ryder Cup defeat by knocking European hero Jamie Donaldson out of the Volvo World Match Play Championship.
In any case, great things are still very much possible for two of my three choices. It could be a very interesting weekend!

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