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Friday, May 20, 2016

And Then There Were Four

In one of my classic faux pas, I picked a winner who wasn't even in the tournament. Not that Kenny Perry cared -- he finished the first round of the Regions Tradition with a two-stroke lead.

Kenny Perry at the Tradition

I'm referring, of course, to choosing Woody Austin in my My "5 to Watch" at the Regions Tradition post a couple of days back. Woody took the week off to go to his son's high school graduation -- an excellent decision, in my opinion -- but it does leave me with egg on my face. That's what I get for not checking the field list before choosing my picks. (I normally do. Have no idea why I didn't this time!)

However, I still have four dogs in this hunt and they didn't do badly the first day out:
  • Bernhard Langer is tied for second at -6, two shots behind Perry.
  • Billy Andrade sits at -5, in solo fourth.
  • Jeff Maggert is at -4, tied for fifth.
  • And even Jesper Parnevik made me look good early on. Jesper got to -5 before a bogey-par-double finish dropped him to -2. Still, this is far better than his showings at any major during his rookie season last year... and it's still only the first round.
Of course, Kenny's bogey-free round of -8 was a great start after an erratic first part of the season. He hit 9 of 13 fairways and EVERY green. When you do that, you're going to have a decent round unless your putter is stone cold.

And Bernhard Langer was right there with him until Bernhard bogeyed the 18th, which Kenny birdied.

Gene Sauers had the lead at -6 after the morning wave. Many of you may not have seen Gene on the PGA Tour but he had three wins there until he left the Tour in 2005. It wasn't by choice -- rather, he was diagnosed with a rare (and very painful) skin condition called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, where your skin cells actually start dying. He was only given a 25% chance of survival... but he did, and he joined the Champions Tour in 2012. While he hasn't won there yet, he does have four runner-up finishes. Now he's back in contention again.

Yes, it shaping up to be a very competitive first major of the year for the old guys. Just not for Woody Austin.

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