Golf Tidbits: The Sunday no one wanted to win
07/01/2014 9:50 AM
07/01/2014 9:55 AM
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Michelle Wie. Patrick Reed. Pablo Larrazabal. And finally, Mark Hubbard.
What does this eclectic group have in common? They all led entering the final round of their respective tournaments this past weekend, and none of them won.
No one ever said winning is easy, and winning two weeks in a row is nearly impossible. If the first win is your first major championship, forget about it.
That was what Wie faced at the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday. She won the U.S. Women's Open the week before, and went on a media barrage through New York City on Tuesday before heading to Arkansas.
Wie opened her final round with eight pars in a row, but then stumbled to three straight bogeys to tumble to minus-7. She finally made her first birdie on the 17th. However, after a par on 18, Wie finished four strokes behind the winner, Stacy Lewis.
Wie can be excused for not holding her 2-stroke lead after her whirlwind week, but what excuse do the others have?
Reed, who proclaimed himself one of the best players in the world after winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship earlier this year, had been 3-for-3 with the third-round lead.
The 23-year-old had missed five cuts and finished tied for 35th or worse in his other three events since proclaiming himself one of the best in the world. Of course, he had that little distraction of a pregnant wife, who gave birth to the couple's first child just over a month ago.
Reed started the Quicken Loans Invitational with three straight rounds of par or better. The last time he did that was the final three rounds of the Honda Classic, which was the week before he won the Cadillac.
He struggled to a 77 in the final round. Reed had five birdies, five bogeys and three double-bogeys in the final round. Ouch! That's one way to lose a tournament.
Larrazabal earned his third European Tour win earlier this year, and was three strokes clear of the field entering Sunday's final round.
The Spaniard notched two birdies and two bogeys in a final-round 72 that left him two shots outside a four-man playoff.
In that four-man playoff, world No. 2 Henrik Stenson made such a mess of the fifth extra hole, he conceded the title to Fabrizio Zanotti, who was waiting to hit his birdie putt.
Lastly, Hubbard was looking for his first Web.com Tour win. He played the front nine in 1-over par, but still led heading to the final nine.
Hubbard stemmed the tide with a birdie on the 10th. But he had back-to-back bogeys at 13 and 14, before dropping a shot at the last to lose the title by one.
And he wasn't alone. While winner Greg Owen started seven groups ahead of the leader, Hubbard's playing partners, Tony Finau and Andres Echavarria, also coughed up the lead late on Sunday.
Finau bogeyed three of the last four to end two strokes back and Echavarria ended three behind Owen after a pair of double-bogeys on the final two holes.
Excluding Hubbard, the players who coughed up the lead weren't chumps by any means. Reed was ranked 29th in the world, Wie was third and Larrazabal was 61st.
If people want to know how hard it is to win a golf tournament, go back and watch the replays of those four final rounds and they'll get a pretty good idea of how hard it is.
ROSE LOVES OLD COURSES
Justin Rose earned his sixth PGA Tour win over the weekend at Congressional Country Club. That win just added to the impressive list of courses at which he has been victorious.
Rose's first PGA win in 2010 was at Muirfield Village, home of the Memorial. One month later, he won at Aronimink Golf Club. In those two wins, he broke par in seven of the eight rounds.
The following year he won the BMW Championship, a FedExCup Playoff event, at Cog Hill. He broke par in three of four rounds there, and shot par in the final round to earn the win.
In 2012, Rose broke par in all four rounds en route to winning at Doral. Last year, he won his first major championship at Merion, where a final-round, even-par 70 was enough to give him the title.
Of the six courses which Rose won on, just one (Muirfield) is under 50 years old. And each course has a tremendous history.
Former winners at Muirfield include course-builder Jack Nicklaus as well as Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Greg Norman. Other winners at Aronimink include Gary Player, John Jacobs and Nick Watney.
Cog Hill's biggest winners include Woods, Nick Price and Ben Crenshaw, but they are just a tip of the iceberg. Doral also has a strong group of former champions like Woods, Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Raymond Floyd and Tom Weiskopf.
Merion has seen Bobby Jones complete his Grand Slam on the East Course, while Lee Trevino and Ben Hogan won majors on the legendary course. Lastly, Congressional has had past winners like Woods, Arnold Palmer, Ernie Els and Ken Venturi.
Rose has added his name to the list of winners at those venerable courses. For the Englishman, it seems the bigger the name and the harder the course, the better he plays.
That is not a bad thing.
- Reed wasn't the only golfer making a mess of Congressional. Rose beat Shawn Stefani in a playoff to win the Quicken Loans Invitational. Stefani made it easy on Rose, too, by driving into the trees, then splashing his second in a pond next to the green.
- My favorite part about the schedule in July is having three straight weeks of British Opens. The order this year goes Women's British, the Open Championship and the Senior British Open. The courses those championships will be contested on are Royal Birkdale Golf Club; Royal Liverpool, also known as Hoylake; and Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.
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