Kenny Perry Shoots Record Low

Kenny Perry shot a tournament record 258 to win the 2009 Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, this past week. He shot rounds of 61, 68, 66 and 63 to beat out David Toms and Peter Goydos by 3 strokes.

Perry trailed Goydos by 1 stroke going into the final round and by the 15th hole, he had a 5 stroke lead. Goydos had an eagle on 15, birdie on 16, and just missed a birdie on 17 after hitting his approach to within 8 feet.

Perry, who went bogey, bogey to finish and lose The Masters back in April, hasn’t won a tournament since.
“Everyone kind of asks about the Augusta hangover deal,” he said. “I guess I kind of shoved that aside a little bit. So that makes me feel pretty good.”

“I knew that I had to keep making birdies,” he said. “I wasn’t going to let up. I wasn’t going to play defensive golf. I learned something from that mistake.”

Perry has now won 5 times in just over a year, the most of any player on TOUR. He has 12 top 10 finishes over that span and has made every cut. His 258 broke the old tournament record of 259 set by Tim Norris in 1982.

Do you think 22 under is too low of a score? I personally do. I don’t think it’s fun to watch these guys tear up a course. We all know how good these guys are, but there’s something about watching these guys stuggle a little that keeps them “human,” or just like the average golfer. When a drive is hit in the rough, they should have to pay for it, not be able to hit on on the green as if they were in the fairway.

There were 23 golfers who finished the tournament tied for 19 or better. Out of those 23 players, there were only 6 rounds of 70 or greater. That’s 6 out of total of 92 rounds where the players shot below a 70.

I’m not exactly sure how the PGA Tour can prevent such low scores but it’s definitely something they should be looking into.

Lighthouse Sound – Come on Down to the Ocean, Hon

Summer may only have officially arrived earlier this week, but the city-folk have been heading east towards the beach since the first taste of warm weather.  For this writer, this meant a nice long weekend in Ocean City, MD in the beginning of June.  It was a great opportunity to visit one of the top courses in the country, the Links at Lighthouse Sound.

The conditions of this course always exceed expectations, and highlights of some of the premier holes and unique characteristics of the design will follow.  LighthouseBut part of the incredible experience that Lighthouse provides its players is the excitement elicited even before reaching the clubhouse.  Driving from Ocean City, you travel along Route 90 over the Asawoman Bay Bridge.  With a watchful eye, you are provided a view of some of the holes from the Front 9 of Lighthouse, immediately triggering memories of off-shore breezes and sounds from the bay affecting the trajectory of your golf shots.  Your smile only widens as you make the turn onto St. Martins Neck road and approach the course.

The staff and facilities are everything expected of a 5-star golf course.  My early tee time made us the first group out in the morning, and even though the sun had not yet fully risen, we were greeted at the bag drop by a full staff of attendants.  The Lighthouse Pro Shop has just about everything and anything a golfer may (or may not) need for their round (NOTE – during the late-spring/early-summer season, they sell bug spray for a reason, so make sure to take notice).  The Head Golf Pro was there to check us in, welcome us to the course and provide some updates & advice on how the course was playing.  The genuine and passionate nature of the conversation only reinforces that you are in for an incredible golf experience, and you feel like you are walking on air as you head towards the driving range.

With the exception of not having tees at the range (mainly my mistake since I didn’t have any in my pocket), the driving range is in perfect condition.  Lush, grass tee boxes and a wide-open layout enable you to work on every shot with every club.  One of the best features is that the range is less than a Lob Wedge away from the Starter, meaning that you are left alone to practice until they are ready to send you to Hole #1.  When your time is finally called, your cart is sitting there waiting for you and the Starter makes sure educate you even more about the course.  With a final order of “good luck and have fun,” you’re on your way to some of the best 18 holes of golf you’ll ever play.

The first 8 holes are positioned on the Bayside and have a Links-style design.  Wind is always a factor because you’re so close to the shore; even though you may not feel it on your face, the ball will be affected.  Just about every single hole presents a challenge, whether it be hazards off the tee, sloped greens or bunkers scattered all over the place.  I mean, I think I spent more time in the sand during the round than the previous day at the Beach!

Hole #5, Par 3
Hole #5, Par 3

Hole #5 is a Par 3 that will be burned into your memory.  From the Tees we played (definitely not the Tips!) it seems like an average 168-yard, 6-iron for me.  Of course, this hole is positioned on the Bay; the water doesn’t come into play, but the swirling winds certainly do.  I tested the “breeze” and decided to aim towards the left edge of the green with my 6-iron.  Miraculously, the shot went exactly where I wanted it to . . . that is, until the wind took hold.  The ball ended up moving about 40 yards from left to right and fell 15 yards short of the green.  I stood there in awe, and all the rest of the guys in my group could say was, “thanks for going first.”

The 6th is fun because the Bay is in play along the entire right side of the hole.  It’s not the most challenging Par 4 on the course, and it seems like the Arthur Hills decided to give everyone a slight break before having to face the long, dogleg-right, Par 5 at #7.

Hole #7, Par 5
Hole #7, Par 5

This hole provides just about every single challenge a course can offer — not only do you have to clear a 150+ yard hazard off the tee, but wind is still a major factor that could pull your ball out-of-bounds to the right.  You are in good shape on the fairway, that is, until you try to rip your 2nd shot and it lands in the ravine positioned about 100 yards from the green.  Bunkers are scattered 360 degrees around the elevated green, and just like with the other 17 holes at Lighthouse, a 2-Putt is a win.  What a hole!

From Front 8 to Back 10, you feel like you’re playing an entirely different course.  Part of that is because you travel over the longest golf-cart bridge in the world (well, at least it feels like that), but Lighthouse #’s 9-18 are less open, Links-style and more tight, tree-lined.  Basically it’s the same impeccable conditions with a completely different set of challenges.

The 10th is memorable because it’s a short Par 4 that just begs for you to go for the green off the Tee.  Now I don’t know who was whispering in my ear that I would be able to drive the ball 270+ yards, but something told me that it would be the right way to start off the Back 9.  Fortunately, my aggressive swing resulted in a mild slice, and my ball landed in the rough about 50 yards from the green.  Had it gone straight, there’s no doubt that I would have been facing a steep climb out of a trap.

Hole #18, Par 5
Hole #18, Par 5

There are lots of individual shots that make you realize how fortunate you are to be playing such a wonderful course, like the creative approach required on the Par 5, #12, the long shot from the fairway on the Par 4, #14 to get to the green in regulation, and the blind tee shot on the Par 4, #17.  To end it, Lighthouse concedes a short Par 5 at the 18th, and a strong tee shot rewards you with an opportunity to go for the green in two.  With the clubhouse visible to your right and the Bay & Ocean City in the background, you take aim at the elevated green, but golfer-be-ware, landing short presents a tough pitch up the slope and there’s not too much room on the back side.

It was an awesome round of 18, clocked in at less than 4 hours, and there was cold beer waiting for me in the clubhouse.  All-in-all, the Links at Lighthouse Sound is one of the most enjoyable courses that I have ever played.  Make sure to check it out the next time you head down to the ocean; it will not disappoint.

What A Monday!!

The USGA had to be very pleased with the way the final round played out on Monday. With Tiger Woods virtually out of the US Open after the first round and with the bad weather, and the wet course conditions, the tournaments final round had a lot of drama and excitement that made golf fans forget about the beginning of the US Open.

The final round of the US Open began on Sunday afternoon and was finished on Monday afternoon with Lucas Glover posting a -4, winning by 2 strokes over Phil Mickelson and David Duval. The crowd favorite, Phil Mickelson, made a push to win the tournament when he eagle’d the 13th hole and took a share of the lead. Glover hit a perfect 8 iron on the 16th to set up his only birdie of the day, giving him a 2 shot cushion. He par’d the 17th and 18th giving him his first major championship and only his 2nd tournament win. His best finish in major championships prior to this one, was a tie for 20th.

ESPN, NBC, and made it possible for everyone who had to work on Monday to watch the conclusion of the tournament. The live video quality was almost as good as if you were watching in your living room on a television. I’m sure every golf fan in america was sitting in their office with their emails up on one side of the computer and The US Open up on the other side. I found myself so into the action, that I had to remind myself that I was at work and actually had things to do before the end of the day. Then I thought, The US Open only happens once a year and I better enjoy the great finish.

I tip my hat to the grounds crew at Bethpage for making the course as good as possible after a tremendous amount of rain from Thursday on.

Congratulations Lucas Glover on being the 109th US Open champion. Along with winning the US Open, Glover moved up t0 number 18 in the world rankings and earned $1.36 million dollars.