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The GrunkleGuru

Grunkle is a slang term for the thick rough on a golf course that I have been using for many years. Given my penchant for inaccurate tee balls, I have become a bit of a guru out of the thick stuff, hence the name. This is a site for my random thoughts about sports (espeically golf) and life in general. While nothing special, it will hopefully offer a break from the daily drudgery for both you and me.

May 09, 2005

Upsets Galore

This weekend was just riddled with upsets in the golf world. In fact, while it is not getting much press, I would go so far as to say that no one would have predicted what happened:

Having qualified for the Rex Hospital Open (a Nationwide Tour event in Raleigh, NC) through a Monday qualifier, Eric Axley went on to win the title and a tour exemption for the remainder of this year plus 2006. I don’t think most people realize just how difficult this feat was. Monday qualifiers are typically 100 plus golfer vying for 2 – 4 slots that are available for that week’s event. So after making it through the qualifier, Axley had to suck it up and play a 72-hole stroke play event, including a 36-hole final day due to weather delays.

On the LPGA tour, it is hard to believe that someone not winning their sixth event in a row is considered an upset, but in the case of Annika that is how I would define it. She is far superior to the rest of the players on tour, and when she is in contention she usually finishes off the deal. However, this weekend proved different as she played the first 3 holes of her final round in 3 over, basically eliminating any chance of setting a new record on the LPGA tour. Still, congratulations must go out to Christie Kerr for her victory at the Michelob Ultra Classic in Kingsmill, VA.

Finally, the PGA Tour saw another exciting finish. This marked the third consecutive event decided by a playoff, and the 12th straight that was not decided until the 72nd hole or later. I guess we could steal a line from football and say, “On any given Sunday, anybody can win”.

Regardless, it looked like Sergio was going to put an end to this dramatic nonsense this week at the Wachovia Championship. After all, he had a 6 shot lead heading into the final round, and we are talking about the 9th best golfer in the world. He has won before and knows how to hold onto a lead. Well, not this week.

His swing was bad all day on Sunday (it looked like he was getting too steep on the downswing to me), and he was struggling to hold on and win this prestigious event. However, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk were rolling the rock to the tune of 6-under 66s, and managed to make it a 3-way playoff. Special props have to go out to Furyk for birdying 18 to get into the playoff. That was a tough putt he had, and he absolutely center-cut it.

Sergio was out after the first playoff hole, tying him for the biggest final round collapse in tour history. It took three more holes for Vijay to finish off Furyk to earn his third title of the year.

Lots of excitement on the golf front this weekend, and it showed just how fickle the golf gods can be.

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