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WUTiger

2013 Senior PGA Championship thread

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I'm volunteering at this week's Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive. I'm one of the hole marshals on No. 14.

After Thursday's opening round, St. Louis area native Jay Haas shares the lead with Duffy Waldorf at 5-under. For history buffs, Haas grew up in nearby Belleville, IL, and is the nephew of former Master's champ Bob Goalby.

Thursday dawned overcast and breezy, with bursts of sunshine. About 3 PM rain started falling, but no lightning, so no play stop. The rough is bad enough when dry, but really gets heavy in rain. Temperature never made it to 70*, and then got colder as the rain came.

Haas had no bogeys, and birdied No. 3 - a tough, watery 209-yd. Par 3, and the 449-yd. No. 15, rated as the toughest Par 4 on the course.

More later. Time to head for the course.

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Hole No. 14 at Bellerive C.C. plays as a 381-yd. Par 4. A slight dogleg left, it has fairway bunkers about 240 and 280 yards out on the right, a hazard to the right of the bunkers, and a hazard gully that starts about 240 yards on the left. There's a grassy meadow across the fairway from the bunkers, before the hazard starts. Players landing there are in bounds, but must punch out sideways to get back into play. The left edge of the green sloped off into the hazard.

This PDF contains the hole marshal sketch, if you're interested.

The M points indicate where a marshal stands. We rotated about once an hour.  Assuming players hit the ball straight, the biggest challenge is the spectator crosswalk in front of the tee, and the players' land and the crosswalk to the right of the green.

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Saturday had a rain delay. As the rain approached, the temperature dropped to about 60*.  The safety horn sounded about 1:15 PM CDT, suspending play, and half of the No. 14 hole people went into a stone gazebo near the tee box. Most of the lightning was about two miles north of us. Fortunately the rain came straight down and there wasn't much wind. I almost wore shorts Friday morning, but went outside and felt a chilly wind, so I went with long slacks and a lightweight PGA jacket.

About 2:30 the rain stopped, and the pros got about 20 minutes to hit some shots before going back out to their holes. We went down the hill to a snack bar and got some food, and started back up when the all-clear horn sounded.

Slow play may be a problem sometime on the PGA Tour, the Champion's players came through at a good clip. We had a twosome arrive at the tee box about once every 10 minutes. The players wanted to finish up Round 3 quickly in case the rain returned.

Fairways and greens drained off rather quickly around the course, but the water running off to the sides made the rough rather heavy.

Kenny Perry ended up in the lead at 10 under, with local guy Jay Haas in second at 8 under.

KitchenAid sponsored the tournament, and had displays and demonstrations on blenders, mixers, stoves and grills, and other things to help you make food. Each day, four chefs gave tips on different aspects of cooking. Great place to leave the wife if you want to go out solo and bounce around to see different groups play.

Mercedes-Benz also had a display tent, and showed off a new performance car that has gull wing doors that open upward, and all sorts of wonderful features. The stock model sells for about $200K, with additional options available.

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Didn't come close to getting the running blog I had hoped for as PGA week began.

A couple of observations on the win by Kohki Idoki. On several of the longer holes Sunday, Idoki would hit a low draw into the front of the green and run the ball back to the hole. This may have given him an advantage in the gusting winds, as Haas and Perry had shots fly the green, or tail off sideways at the end. Just a thought.

Another thing: Idoki putted much better on the back nine than the other two. Probably key hole for final pair was No. 13, a par 3. Perry, who was leading by three, flew the green from the tee. He then pitched past the cup to the light rough, chipped on and missed a short putt for a double bogey. Haas had hit his tee shot to within 6 feet, and missed a birdie putt. Had Haas sank the putt, Haas would have tied Perry in a three-shot swing. Instead, he was one down.

The next time Perry and Haas saw a leader board, Idoki has sprung ahead.

Interesting scene: After Idoki putted out on the 18th green, several Japanese golf fans surrounded him and congratulated him. A retired Japanese pro sprayed him with beer. Idoki stood there with a Bud Light in his hand, but didn't crack it open and drink it until he heard that Haas and Perry were behind by three after No. 17.

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I think it was Jumbo Ozaki that sprayed him with the beer. Or at least one of the Ozaki brothers. You are right that he did seem to come from nowhere. Just bam there he was in the lead. Thanks for the notes.
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