When he messed up his shot from the left side bunker of the first hole and then 3-putted for a double bogie, we all said, “Forget the masters!” But with a dollar at stake for KP on the next hole, his 7-iron shot sailed about 20 feet above the red pin. Good for KP, we thought. Seizing the opportunity, HORANGI struck a smooth putt that dropped the ball into the hole for a birdie. It would have been a 4 point skins but he opted out of the skins game.
Still there was no need to get excited. Then he made par on the next few holes. On the par 5 5th hole, he took out his fairway wood and split the fairway. He had a wedge for his 3rd shot at the pin which was tucked in front. The approach was less than a 10-footer – which he birdied. Suddenly, what looked like an impossibility turned into what could conceivable be a good round. His two birdies erased his blunder on the 1st hole for an even par 36 going out. We really were not concerned with his game because we had our own skins game going.
He was not really sharp but he scrambled like Mickelson. His drive on the 10th tee was long but in deep rough 5 yards off the fairway. He had to muscle a 7-iron just to get to the fairway. His lob shot fell softly within 6 feet. I thought I was watching Stenson as he dropped it in for par. At the first par 5 of the back 9, his errant drive found the left side bunker. Still he smashed his fairway wood about 145 yards to the green. His approach was long and he chilli-dipped his next for a rare miscue – which caused him a bogie. But as luck would have it, he rebounded with a birdie on the next hole. His only other bogie of the day was on the 167 yard par 3, when he found the bunker on his tee shot!
All of a sudden, when he started dropping putts for saved par, we started to cheer him on but he deposited his last drive in the bunker right. It left him with an approach of about 147 yards after he conceded playing a safe shot. His normal composure was visibly challenged as he skulled his 3rd which kept going as if the ball had a motor. It found the green about 35 feet below the pin. I told him that “That was one of the longest putts I have ever witnessed”. With his nerves frayed, he left his putt short by 5 feet. His putt for par spun around nearly 360 degrees and ended up bottom of the hole for par.
He could not contain his composure as he was jumping up and down as he left the green. “It is the best round of my life,” he exclaimed, “a 73”.
Here is our score card:
I think we have to submit this to Arthur Andersen for an audit. Combined with his 70.2 net at Kings Links last week, his 73 on Thursday could give him a net 62.1 for a total of 132.3, 1 point lower than JOHN’s 132.4.
If this were to be proven true and correct by the auditors, this could represent an incredible upset worse than Greg Norman’s collapse on the last day of the Masters when he blew his lead to the ultimate Masters Champion Nick Faldo in 1996!
NEXT WEEK WE PLAY PEACE PORTAL AT 8:18