Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Match Play round 1

It was Dustin Johnson v. Peter Hansen, as expected.  Hansen won, 4 and 3.  It started out great, each player making two birdies in the first 4 holes.  On the 5th, 536 yards par 4 - yes, par 4,  Dustin drove it 418 down the middle and had about 108 to the front pin.  It's a little bit downhill, and the slight breeze was helping, but if you've never seen a 418-yard drive in person, it should be on your bucket list.  Hansen hit first from the fairway (his drive traveled only about 320) and put it to about 10 feet, drained the birdie putt and won the hole.

Dustin didn't make another birdie all day.  He hit it in the desert on 7, under a cactus but next to the home of a small desert resident.  The free drop didn't help much, and he had to punch out and made double bogey.

On 9 he hit it into the third row of the grandstand behind the green and made a very pretty up and down for par, but lost the hole when Hansen made a short birdie putt.  Hansen shot 32 on the front 9 and was 3 up, but Johnson hadn't played all that badly.  He shot even par, but had missed a couple of putts in the 6-12 foot range that could have had him only one down.

Johnson won the 11th with a par (366-yard drive) when Hansen hit his drive into an unplayable lie in the desert, and halved 12 with a sandie from a buried lie in the front bunker.  On 13 he made bogey, missing the green left, chipping long and rolling off the opposite side, then bogeyed 14 from the front bunker.  With Hansen dormie on 15 and laying up, Dustin hit driver into the left greenside bunker, hit a pretty good-looking shot onto the green that again rolled off the far side, and Hansen's 2-putt par halved the hole and won the match.

Johnson may have set an obscure PGA Tour record today.  I couldn't find anything on the web, so it's probably not something shotlink keeps track of.  On the 2nd hole, a par 5, his drive was in the fairway but Dustin headed down the left side and into the desert.  He stopped near a large saguaro, took his stance, and remained still for a while with his back to the fairway and hands near his belt buckle before returning to the match.  Since there are special "players only" blue boxes scattered around the course, inside the ropes, it must be unusual for a player not to be able to wait long enough, never mind that at most tournaments there would not be sufficient privacy anywhere else but inside the blue box.  But, anything can happen, so I figure he tied the record that time, and broke it on the 9th hole.

I may have been on TV on the 12th tee.  During Hansen's tee shot, he was directly between me and the cameraman.

Not sure about my group tomorrow.  The told me 12:01 (estimated), but the tee times are 11:56 (Snedeker v. Simpson) and 12:08 (Rose v. Els).

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