Tommy Gainey’s steady game started losing traction the last 2 hours of play on Sunday. Of course – the brutal pace-of-play did nothing to help matters. The commentators noted that 5 groups were backed up on one of the tee boxes shortly after the start of the final round, and I have to ask: How in the world did things deteriorate to that point? Was it a reshuffling of pairings issue? Had to be… But FIVE GROUPS? That’s just down right inexcusable, regardless of whatever reason. But enough about that.
So T2G is now trailing by two strokes with only 6 holes to go. Mark Wilson, who specializes in hitting the ball straight, utilizing precision wedge play and putting akin to a player by the name of Jim Furyk – leads this event by 2 shots. But here’s where it gets interesting…. there’s 2 par5′s left on the table for Monday. There’s also the short, reachable par4 17th that can swing the tournament 180 degrees. This thing is far from being over. Far from it. And while Gainey might very well have lost the momentum and his opportunity during the final 11 holes played on Sunday, it could also be argued that he now has the opportunity to go into the final 6 holes tomorrow with nothing to lose and really turn on the pressure.
But he’s not the only player that Wilson has chasing him.
Chris Couch is only 3 shots back with 5 holes to go. He has the par5 15th to make up some ground, as well as the drivable par4 17th. Martin Laird is also 3 shots back, but with only 2 holes remaining. Again – I suspect he’ll be thinking eagle first thing in the morning as he steps on the tee box of the par4 17th, and he’ll most likely need to birdie the 18th as well. Unlikely, but not out of the question. Bill Haas was very much a part of the final picture, before falling on his sword on the par3 13th with a double bogey right before play was suspended. Although he has the par5 15th and the par4 17th to work with, the reality is that he needs some help from Wilson. The only other guy who will be in the thick of things Monday morning is Jason Dufner, who finds himself 2 shots back with 4 holes to play. His first chance to knot things up begins right out of the gates, as he’ll be hoping to cut into the lead with the par5 15th.
So without ruling out any number of unforeseen circumstances – we’ve got a steady player who has already won this season looking to close things out with his two stroke lead over the final 6 holes, hoping to become the year’s first multiple winner. Then we have 3 guys with an outside chance…. Most notably Tommy Two Gloves, who is 2 shots off the pace and playing along side him. Jason Dufner has an outside shot, also 2 shots back with 4 holes to play. But he needs a worse-case birdie on his opening hole tomorrow to improve his odds. And Chris Couch is the last likely competitor who could pull this out, although he’s three shots back and will need to make serious hay over his final 4 holes.
I mean, we could throw a few guys in there just for the sake of conversation…. Geoff Ogilvy, who’s 4 shots back with 4 to play. Or Rickie Fowler, who’s 6 back with 5 to play. Gary Woodland and Y.E. Yang, both who are 4 back with 3 holes to play…. but unless Wilson just steps on his wee-wee big time tomorrow morning, you can pretty much remove these guys from the picture.
Mark Wilson has a great chance to win this thing going away tomorrow, but he still has to hit the shots (and I think) he needs to pick up at least one birdie coming in to get it done.
The coverage is scheduled to resume at 11:00 a.m. Monday morning on The Golf Channel. Should be interesting to see which of these scenarios play out….