Leaderboard gives fascinating mixture of contenders at midway mark-Sports activities Information , Comfortable Easterday
Mickelson, 50, winner of 5 Majors, however none since 2013, is a co-leader at 5-under, and Matsuyama, who attained a ‘God-like’ standing in his dwelling nation, Japan, received the Masters solely final month.
Phil Mickelson turned professional the 12 months Hideki Matsuyama was born – in 1992. Halfway by way of 2021 PGA Championship, they’re simply two photographs aside. ‘Lefty’ Mickelson, 50, winner of 5 Majors, however none since 2013, is a co-leader at 5-under, and Matsuyama, who attained a ‘God-like’ standing in his dwelling nation, Japan, received the Masters solely final month. Matsuyama is 3-under and two behind.
Sharing the lead with Mickelson is Louis Oosthuizen, a fully pleasant character, who a decade in 2010 received his solely Main, the Open at St Andrews, no much less, and marked the seven-shot win by a shopping for a tractor. That is proper, a tractor and never a Ferrari as golfers are wont to. “I’m a farm boy,” he had stated then, after the win.
Since then he has come near many a Main – he has completed runner up in all 4 Majors as soon as every. He was second at Masters in 2012; second on the US Open and the Open in 2015 (he positive loves the Outdated Course) and on the PGA in 2017.
Oh sure, among the many elite who’ve completed second at every of the Majors at the very least as soon as, can also be Mickelson, who has 5 wins and 11 seconds in Majors. He has been second at Masters as soon as; twice on the PGA; six occasions on the US Open (the one Main he has not received); and twice on the Open.
Add at the very least yet another title to the equation – Brooks Koepka, who loves the ‘biggies’. Of his eight PGA Tour wins, 4 have been Majors and one WGC. That’s some report.
On the subject of a Main, Koepka wouldn’t thoughts struggling whereas taking part in on one leg – keep in mind Tiger Woods in 2008 US Open – and this week he’s taking part in solely his third occasion for the reason that second place in Waste Administration Phoenix Open. And sure, his final two occasions within the final three months have been missed cuts on the Masters and Byron Nelson. But, right here he is only one behind Mickelson and Oosthuizen.
At a match like this one, one nice spherical like 67, that Ooosthuizen virtually had until his 18th gap bogey may make this week a profitable one.
Of the 4 I discussed, two have a number of Majors – Mickelson has 5 and Koepka one – whereas Ooosthuizen received his sole main a decade in the past, however has constantly knocked on the door, whereas Matsuyama, after displaying promising for lengthy, lastly prised open the door final month at Augusta Nationwide and was elevated nationwide stardom and worldwide acclaim.
By no means thoughts the truth that Mickelson first performed a professional occasion in 1992 – it is going to be 30 years subsequent 12 months – he actually has at all times been able to pulling off extraordinary issues. He can activate the swap on the most surprising time after which stick with it the momentum with some unbelievable golf photographs. His magic has nothing to do with age. If there’s a man who can win a Main on the PGA Tour and the PGA Champions Tour (Seniors) in the identical 12 months, he’s the one. No, not even Miguel Angel Jimenez or Bernhard Langer, who’ve set ablaze the Seniors Tour.
As for Oosthuizen, he’s at all times lurking round. Nearly unnoticed, after which instantly he’s within the combine. Powerful programs and windy circumstances are his forte. Make no mistake, that is the person, who can also be able to pulling off some superb photographs just like the albatross on the Masters in 2012, an ace on the 2016 Masters and one other ace on the 2016 Open on the Troon. He additionally had a hole-in-one on the WGC-HSBC in 2019. So, the larger the occasion, the extra possible is he to make a ‘stunner’.
Koepka makes no bones that it’s ‘all about Majors’. Positive he likes to win, however it’s the Majors that offers him the true rush. Little marvel then ultimately 12 months’s PGA Championships, Woods had stated, “I simply assume that huge occasions, you see the identical guys, and we see Brooksy up there once more. Guys who perceive the way to play powerful golf programs and hard venues are typically up there, whether or not there’s crowds or no crowds.”
Hailing from a golf-crazy nation, Japan, Matsuyama, was at all times marked out for greatness. Proper from his novice days, when he performed the Eisenhower Cup for Japan, after which twice received the Asia-Pacific Amateurs to get a spot into the Masters in 2011 and once more in 2012. In 2015 as a professional he was fifth. And final month, after coming shut to some Majors, he lastly had one – his favorite, the Augusta Masters.
Now that he is aware of what it takes to win a Main, don’t be stunned if he provides to the gathering. Who is aware of, this is perhaps the week, but once more.
If you wish to add a darkish horse to these 4, my selection can be Korean star Sungjae Im, who’s all of 23. He was second on the Masters final 12 months however has sufficient expertise to be an element this week or for that matter any week.
A lot as I really like watching Collin Morikawa, the defending champion, and Viktor Hovland, one in all my present favs, this might not be their week. However regulate them.
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