Team Texas: Mahan & Leonard winning over Louisville fans at Ryder Cup
LOUISVILLE, KY – Louisville may as well be in Texas right now. Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard are stealing what was supposed to be Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes’ show and the crowds are going nuts at the Ryder Cup.
After a rough start this morning, Leonard and Mahan dominated Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey, closing out U.S.A.’s first match of the morning 3 & 2. They’ve carried that momentum to the afternoon versus Team Spain match and the galleries are going wild for them. Leonard is especially loose, yelping “Oops!” to the crowd as he sorted through them to find his wayward drive on No. 1.
Kentucky hasn’t been so fortunate so far. Perry had a chance to close the match on No. 16 and couldn’t do it. Then he and Furyk fumbled the match away on 18 for a very disappointing halve.
This afternoon, Mahan dropped a birdie putt on No. 2 that send the crowd into a frenzy and foiled Jimenez’s much closer birdie putt. Then Leonard stuck his tee shot on the par-3 3rd to gimmie distance to putt Sergio Garcia behind the 8-ball early.
Then I hung back to watch the crowd favorites: Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes. Other than some initial “Boo!!” chants, the crowd has little to cheer about for their home boy Holmes. Lee Westwood and Soren Hansen are putting the pressure on early though making some birdies and taking a 2-up lead after five.
This week it was supposed to be the Kentucky boys getting it done in front of the home crowd. But it’s Leonard, who won his first Ryder Cup match this morning along with Mahan, who I especially gave a hard time to after he was picked by Azinger, leading the way for the U.S. Right now they’re the only match up heading into the back nine. Mahan can find a gear few golfers can when he gets on that birdie train.
After a Pepsi and two G2’s it’s on to the back nine to see if Phil Mickelson is really becoming the “calming influence” on Kim that my radio says is going on. This, I have to see to believe.
Stay tuned for back nine coverage as players finish up their matches right here.
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