Bridgestone Invitational round three: Has Sabbatini learnt his lesson?
A pity the threatening weather means everyone is now going off in threes. The media have done their level best to squeeze every drop of juice out of a dramatic final pairing of Tiger Woods and Rory Sabbatini. Now Kenny Perry gets in their way.
Even so, the two main protagonists have refused to rise to the bait hung out by hungry hacks. Sabbatini even went out of his way to describe Tiger as good company on the course, which strikes me as odd since I always thought the great man disappeared down a tunnel of concentration when he had clubs in his hands.
The South African did drop one hint that this was more than an average final lineup, though, by saying he was treating it as a virtual matchplay.
That’s a bit of a gamble. If the course continues to toughen up, making below par rounds next to impossible, he’s got a case. But the threatened storms might just dampen the course and with it Rory’s strategy.
One thing strikes me as certain. If Tiger can get back on top of his putter the way he has mastered his irons, Sabbatini won’t know what’s hit him. Tiger tops the field for greens hit, but he’s leaving too many putts a smidgin short. Still, it’s interesting that, while he can’t win a major from behind on the Sunday, he’s already done it twice in this competition.
Sabbatini might like to think his bad round is behind him and his all-round game is about the best you can find. Shame about his double bogey at the start Saturday, but as Tiger says on this course you can make them in a heartbeat. Just look at Zach Johnson’s quadruple bogey, double bogey just before the turn Saturday to see how Firestone is beating up the best.
But what’s not to say Tiger and Rory cancel each other out in their epic struggle and leave the door open: to Perry if he can tighten up on his drives and putting, or Andres Romero if he throws caution to the wind again and has a bit of luck (he made four birdies Saturday), Aaron Baddeley whose all-round game is only bettered by Sabbatini, Hunter Mahan although he is definitely starting to feel his hectic run, or maybe Stuart Appleby, although the stats suggest he’s there despite himself.
That’s enough hedging: I think the call is a much finer one than the odds-on verdict the market gives to Tiger. My money’s on Sabbatini learning just enough from their last head-to-head.
Meanwhile over at Reno: Steve Flesch is putting everyone else to the sword with the PGA Tour’s biggest three-round lead this year. His five-stroke cushion looks well-nigh impregnable. He hit every fairway Saturday and leads for finding greens as well. I’m a bit surprised that Jose Coceres didn’t put in a better showing given his ability to handle the wind. Wrong type of wind obviously.
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Jeffrey, I totally agree, as you will see from my next posting. And I think you are right - I think I'll add to it that people should write in and complain.
Thanks for the Link to their feedback Anthony.
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