Bob Hope Chrysler Classic round five: Leonard's loss leaves many burnt fingers
Justin Leonard put a brave face on things, but that defeat is going to hurt for a while. Strikes me he got a bit cocky over Sunday’s opening holes, with his four-shot lead still intact after D J Trahan’s bogey on the seventh. Some of his shots were positively swashbuckling. Then “puff", in the space of three holes the lead was gone.
But I doubt Leonard is feeling any worse than the punters who spent more than £150,000 on the Betfair market alone chasing his price all the way down to 1.09, while gleefully slagging off the layers that took them on. No parrot could ever be sicker.
I doubt many people thought Trahan would be the man to do it, certainly not the radio commentators who had also declared Leonard home and hosed. Like Charley Hoffman a year before, Trahan demonstrated the power of the putter in this marathon competition - his 35 birdies topped the tournament. That’s pretty special for someone who came into the week in the bottom half of the putting stats.
Anthony Kim’s third place is an interesting pointer to a youngster whose talent has seemed a hostage to his temperament. He admits he needed wise words from his caddie to curb his enthusiasm for risky shots, but at least he’s listening. As a result his stats have the look of someone developing a very healthy all-round game. But the really impressive performance came from rookie Chez Reavie, the only person to match Trahan’s 7-under on Sunday. He’s obviously no bomber, but top 20 in every other department augurs well.
The big disappointment was Kenny Perry, who says he “froze” on the final day and couldn’t stop from going left. He certainly went west in his search for fairways and greens, which doomed his challenge despite an interesting flurry of birdies down the home stretch. Still, a striking performance over the first four days suggests his quest to get in the Ryder Cup team could yield some interesting results in the months ahead.
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