Rose Wins, Tiger MC's
By Torleif Sorenson on 6/30/14
Congressional Country Club played so tough this weekend that it resembled one of the major championships. Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, actually hit into the water at the 18th and somehow saved bogey with a 15-footer. Shawn Stefani had a see-saw trip through the first nine, then was motoring along with seven pars and a nice birdie at 16. Then he bogeyed 17, and couldn't get a winning birdie to fall at 18.
So with Rose and Stefani at just -4, they went to a playoff. Stefani hooked his tee-shot into deep rough left, then sent his second into the water. Rose calmly sank a four-footer, and that was the game.
"An amazing feeling in any sort of championship, when you make a putt like that that means something like that on the 18th hole, that's special. And then the playoff, it was just up to me to not do what I did the first time around."Indeed, golf at the highest levels is as much recovery as it is avoiding mistakes, but Congressional was awfully tough sledding even for the best of them: As a whole, the field averaged almost 74. Rose was one of only six players to break par on Sunday. A gaggle of really excellent players could not shoot better then par on Sunday, including Jordan Spieth, Brendon Todd, Brandt Snedeker, Stewart Cink, Billy Hurley, and Brendan Steele.
Webb Simpson shot 72. Two-time major-winner Angel Cabrera shot 73. Hunter Mahan shot 74. Freddie Jacobson, Ben Curtis, and Nick Watney shot 75.
Tiger Woods went 74-75 and missed the cut, but of course he is coming off invasive back surgery and had not competed since March.
Even "top-five player in the world" Patrick Reed shot 77, including double-bogeys at 2, 10, and 11. (Quick! Somebody get him some Bactine™!)
To be fair, Shawn Stefani is an awfully good player to be able to get into a playoff at Congressional. Being the 126th-ranked player in the world might pale in comparison to a major-championship winner, but during the 2014 PGA Tour season, Stefani has had a solo 5th-place finish at Houston and a T-11 at the Byron Nelson in Dallas.
Remember also that really good players have trouble even getting on the minor-league Web.com Tour. Stefani had two wins on that circuit in 2012.
And we still have not forgotten Stefani's historic shot last year at Merion:
Shawn, yours is no disgrace.
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