Matt Thurmond Blog: Entry No. 2
Sept. 1, 2006
Husky Men's Golf Coach Matt Thurmond will be caddying this weekend for the 2005 NCAA Champion James Lepp at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston. Coach Thurmond will be writing a daily blog that can be exclusively found on GoHuskies.com.
Friday, Aug. 1
In the final group of the day, we teed off No. 1 with Tjaart Van der Walt of Durban, South Africa and P.H. Horgan III who is pretty much a local. P.H. Horgan III is a journeyman professional who has been on and off the PGA and Nationwide Tours over the past couple decades. Father Time and injuries put him on the back end of his PGA Tour playing days.
He got into this tournament in a Monday-Qualifier and has a small but enthusiastic following in the crowd. He is probably the only player in the field without a huge golf bag/billboard which I'm sure his caddy appreciates.
When I saw him warming up before the round I thought maybe one of the amateurs from yesterday's pro-am had sneaked past security to take a few shots. Don't let the bag fool you though, P.H. has some game. The years of professional golf have given P.H. a hardened Bruce Springsteen look and his voice fits the profile. When he plays, however, his mannerisms and enthusiasm make him look like a kid playing in his first tournament ever. I loved watching him. He was nice to James and battled to a four-over 75 which was, of course, a few tiny breaks from a 70.
James rolled in a 20-footer on No. 1 for birdie and followed with another long putt for birdie on No. 4. Two-under through four.
Hole No. 5 is tough and a stiff breeze in the face made it much tougher. A slightly missed tee shot got up in the wind and sailed into the hazard on the right. He tried for several minutes to devise some scheme to get a club on the ball to chip in out of the hazard, but two large branches made success improbable. Because his ball crossed the hazard line just off the tee James had to go way back to hit his third shot. After a nice lay up into the fairway he hooked the next shot into the hazard left of the green and proceeded to make a triple-bogey seven.
Bogies on the next two holes made the 15-foot par putt on No. 8 extremely crucial. He used the momentum from that gutsy putt and hit three perfect shots for a birdie on No. 9, made an amazing par save on No. 10 and holed a 30-footer for birdie on the difficult No. 11. He was now back to just one-over.
After a par on Hole No, 12 he hit a second shot on No. 13 that was so far right that it was past the rough into the light stuff. You would think Tiger's gallery was around or something because his lie was so good. From about 40-yards right of the green he chipped to four feet and saved another par. He finally missed a few putts for par on No. 14 and No. 16 and was back to three-over.
Any time Tiger is at a tournament there is a special buzz, but when he finished his tournament-leading round of 66 and the sun started to set itself, the back nine felt like a pro-am the day after a final round. It was eerily quiet and the bleachers were empty. However, on No. 16, a handful of faithful fans were there with double-fisted beers to cheer like they were friends at the finish line for a first-time marathoner coming in hours after the rest.
On a tee shot one yelled in a very thick New England accent, 'Can't you guys hit it any hawda?' Another, after James smacked a drive on Hole No. 17, yelled, 'Let's go little man!' James obliged with a birdie on No. 17 and just missed another on No. 18. It was dark when we finished and James's rollercoaster round of two-over 73 has him just outside the proposed cut line. A good round tomorrow will have him right where he needs to be. Should be fun.