Leaderboard offers fascinating mixture of contenders at midway mark-Sports activities Information , Alenz
Mickelson, 50, winner of 5 Majors, however none since 2013, is a co-leader at 5-under, and Matsuyama, who attained a ‘God-like’ standing in his house nation, Japan, received the Masters solely final month.
Phil Mickelson turned professional the yr Hideki Matsuyama was born – in 1992. Halfway via 2021 PGA Championship, they’re simply two pictures aside. ‘Lefty’ Mickelson, 50, winner of 5 Majors, however none since 2013, is a co-leader at 5-under, and Matsuyama, who attained a ‘God-like’ standing in his house nation, Japan, received the Masters solely final month. Matsuyama is 3-under and two behind.
Sharing the lead with Mickelson is Louis Oosthuizen, a fully pleasant character, who a decade in 2010 received his solely Main, the Open at St Andrews, no much less, and marked the seven-shot win by a shopping for a tractor. That is proper, a tractor and never a Ferrari as golfers are wont to. “I’m a farm boy,” he had stated then, after the win.
Since then he has come near many a Main – he has completed runner up in all 4 Majors as soon as every. He was second at Masters in 2012; second on the US Open and the Open in 2015 (he positive loves the Outdated Course) and on the PGA in 2017.
Oh sure, among the many elite who’ve completed second at every of the Majors at the least as soon as, can be Mickelson, who has 5 wins and 11 seconds in Majors. He has been second at Masters as soon as; twice on the PGA; six occasions on the US Open (the one Main he has not received); and twice on the Open.
Add at the least another title to the equation – Brooks Koepka, who loves the ‘biggies’. Of his eight PGA Tour wins, 4 have been Majors and one WGC. That’s some report.
Relating to a Main, Koepka wouldn’t thoughts struggling whereas enjoying on one leg – keep in mind Tiger Woods in 2008 US Open – and this week he’s enjoying solely his third occasion because the second place in Waste Administration Phoenix Open. And sure, his final two occasions within the final three months have been missed cuts on the Masters and Byron Nelson. But, right here he is only one behind Mickelson and Oosthuizen.
At a match like this one, one nice spherical like 67, that Ooosthuizen nearly had until his 18th gap bogey may make this week a profitable one.
Of the 4 I discussed, two have a number of Majors – Mickelson has 5 and Koepka 4 – whereas Ooosthuizen received his sole main a decade in the past, however has constantly knocked on the door, whereas Matsuyama, after displaying promising for lengthy, lastly prised open the door final month at Augusta Nationwide and was elevated nationwide stardom and worldwide acclaim.
By no means thoughts the truth that Mickelson first performed a professional occasion in 1992 – will probably be 30 years subsequent yr – he actually has all the time been able to pulling off extraordinary issues. He can activate the swap on the most surprising time after which keep it up the momentum with some unbelievable golf pictures. His magic has nothing to do with age. If there’s a man who can win a Main on the PGA Tour and the PGA Champions Tour (Seniors) in the identical yr, he’s the one. No, not even Miguel Angel Jimenez or Bernhard Langer, who’ve set ablaze the Seniors Tour.
As for Oosthuizen, he’s all the time lurking round. Virtually unnoticed, after which immediately he’s within the combine. Powerful programs and windy situations are his forte. Make no mistake, that is the person, who can be able to pulling off some wonderful pictures just like the albatross on the Masters in 2012, an ace on the 2016 Masters and one other ace on the 2016 Open on the Troon. He additionally had a hole-in-one on the WGC-HSBC in 2019. So, the larger the occasion, the extra seemingly is he to make a ‘stunner’.
Koepka makes no bones that it’s ‘all about Majors’. Positive he likes to win, however it’s the Majors that provides him the true rush. Little marvel then finally yr’s PGA Championships, Woods had stated, “I simply assume that large occasions, you see the identical guys, and we see Brooksy up there once more. Guys who perceive how one can play robust golf programs and hard venues are usually up there, whether or not there’s crowds or no crowds.”
Hailing from a golf-crazy nation, Japan, Matsuyama, was all the time marked out for greatness. Proper from his novice days, when he performed the Eisenhower Cup for Japan, after which twice received the Asia-Pacific Amateurs to get a spot into the Masters in 2011 and once more in 2012. In 2015 as a professional he was fifth. And final month, after coming shut to some Majors, he lastly had one – his favorite, the Augusta Masters.
Now that he is aware of what it takes to win a Main, don’t be shocked if he provides to the gathering. Who is aware of, this could be the week, but once more.
If you wish to add a darkish horse to these 4, my selection could be Korean star Sungjae Im, who’s all of 23. He was second on the Masters final yr however has sufficient expertise to be an element this week or for that matter any week.
A lot as I like watching Collin Morikawa, the defending champion, and Viktor Hovland, one among my present favs, this will not be their week. However keep watch over them.
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