Sunday, August 18, 2019

BMW Championship -- Day Four Wrap-Up

Well, it was  a long and disappointing day for John Augenstein (of Owensboro Catholic and Vandy) in the finals of the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst.  After 28 holes of the 36 hole match, Augenstein was 2-up with only eight holes to play.  Then the roof fell in.  His opponent, Andy Ogletree of Georgia Tech, won the 29th hole thanks to a bogey by Augenstein.  Then Ogletree birdied the 31st hole to tie the match.  Then Augenstein bogeyed the 32d hole to go 1 down.  And when Augenstein double-bogeyed the par-3 35th hole, he was 2 down with only 1 hole left, and the match was over.  So Ogletree is your new U.S. Amateur Champion, and Augenstein will be left to ponder what might have been.

Another Kentuckian, however, had a much better day.  Justin Thomas (of Louisville St. X and Vandy) picked up his first win of the year, and the 10th win of his career, by cruising to a three-shot win at the BMW Championship in Medinah.  Thomas had a huge lead going into today's round, since he shot an 11-under par 61 yesterday.  But given that Medinah was basically playing like the typical pitch and putt, you knew that other guys would have low scores today.  Sure enough, Hideki Matsuyama shot a 63.  Patrick Cantlay shot a 65.  If Thomas had been shaky, his lead could have gotten away.  Instead he shot a solid 68, and won by three shots.

From my perspective, the experiment of treating the BMW Championship like a major tournament was a failure.  It had a great field, and Medinah is a great old course that has hosted numerous majors in the past.  Thomas is a major-quality winner.  But the barrage of birdies and eagles that we saw over the last few days made it feel like you were watching something more like the John Deere Classic than the PGA Championship.  (When Brooks Koepka won the PGA at Bethpage Black earlier this year, his winning score was 8-under par.)

Next year we have the Olympics and the GOP Convention in August, so maybe there will be enough sports to get through that month.  But I don't think the BMW Championship is the answer.

Oh, and neither Tiger Woods nor Jordan Spieth qualified for next week's Tour Championship.  And the PGA has come up with some sort of gimmick that is supposed to create more drama, but which will make me want to turn to the channel.  No matter what they try, I am never going to believe that winning the Playoffs is a bigger deal than winning a major.  I wish they would accept that, but I fear that they won't.

1.  J. Thomas-25 (65+69+61+68=263)

2.  P. Cantlay-22 (66+67+68+65=266)

3.  H. Matsuyama (JPN):  -20 (69+63+73+63=268)

4.  T. Finau-18 (67+66+68+69=270)

T5.  J. Rahm (ESP):  -16 (68+69+66+69=272)
T5.  B. Snedeker-16 (66+71+67+68=272)

T7.  C. Conners (CAN):  -15 (69+66+69+69=273)
T7.  L. Glover-15 (66+69+69+69=273)

T9.  A. Scott (AUS):  -14 (67+71+69+67=274)
T9.  K. Kisner-14 (68+68+69+69=274)

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