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PLAY THROUGH: Phil Boy comes through

The talk of the golf world this week has been the final two days of the British Open and the spectacular finish that gave American Phil Michelson his first win in that tournament and deprived the British once again of having a local winner in their most cherished tourney.


It was a very popular win for the most part, and it helped erase the bad memories of yet another bad U.S. Open for Phil. The U.S. Open is the only tournament Mickelson needs for a career grand slam in the majors, but it is one he comes so close to winning but cannot finish.

From the start, it was obvious the dry weather had made the course play much shorter, but tougher than in previous years. With fairways that were being rolled like greens and rough that looked a Kansas wheat field, fans that watched on television viewed a scene like most had never seen.

From the early morning hours until the late afternoon, viewers had the chance to view the tournament from tee off until the final putt on 18. With so much coverage, the announcers had to fill in a lot during the broadcast that had nothing to do with the golf, but it was necessary to keep the pace going.

ABC and ESPN did a good job, and except for the one outburst from Tiger that their microphones picked up, a very nice one to hear and watch. Congratulations Phil, and may you get that elusive win at the U.S. Open you want so much.


This ‘n’ that

Jimmy Clay of South Boston and Austin Harper of Danville successfully defended their two-ball championship at Danville Golf Club over the weekend with a one-shot win over Andrew Tilley and Scott Blankenship.

Going into the second day two shots down, Clay and Harper went four shots down after No. 4 and had to put on a birdie barrage that brought them to even-par after 17. On No. 18, all four golfers hit the ball within 10 feet of the cup and Clay made his birdie to clinch the win. 

Kinderton Country Club in Clarksville will be hosting its annual Member-Guest tournament this weekend, and with the weather smoothing out and cooling down, the course should be ready to play.

Halifax Country Club will be hosting its annual Memorial Tournament this Sunday, and will honor a former president of the club, Joe Chandler. It will be an 18-hole, shotgun start on Sunday, and will conclude with ceremonies after play is completed.

Green’s Folly Golf Course has started its stroke play competition for the 16 players signed up, and with the seedings complete, No. 1 David Graham defeated Michael Ferrell 2-1 and third-seeded Peter Gasperini defeated Doctor Kim 5-4.

In other play, Luke Bohm won his match to move on, and Kelly Puryear beat the mouth, David Day, to move on. 

Also, sixth-seeded Chris Dockrill defeated Bryan Allen 2-1, and in a laugher, Brandon Harris beat Charles Payne 7-6. 

Signups are under way for the Green’s Folly Club Championship Tournament to be held August 10-11. With that tournament, Green’s Folly Golf Course starts its qualifying for the County Cup to be played in September.

Halifax Country Club will host its Club Championship Tournament a week later on August 17-18, and it will also have County Cup spots coming out of it.

The Halifax County High School golf team officially starts practice August 5 and Coach David Graham and his assistant, Nelson Baskervill, are clearly excited about their prospects for another banner year. I will have some info from Coach Graham as the time draws nearer.


Hole number three

This is the third in a series on 18 great golf holes you should play if the chance arises. Rarely, because of pace-of-play concerns, will a golf course have a par 3 among its first two holes.

This does not mean No. 3 must be a par 3, of course, but if it is, it almost certainly will be the first par three of the round.

The third can be viewed as a “bridge” hole from both the players’ and designers’ perspectives. 

No. 3 serves as a bridge from the start of the round to the meat of the challenge. If the third is indeed a par three, often it is designed to take advantage of a chance to bridge two solid pieces of ground over a rougher area.

COURSE: Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club

 LOCATION: Southern Pines, N.C.

 HOLE: No. 3

 LENGTH: 134 yards

 PAR: 3

 DESIGNER: Donald Ross

Legendary architect Donald Ross always said a good golf hole should be fair, yielding a relatively equal number of birdies and bogeys. He no doubt would be proud of Pine Needles’ third hole, which in the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open, yielded 52 birdies and 53 bogeys.

This hole is the very picture of tranquility, and looks virtually the same as when Pine Needles first opened in 1928. Beware, it can be tougher than it appears.

The short, slightly downhill shot seems deceptively easy from the tee box, and because it requires only an 8-iron to a wedge for most players, it tempts many to go straight at the flag. The problem is the green is as narrow as it is deep, has plenty of subtle undulations and is surrounded by a number of hazards, including five bunkers and a small pond that guards the front.

Because the green is so deep, club selection can vary by as many as two clubs depending upon where the pin is located.

Be especially careful when the pin is on the front potion of the green. If not, you will wind up in the water or with a difficult, downhill putt. The best strategy is to aim directly for the center of the green - no matter where the pin is located.

Yes, No. 3 can yield its share of birdies, but it can bite you as easily with bogeys or worse - just the way Donald Ross liked it.

With August comes another test for the courses with the heat and rain we usually get this time of year.

Please repair all divots in the fairways, on the greens and please, keep the carts away from the greens.

Have a great week, play well and last but not least, Happy Birthday to Virginia Cumbey. You deserve a plaque as well as the new car.