Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Surprise winners: Entering the Nelson, Sang-Moon Bae had just one top-10 in 30 starts since his playoff loss last spring in Tampa. So, naturally, the 26-year-old South Korean out-dueled one of the world’s most explosive players on a windswept day and captured his maiden PGA Tour title. Only Michael Thompson and Derek Ernst were left unimpressed.
Red numbers: This last week alone saw ’59 Watches’ on every major circuit. Sweat stains, sundresses and scary-low scores – it’s the annual rite of summer in pro golf.
Peter Uihlein: The 2010 U.S. Amateur champion (and son of Acushnet Co., boss Wally Uihlein) took an unconventional route after joining the play-for-pay ranks in late 2011, heading to such faraway locales as Kenya and Kazakhstan instead of grinding on the mini-tours in the U.S. Did the 23-year-old expect his first pro win to come in Portugal? Of course not. But the well-traveled Uihlein showed young pros everywhere there is more than one way to prepare for the Big Show.
Cal men: The Golden Bears set a NCAA single-season record last weekend with their 11th win of the season. Each starter, 1 through 5, has earned medalist honors at least once this season, and in sophomore Michael Kim (four wins, no finish outside the top 11) Cal also boasts the country’s best player. Monday night’s Ben Hogan Award ceremony should cement that.
Keegan Bradley: OK, we’re not really selling. He’s still one of the top four prospects in the sport, an immensely talented player despite his bizarre pre-shot routine. But during the final round of the Nelson, and with Tuesday’s anchoring decision looming, Keegs squandered one final chance to defiantly hoist his belly putter in victory. That sound you heard? The blue coats exhaling.
Guan Tianlang: The Memorial Tournament justified the kid’s exemption by saying, essentially, that if the Asia-Pacific Amateur winner earns a berth in the Masters, then he should receive a spot in Jack’s event, too. But frankly, this story now bores me. The curiosity is gone. It’s impressive, of course, but we know what we are getting with the 14-year-old – few birdies, a chance to make the cut – and it’s time to give more deserving players an opportunity.
Anchoring: A final decision will be handed down Tuesday, after an oft-contentious comment period that lasted much longer than 90 days, but this announcement carries about as much suspense as Tiger with a six-shot lead. Your move, Commish.
Going low: Buying and selling this week. Every golf observer has heard this axiom: “It’s hard to back up a low round with another good one.” Apparently so. Keegan Bradley opened with 60 in Dallas and didn’t win. Anna Nordqvist carded a third-round 61 in Mobile and still couldn’t chase down Jennifer Johnson. And Chesson Hadley began his final round on the Web.com Tour with an 8-under 27, but stalled for a disappointing 63 and T-3 finish. Weird.