World’s biggest playoff?



I’ve been reading Gary Van Sickle’s golf columns for Sports Illustrated for many years now, but only recently have I begun to follow the career of his son, Mike, who plays for Marquette, and who has quietly emerged over the past couple of years as one of the best amateurs in the country. Gary caddied for Mike these past two days during stroke play at the 108th U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst, although as this article correctly speculates, Mike fell a tad short of the 64-player cutline. Still, it’s a great story, and I certainly expect Mike to take First Team All-American honors in his final collegiate season.

Speaking of the cut, it looks like there are 26 players tied at +5 that need to be whittled down to two spots to complete the 64-man match play tree. Sounds fun. I’ll be rooting for Peter Croonquist out of Minneapolis to somehow emerge.

Some random thoughts after a quick scan of the leaderboard:

  • (32) Phillip Francis versus (33) Kevin Tway tomorrow will be a gem. Both of these guys will be on the PGA Tour within three to four years.
  • (4) Corey Nagy is sneaky good and plays for an unheralded Charlotte program. A definite contender.
  • Peter Uihlein (16) is the son of Acushnet CEO, Wally Uihlein.
  • Rickie Fowler (52) is the most talented player remaining. That’s easy to say because he was also the most talented when the week began.
  • Erik Flores (5) is playing nicely and is peaking just in time for the start of the season for the defending National Champion UCLA Bruins.
  • Sam Saunders (53) is Arnie Palmer’s grandson. Would be a nice story for NBC The Golf Channel to jump on this weekend, but I don’t see him advancing that far.
  • Jamie Lovemark (44) is right behind Fowler on the talent meter, and has good thoughts from his play at the North & South at Pinehurst in July.
  • Kyle Stanley (7) is another PGA pro-in-waiting.
  • Billy Horschel (18 ) looks like Steve-O from Jackass.
  • Danny Lee (23) is coming off a 20th place finish at the Wyndham last week (that’s the PGA Tour), and I expect him to hit a wall either Thursday or Friday.
  • Dan Woltman (3) attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and thus practices daily on one of the nicest university courses in the world.
  • Brian Harman (14) is no relation to Butch, but used to take lessons from him.
  • Robbie Fillmore (1) is your medalist. Nice to know ya.

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