April 29 2012
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. – The 16th green is just 100 yards away from the 17th green, separated by water, and it provided great drama in the final round.
Ernie Els and Jason Dufner were tied for the lead and both had lengthy par putts. First, Dufner rolled in a 44-footer for par on 16. While the cheers were still rolling across the water, Els answered with a 14-footer of his own at 17. It was one of the better moments of the year on the PGA TOUR and set the stage for a great finish.
Tough track: PGA TOUR officials had TPC Louisiana set up for a difficult finish in the final round. Nine holes were cut just four paces from the edge of the green, and three of the four par 3s on the course were in excess of 200 yards including the 14th hole, which measured a stern 223 yards.
Back nine: Steve Stricker never got any momentum going in the final round, and he can blame the back nine at TPC Louisiana. For the week, he played the final nine at even par and did not muster a single birdie in his final nine holes on Sunday.
Tight lies: Chipping was a challenge the entire week for players because of tight lies and grainy Bermuda. The grass was clipped very short and if the Bermuda was growing into the ball it made for a very difficult chip. Players had to clip the ball perfectly and several shots were “fatted” through the course of the week.
Oh, Canada: Graham DeLaet had a good day of ballstriking and a bad day of putting on Sunday. The Canadian hit his approaches inside of 13 feet on nine different holes but made just one of his putts. Putting is most affected by nerves, and DeLaet appeared shaky on his first couple holes, leading to lost confidence.
Putting: Jason Dufner came into TPC Louisiana ranked 108th in Strokes Gained-Putting. This week, he was sixth in SGP and ranked second in total putts, taking 105 over 72 holes. Dufner made a 51-foot birdie at the fourth hole on Saturday and saved par with a 44-footer on the 16th hole Sunday. Welcome to the winner’s circle, Jason.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and on site this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.