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August 11 2013

9:58 PM

Observations: Stenson's prediction?

Henrik Stenson walked past the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday and said, "I'll see you next year."
(Carr/Getty Images)

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Jason Dufner stood on the fifth tee in the final round and had to remember his tee shot from Saturday. Just 24 hours earlier, he hit his drive into the hazard. You would think caution would have been appropriate but Dufner never hesitated. He pulled out his driver and spanked the ball down the fairway. Following a wedge into the green, Dufner had birdie. 

Keep in mind this was the fifth hole. A 437-yard par 4 that played as the single hardest hole on the course with a Sunday stroke average of 4.387. There were just 10 birdies on that hole and a dozen golfers made double or worse during the final round.

That hole symbolized the week for Dufner. He did not hesitate to pull driver. While others hit 3-woods off the tee, Dufner waggled his driver and pulled the trigger hitting 34 of 56 fairways. 

Some golfers cowered at Oak Hill while Dufner attacked.

Observations

Bold prediction?: Henrik Stenson did not have his best stuff on Sunday but he was still making a charge. He had just birdied the 12th hole and was 9 under facing a 20-yard eagle pitch at the 14th. There was just one problem; his drive appeared to settle in a sand filled divot. It was a terrible break. Stenson could not get enough club on the ball, and hit his second shot into the bunker and from there made bogey. His charge was done, all the momentum gone from the round. Stenson shot even par to finish third. 

As he exited the 18th green, Stenson walked past the Wanamaker Trophy and wagged his finger saying, “I’ll see you next year.”

Putting: Jonas Blixt was admittedly, “a little nervous,” at the start of the final round. He missed makeable par putts on the first two holes to immediately go a pair over par. Blixt misses fairways but one-putts. That’s the way he plays and has won a pair of PGA TOUR titles with that game. The putter awakened on the 10th hole. He would one-putt the next five greens. Blixt went birdie-par-par-birdie-birdie in that stretch, eventually shooting 70 and finishing fourth in his first PGA Championship. Blixt hit just 25 of 56 fairways on the week but had only 109 putts.

Fickle: It was just a week ago we were congratulating Tiger Woods on shooting 61 and winning the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. It was just three weeks ago we were congratulating Phil Mickelson on his Open Championship. Great things were predicted for both this week but never materialized. Woods rallied to shoot even par in the final round and finish 40th. Mickelson never got any momentum and finished T72.  If you know why a golf game can fluctuate so dramatically from week to week, make sure to drop both players a note. They, and every other PGA TOUR player, would welcome an explanation. Tiger made nine birdies the entire week. Mickelson never did get a feel for the greens, taking a whopping 65 putts on the weekend.

Oak Hill: Golfers are leaving Rochester, N.Y., with nothing but admiration for the city and the golf course. Despite rain in half the tournament rounds, the course held up beautifully. Players praised for the PGA of America for the course setup and the city of Rochester for its support. Rochester has always been known as a golf conscious community and this week only enhanced that reputation.
 
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.  For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here

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