Paul Casey is our day 3 leader at the 2017 Tour Championship, and if the tournament finished at that point, he would be the winner of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. But he needs to have Thomas, Spieth, and Johnson to all have mediocre days to take the Cup. Jordan and Johnson are most likely out of contention, but never rule them out, for the tournament. East lake is a tough course, and anything can happen. Casey did have a stretch of bogey’s yesterday that helped keep Kisner and Shaufelle in the running. Most everyone on the Top of the Leaderboard needs Spieth to stay where he is or worse to take the Cup.
East Lake is an interesting course. From the street, and unlike Augusta National you can actually see it from the street, it looks like your typical GA golf course. Lots of pines, lots of lakes, rolling hills, etc. As I stepped onto the course I could immediately see a few differences from your local course, the grass is immaculate, the greens looked fake, and the driving range has a lake you hit over. What really sets this course apart is the layout. To start with, I spent a lot of time on the 235 Yard Par 3 9th tee box. I watched as player after player landed in the greenside bunkers short. It’s an intimidating hole. I then watched from the 16 green as player after player took the ball long on the blind approach. Spieth reached the green in utter amazement.
I got to East Lake 2 hours early and picked up my media credentials. I headed over to the practice areas and watched Jordan Spieth, a few hours before his round, hitting putts from all over the practice green. I watched him again a few minutes before his round hitting more putts. Matt Kuchar, the player that people unfamiliar with golf think gets booed every shot, spent some time on the range hitting wedges. I stood in a crowd of several spectators who were amazed, as was I, at Kuchar’s consistency with his wedges. He hit 6 shots in a row with maybe a 6 foot spread. The players spent an awful lot of time putting and several hours preparing for moving day. This is one of the things that separates most below average golfers with average golfers. The amount of time spent practicing “putting for dough” and other short game shots vs other shots is overwhelming.
At my first ever PGA Tournament, I was overly excited to follow two of my favorite golfers around the course. Apparently, so was everyone else. Spieth and Johnson are easily two of the bigger names in golf at East Lake and they had huge crowds following them initially, while the leaders had significantly less. This ratio evened out as the day progressed.
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