Monday, July 14

Feel-Good Weekend Concludes With Bad Senior Moment

"Mighty Mo" Martin
THEY CALL HER "MIGHTY MO." American Mo Martin was the 99th ranked women's golfer who had never won on the LPGA Tour. Nor had she ever led an LPGA event. But that dramatically changed on a windy Sunday afternoon at Royal Birkdale in northwest England.

On the 72nd hole, Martin smashed a 3 wood that rode the wind to the 18th green. The ball bounded onto the putting surface and struck the flagstick, stopping six feet from the hole. In the dream, you make the eagle putt, and that's exactly what Mighty Mo did.

Martin finished 1 under for the tournament and was the clubhouse leader, a new role for the 31-year-old. She would have to wait 75 minutes as heralded players such as Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen and Shanshan Feng played the closing holes. With birdie opportunities at 17 and 18, both par-5 holes, surely one of them would catch the smallish leader living her biggest golf moment. One by one, they all fell away, their chances disappearing in the windswept dunes.

"Is this real life?" Martin asked when told she had won. A short while later after being sprayed with champagne, she added, "This is just unbelievable. It's literally a dream come true."

Mighty Mo, major winner.

TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, proved to be a field of dreams for Brian Harman. The 54-hole leader of the John Deere Classic held off veteran Zach Johnson to capture his first PGA Tour victory and earn a spot in this week's British Open at Hoylake.

Johnson shot a Sunday-best 64, but Harman's 66 and 22-under total nipped the Iowan by a stroke.

"It was very hard, probably one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do in my life," Harman said. "Just trying not to let your mind run wild is the hardest part out there."

Gene Sauers
Gene Sauers, the man who quit the game and nearly died from a rare disease that blackened his skin, was set to make it a threesome of feel-good stories, his arguably being the most inspirational. Nothing against the Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie, but you wanted Sauers to persevere and clutch the U.S. Senior Open trophy in the end.

Well, I did.

Sauers, the 54-hole leader at Oak Tree National, gamely hung on to the final hole, needing to sink a 5-foot par putt to clinch the most important victory of his life. It rimmed out, and there wasn't enough left in his tank to outlast Monty in the three-hole playoff.

"I'm glad to be here and I'm coming back," Sauers said. "I feel good about my game, and there's always next week."

Anyone might say that afterward, but it definitely sounded better and more sincere from a player who got his life back and was grateful to return to tournament golf.

2 comments:

DaveAndrews said...

The unknown underdog coming out of nowhere to win the big one is always one of the best stories in sports. I've followed Mo's career ever since she started playing on the Symetra (Futures) Tour 10 years ago. One of her 3 wins on that tour came here in Concord, N H. back in '08. Have to admit I had a tear in my eye while watching on TV on Sunday. She is a genuinely nice person, and it is always great to see the nice ones finish first. Congrats, Mo!

The Armchair Golfer said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Dave. No doubt an especially gratifying win considering your connection to Mo.