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Hitting the Links: March 24 – March 30, 2014

Once again, here’s Doug Maccaferri:

With the Masters almost upon us, let’s take a look back at last week’s action:

PGA Breakdown

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For the second week in a row, a first-time winner was left standing after a dramatic Sunday at the Valero Texas Open. Steven Bowditch, 339th in the world rankings, was able to hold on with a closing round of 76 that saw both Andrew Loupe and Matt Kuchar drop shots on the front nine and fail to make them up on the back. Even then, Loupe had a difficult bunker shot on 18 for eagle that could’ve left him in a tie. It ran by the flag, however, and on a windy day where most of the leaderboard shot over par, Bowditch was finally able to claim his first PGA tour victory. He has gone through some well-documented bouts of depression, and still does, but after working his way up through the Web.com Tour, the talented Australian finally has a PGA trophy to call his own. Oh yeah, and an invitation to the Masters. Not a bad weekend down in Texas.

LPGA Breakdown:

 Anna Nordqvist

After winning in Thailand last month, Anna Nordqvist found herself at the top of the leaderboard once again, this time at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California. Coming into the final round two strokes behind leaders Christie Kerr and Lizette Salas, she was able to close with a 5-under 67, enough to give her a one-stroke victory. (Although Laura Diaz didn’t win, she was able to leave with an unforgettable memory after recording an ace two days in a row, and following up her second with a hole-out eagle. And here I am getting excited about up-and-downs for par).

Open the Doors:

 Recently there has been some talk about a number of Open hosting venues that are still male-members only (such as Muirfield) putting their membership policies up for review. With Augusta National only recently opening its doors to female members, it’s no surprise that others would follow suite. But I’m not applauding their efforts. As the saying goes, “too little, too late.” I will never understand how people who participate in a sport that is centered (for us amateurs) around spending quality time with others could justify fully ignoring and discriminating against half of the entire population. Shouldn’t golf clubs such as these be focused on growing the game, gaining new members, and creating an open and welcoming environment? It’s simply the right thing to do, from both a golf and human perspective. To those clubs still maintaining male-only policies, grow up. In case you hadn’t noticed, girls can play this game too.

Don’t Feel too Bad About Your Putting:

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Last week I looked at how efficient PGA players were at putting from certain distances, and in particular, how incredibly accurate they from inside 10 feet. They aren’t perfect, however, and sometimes the pressure of a situation can creep up on them. So, in honor of the instances when a putt has magically found its way off of the green or that GIR turns into a bogey, here’s Brandt Snedeker with a 4-putt at the BMW Championship.

Upcoming…

The PGA Tour heads to the  Shell Houston Open as players look to tune up for the Masters, while the LPGA will play the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, CA. Meanwhile, I head to Naples, Florida on Wednesday for a long weekend of golf without having to wear 5 layers of clothes.

As always, Bunker’s Paradise has all your news, updates, and reviews!

Written by BP Staff

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