ING Par 3 Challenge, Day 1: Andy North can play

mulligan, 27 June 2005, Comments Off on ING Par 3 Challenge, Day 1: Andy North can play
Categories: Uncategorized

After the first day of the ING Par 3 Challenge, 2-time U.S. Open Champion Andy North is currently in the lead. As I mentioned before, the ESPN coverage was very interesting. A few things caught my attention: First, the ESPN crew had an urge to give standard definitions to words, such as “steal” and “validate”, and then define the words in terms of the Challenge. It almost reminded me of the final rounds of the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee, which is covered on ESPN. Second, ESPN and Bushnell are using technology which determines the so-called “Effective Yardage.” Basically, the effective yardage is what the hole actually plays. For instance, the 3rd hole is 205 yards but since it is so downhill, it only plays 155 effective yards. Thus, players were hitting 8 irons on the hole instead of 4s or 5s. Anyways, it was a pretty neat technology. Finally, I love watching golf tape delayed, as long as there are no “leaks” in who wins. Today, for example, there was an hour long rain delay, between holes 6 and 7, and I did not have to watch bad re-runs of last year’s tournament.

Since I described the rules earlier, I’ll just get into Day 1.

On the first hole, North started off hitting it 5 feet 5 inches to the first hole, winning $10k for being closest to the hole. After everyone else missed, North converted the birdie and had to validate on the 2nd hole. After the first hole, North – $10,000; Fred Couples, Gary McCord, and Phil Mickelson – $0

On the second hole, North kept up his good play hitting it 5′ 6″ and winning another $10k for closest to the hole. After no one else made birdie, North made birdied and validated his first hole “skin” for $20k. After the second hole, North – $40k; Couples, McCord, and Mickelson -$0.

On the third hole, North had the opportunity to validate his 2nd hole for $20k. However, Couples won closest to the pin, hitting it 8’1″. Couples made birdie, while North was only able to make a par. Thus, Couples stole North’s $20k and had an opportunity to validate for $40k on the 4th hole. After the third hole, North – $40k; Couples – $10k; McCord and Mickelson – $0.

On the fourth hole, Couples hit his ball right of the green, yet got a nice ground hook leaving himself a 12 footer for birdie. Couples, however, was unable to convert his birdie putt. Mickelson hit is 5’3″ to win closest to the pin and $10k. Both McCord and Phil made birdies, invalidating Couples’ chance for $40k. After the fourth hole, North – $40k; Couples and Mickelson – $10k; McCord – $0.

On the fifth hole, which was worth $80k, Couples wins $10k for closest to the pin and Mickelson and McCord birdie again. Carrying the $80k over to the sixth hole. After the fifth hole, North – $40k; Couples – $20k; Mickelson – $10k; McCord – $0.

On the sixth hole, worth $100k, North hit an amazing “ground fade” off of a mound left of the green to 3’8″ to win his third closest to the pin of the day. North makes a birdie and has the opportunity to validate on the seventh hole for $100k. Unfortunately for North, there was a rain delay before he was able to attempt to validate on the 7th. After the sixth hole, North – $50k; Couples – $20k; Mickelson – $10k; McCord – $0.

On the seventh hole, which is famous for Lee Trevino’s hole-in-one in the 2001 Par 3 Challenge, North hit a very poor 8 iron into the fescue and after his second shot was left with a 20 footer across the green to validate his 6th hole win. McCord started to ride North a little bit about having a lot of pressure on him and one of the ESPN commentators mentioned the fact that North probably had not had many putts for $100k in his lifetime. Anyways, North misses and the hole was tied with pars. Couples won the $10k for closest to the pin beating out Mickelson by nearly 6 inches. After the 7th hole, North – $50k; Couples – $30k; Mickelson – $10k; McCord – $0.

On the eighth hole, worth $120k, North wins closest to the pin with a shot 11′ 10″. The hole was tied with pars, making the 9th hole worth $140k. After the eighth hole, North – $60k; Couples – $30k; Mickelson – $10k; McCord – $0.

On the ninth hole, Mickelson wins closest to the pin for $10k and the hole was tied with par.

Thus, the standings after the first day:
North – $60k
Couples – $30k
Mickelson – $20k
McCord – $0.
10th hole is worth $180k

Overall, it was a fairly calm day. I honestly expected more chatter out of McCord, but he did not play all that well, so I do not think that he had much to talk about. North surprised me with his game, considering that he commentates now instead of playing full-time. Phil seems to still be struggling with his game. And Freddy, I believe, is about ready to make his move and win the whole shibang tomorrow.


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