Here we are sitting around watching the WGC CA Championship reruns due to the rain delay at the Zurich Classic at the TPC Louisiana and while looking at the leader board I noticed something that might not be exceptionally unusual but surprising nonetheless: There are a lot of Aussies that are in serious contention this weekend.
To be exact, there are three in the top five and another two in the top ten. That makes five Australians in the top ten for you math majors out there and with Peter Lonard being the only in a current tie for a lead at eight-under, the other four are either at seven-under or six-under.
Steve Elkington has decided to put off pummeling Bubba Watson for now and is one stroke back of the lead. I don't know if any of you caught the feud that these two had on the course on Friday but it doesn't surprise me that Watson was involved. Has anyone else noticed how big of a hothead this guy can be sometimes? I mean Elkington takes a few steps while Watson is over his ball and he looses it. How stupid are you Bubba (with the name "Bubba" I think thats more of a rhetorical question)? Tiger Woods actually got some negative press this week for his on course behavior and Watson goes and does this with microphones crawling all over the course hoping to catch the next expletive laden rant. Watson apparently didn't get that memo. While Watson seems like a bar room brawler, I would have to give the edge to Elkington if anything were to happen here because while Elkington and Watson are pretty evenly matched size-wise, Elkington has that old man strength. Even after the round on Friday, Watson said that he viewed Elkington as a father-figure to him out on the course, and honestly, have any of us ever won a fight against our fathers? I didn't think so.
Of this Aussie group in contention I have to give the nod to John Senden as the one with the best chance to win. I do like Elkington a lot but he has not shown the ability to be an effective closer on Sunday. His only under par rounds on Sunday came in mid January at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (69) and in early February at the FBR (67). His previous two Sunday rounds were 77 and 74 respectively . Peter Lonard has the talent to win but has been far too inconsistent this year only making 5 out of 9 cuts and the last two Sunday rounds he actually got to stick around and play were 72 and 75. Needless to say I don't think Lonard will be around the top of the leader board come Sunday afternoon.
Why John Senden? I will tell you why. This guy is a model of consistency that no one really pays any attention to on tour. He is 7 for 8 on cuts this year (a respectable 21 of 27 in 2007) with his only missed cut coming at the Bob Hope and his Sunday rounds this year are 69, 72, 69, 72, 67, 69. All par or better. If any round has been his weak round this year it has been his third. However, this week at the Zurich, he fired a 66 before the course became soft by the rain. If he got to play after the delay he might have shot 60 for Saturday's round. He's finding the green from just about everywhere this week, his putting has been solid so far and when your irons and putter are working well for you, you're in great position to contend for the win. Senden has his short game going right now and while he might not necessarily be able to compete with top level talent every weekend, that won't be a problem with the two highest ranked players this weekend, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, both missing the cut.