Nineteen year old Jordan Spieth made a splash at the AT&T Natonal
The 2013 AT&T National could have been known as the self-sponsored event that Tiger Woods couldn’t play in due to a prolonged elbow injury.
Or it could have been the one where a 19-year-old golf prodigy came close to whipping a highly competitive field with his precocious play.
Or, the event where British Open contenders fell by the wayside.
At the very least, the AT&T proved to be a tough outing for all, at one point having four players locked into a tie for first going into the last day. The 7,569 yard reconditioned Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD is the second-longest course on the tour and it fought off contenders mightily.
Add a rain-delay to the mix, and the tournament turned on the tenacity of a tough Bill Haas who won for the fourth time in four years by scoring six birdies on Sunday.
Take a look at the winners and losers coming out of the AT&T, many of whom can’t wait to get to the next venue.
K.J. Choi used to be one of those steady players you could count on for a solid round of golf, perhaps a Top 10 finisher or even a dark horse in a major.
But, Choi’s game has slipped as he has aged, and the 43-year-old South Korean may just be biding his time as gets ready for the Senior Tour.
This year he has managed only two Top 10 finishes and missed the cut at the AT&T with two rounds over par.
D.H. Lee had the lowest scores of 66 and 64 in rounds two and four and if not for an errant 75 in round three, he might have scored his first tour win.
Lee tore up the field on Sunday by logging nine birdies, turning Congressional into a virtual pitch-and-putt course.
His eight-under total score was good for a tie for third place, the best ever finish for the 26-year-old South Korean.
He certainly didn’t seem to have winning on his mind at the AT&T.
This year’s results speak to his success and pedigree. He is ranked inside top 15 in fairways and greens hit and seventh in strokes gained-putting. He is also fourth in adjusted scoring.
Last year he finished in third place at Congressional so he came into this year’s event with a chance to make a statement.
Unfortunately, that statement was fairly benign as struggled through three of his four rounds, placing well back in the pack.
After two holes on Saturday, Jordan Spieth had a two shot lead and the 19-year-old looked like he was in control. Yet, by day’s end he had missed five putts within 8 feet of the cup and a final score of 74.
But, Spieth, if you remember had been in this position before when he played late on Sunday in the HP Byron Nelson Championship at age 16, ultimately tying for 16th place.
This time, he attacked the course on Sunday like a seasoned pro, shooting a 69 and finishing in a tie for third.
Spieth, who began the year with no status, has earned over $900,000 and is assured of a Tour card when the new season starts in October.
He certainly earned the respect of his peers at the AT&T.
Jason Day came so close to a win at the U.S. Open that one might think he was on a roll.
Perhaps, he just gets up for the biggest of events, the majors where he lately seems to be one of the favorites to win.
In the meantime, there are events like the AT&T where just couldn’t seem to break into the Top 20, despite a valiant effort on Sunday when he shot a
Day is having a very good year on the tour and there is little question he will be a contender at Muirfield in July.
It would have been nice if he had played to form at Congressional.
The former British Open winner had his best finish since 2010 when he tied for fifth at the Accenture Match Play.
Not that he had disappeared, but in the last three years it is a surprise to see him in the running.
The 36-yar-old Cink shot par or better, including a round of 67 on the final day and closed in fast on his more youthful competitors.
Perhaps this is a good sign for Cink going into Scotland next month in search of a second Open Championship win.
With eight professional wins and four Top 10 finishes at majors, we have come to expect more from Hunter Mahan than a missed cut at the AT&T.
Tiger, Phil and Rory nor a bunch of other top ranked players participated this weekend which should have given guys like Mahan a chance at the win.
It is getting hard to predict which Mahan will show up; the one who gave Phil and Justin a run for their money at the U.S. Open or the one who cannot put together two good rounds in a row at a conventional tour event.
Roberto Castro played as well as you can play without winning.
His tournament included three days in the 60s pushing him into sole possession of second place at nine-under.
This would have been the first win the for 28-year-old Texan whose statistical rankings are pretty much off the charts and which will assuredly change for the better after the AT&T.
So will his confidence.
He was right there at the top of the leaderboard and ready to increase his already commanding lead then it was gone.
Andres Romero squandered a three-shot lead in two holes by hitting his tee shot into a creek allowing a shaky Bill Haas to take over.
Even though he was tied for the lead at seven-under on the final day, he could not regain his momentum and fell back into a tie for thirteenth with a four-over 75.
After a bit of a slump that included two straight cuts, Snedeker seems to be ramping up his game leading into the British Open.
Following a solid showing at the U.S. Open, where he finished in a tie for 17 place, Snedeker performed steadily this weekend and ended in a tie for eighth.
He shot two rounds of par and two rounds of 69 in a typical steady-as-she-goes Snedeker performance.
He now has eight Top 10 finishes in the last 15 events keeping him a tie with Bill Haas for most on the tour.