PGA Championship 2011: Is an American Guaranteed To Win Wanamaker?
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Americans occupy the top five spots on the leaderboard entering Sunday at the PGA Championship. The last time an American won a major was the 2010 Masters, where Phil Mickelson put on the green jacket. In the six majors since then, three winners have been from Northern Ireland, two winners are from South Africa and finally one was from Germany.
It would seem that the drought for Americans is about to end. It might, but it is anything but a sure thing. Tied for the lead are Brendan Steele and Jason Dufner at seven-under par. Steele is a rookie with only one victory under his belt. Dufner is a 34-year-old journeyman player who has never won on the PGA Tour. They are no sure bets to hold up under the pressure of a lead on Sunday.
Keegan Bradley is another rookie who is a one-time winner on the PGA Tour. He also showed signs of crumbling under pressure last week at the Bridgestone WGC. He is anything but solid heading into Sunday.
How long can we expect 47-year-old Scott Verplank to continue playing this well? After all, only one player has ever won a major championship at his age—Julios Boros in 1968.
Steve Stricker may seem like the safest bet, but even he has questions lingering about his play. After opening with a record-tying 63, he struggled to a 74 on Friday. Had he played solid golf, he could have grabbed the championship then.
Anders Hansen, at three-under, is the highest international player headed into Sunday. Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel are both at two-under par. Scott won last week at the WGC Bridgestone with a fantastic final round. Schwartzel won the Masters with four consecutive birdies to finish.
It is likely that an American will win because of the sheer numbers of them in contention. However, the lack of proven commodities, along with a very tough finish to this course makes no one a guarantee to win. Tune in on Sunday, it should be an exciting one.
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