SAS Championship - Champions Tour
Prestonwood Country Club
Saturday, October 10
What all is there to do on a rainy day at a golf tournament? Welcome back to my blog on the SAS Championship golf tournament. Today on a rainy moving day there were many players who came out in full force to try to catch round one leader Bernhard Langer. Bernhard actually helped some of the players catch up by dropping one stroke yesterday to 6 under for the tournament. The 2011 SAS Champion, Kenny Perry took full advantage of the drop by Langer and shot 4 under par yesterday to reach 8 under par for the tournament.
The morning wave of players today got most of the attention of the fans as the rain held off during the morning and was a constant factor in the afternoon. During the morning wave I followed the Tom Kite grouping off of the tenth tee. It was incredible to see a golf legend playing right in front of me and playing well. Unfortunately the rain began to fall as we were about to reach the farthest point on the course away from shelter so we decided to head back inside. On our path back we were able to see Jesper Parnevik’s group on hole 16. Jesper is always such a great player to watch with his style, both of play and of clothing choices. After seeing Jesper putt out on 16 we hurried back inside as the rain was really coming down at this point.
Fortunately there is a lot to see indoors that I would not have been able to see if I was just attending the tournament as a member of the gallery. One of these unique experiences was being able to receive a tour of the health and fitness trailers for the players. Inside the health and fitness trailers we were shown around and able to see what all the players actually need to succeed in the tournament any given week. This includes full time personal trainers who are are medically trained to give the players any minor medical treatment that they might require. The players can also come in to the health trailer to stretch before their round to begin their warm up. In fact yesterday I saw Bernhard Langer enter into the trailer to start his warmup before his eventual 5 under par round.
A second unique experience was entering and receiving a tour of the Shot Link trailer. Inside of this trailer is where all the stats that you might see on T.V. or on the web are collected and organized. This process depends on volunteers on the course called walking scorers. These volunteers have a tablet that they punch in all the information for a player's round, including scores and where they hit their shots from. Since this department is so dependent on volunteers it is necessary to have trained hard working people do the jobs both on the course and in the trailer. Infact our tour guide told us that the SAS Championship has some of the best volunteers of any of the stops that they make all year long on tour. This is a huge accomplishment as the tour stops at over 25 events per year.
Once the tour concluded we were able to go back out on the course and follow Kenny Perry, one of two leaders at the time, into the clubhouse from hole 16. This was a neat experience to see just how much work is required to keep a lead at a tour event. Since Kenny was one of the leaders there was T.V. coverage all over his round. We actually found out who was the person talking about the round on the course and stayed around him to be able to hear the commentary live. This is of course so much different than watching it on T.V. having to have no idea who is talking and informing you about the tournament.
Overall it was a great day, even though we had a little bit of rain, to see lots of the action up close and from behind the scenes. Sunday should be an even better day as it should be clear and warm for the galley to follow the action to see which champion can add yet another championship to their impressive roster of wins already. Best of luck to all the players Sunday. Hope it is a memorable day for both the players and the galley.
SAS Championship - Champions Tour
Prestonwood Country Club
Friday, October 9
Have you ever wondered what goes on out of the view of the public at a professional golf event? I will strive to answer this question right here on the SAS Championship First Tee of the Triangle blog. Hello I am Kelsey Selna. I am a sophomore at Heritage High School and am on the men’s golf team. I am an eagle level member of The First Tee of the Triangle and have been participating for just over two years. Hope you enjoy my commentary from the tournament
The SAS Championship is a Champions tour event that is held at Prestonwood Country Club. This year is the tournament’s 15th playing and looks to be a great tournament. In the field this week there is 5 World Golf Hall of Fame members and 16 Major champions from the PGA tour. The players will be tested by the hardest combination of Prestonwood’s three courses that could be created. They will be playing a mix of the Highlands and Meadows courses to create a par 72 layout played from 7,240 yards. There has been lots of talk with the players and officials about the course conditions after a record of 12 straight days of rain passed through the area the previous week. Thankfully the general consensus is that the conditions are drying out nicely and should make for a great weekend. Round 1 leader Bernhard Langer stated in his pre round interview “The greens were already firm and dry, but the fairways were still soft, and it’s getting better every day.” All of this hope at a firm and dry course could be washed out as rain is forecasted for Saturday’s rounds. The course should set up nicely though for Sunday’s final round for a beautiful fall day at 70 degrees and partly cloudy skies.
During the first round there were plenty of fireworks, by the players, on the course to keep the gallery entertained. One first example of this was on Hole 1 a 411 yard par 4. Jesper Parnevik hit his drive wide of the fairway to the left and left himself 120 yards into the hole from behind a 20 foot tall tree. I was standing behind the green and thought that he had no shot at the pin, and would have to layup. Jesper had a different thought in his mind, one of confidence in his game. He hits the ball up and over the tree, clears the water that is in front of the 1st green, and lands the ball about 5 feet from the hole with a putt for birdie. One incredible overall hole from round one was from Hole 12, Colin Mongomerie stepped onto the tee with one thing in mind, ending his two hole bogey streak. Colin crushed his drive over 310 yards in the middle of the fairway leaving him with about 260 yards into the green. He then had the distance perfect on his second shot to attempt to go for the green but the shot ended up 20 yards off the green to the left. He then proceeded to chip up to about 2 feet to give himself a look at birdie. He then sinks the putt to get himself back to even par and snap his bogey streak. As you can see day one was an incredible day with lots of action to follow and lots of big names making moves on the leaderboard.
Tomorrow I will investigate who got the players into the game of golf and what is their motivation to continue to play even when the game is tough. This will show us all, including myself what exactly keeps the champions going and trying to become a champion once again.
For any of you who may want to come out to see these incredible champions play the game of golf, daily tickets are on sale at the gate and kids under the age of 17 get in free with a ticketed adult. Hope to see y’all out here this weekend.
Thank you for reading the blog and I look forward to being able to brief you on the action in the field on a cloudy Saturday.