Stark Truth: Final Thoughts On NCAA Golf Tourney

OK, I didn’t blog from Gold Mountain during the NCAA West Regionals. I had good intentions, but ran into a couple technical problems, and … well, it was a lot more enjoyable walking the course and enjoying the sunshine than it would have been sitting inside, providing updates Those of you who really cared were probably at the course or glued to the live scoring that was available through golfstats.com.
That said, here’s my final thoughts on the tournament: It was pretty cool that the host Huskies were able to pull off a fourth place finish to get back to the NCAA Championships. And as far as I’m concerned, Oregon’s Joey Benedetti is the reigning King of the Olympic Course after back-to-back-to-back 69s. Nine-under par in those conditions without a three-putt. Ridiculous.
The players were as good as advertised. Sure, you saw a few bad swings and bad decisions, but you also saw a lot of limber golfers simply crushing the ball. They take the golf club back nice and slow, and then generate so much power with their downswings. Granted the wind was at their back, but a handful of the guys were able to reach the green in two on the 617-yard, No. 9 hole on Saturday. Jamie Lovemark of USC hit a “soft driver,” on the 324-yard, No. 18 hole the first day, dropping the ball on the green as if it came down from heaven to make an eagle. Lovemark also hit the cart path off the first tee and the ball carried within 71 yards of the 466-yard hole.
The galleries weren’t huge over the weekend — there were probably about 500 fans spread throughout the course on Friday for round two — but were large compared to most college events of this kind. At least, that’s what I was told.
The course only enhanced its reputation of being one of the best around. The players and coaches will spread the word, which is why the course chooses to hold these events in the first place. You can’t buy that kind of advertising.
I’d be interested to hear any thoughts about the tournament from people in the community, from those who showed up for some of the tourney and from those who didn’t go. Is it a good idea for Gold Mountain, the Bremerton-city owned course, to shut down for a week to host events of this magnitude? The 2011 U.S. Junior Boys will be the next national-scale event and I think it’ll be a mild upset if the NCAA doesn’t award Gold Mountain the 2011 or 2012 NCAA Championships.
Me? I think it’s great, especially when the weather cooperates like it did last week.

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