Golf: Todd Hamilton

W2W4: 14 guys within 4 strokes of lead

May, 20, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- It should be a fun final round with so many players bunched up on the leaderboard, hoping to pass Jason Dufner for a victory. Here are some things to keep an eye on:

* Wind. It's not supposed to blow quite as hard, but we should get some 10 to 15 mph winds and gusts that could hit 20 mph or so. That's enough to impact shots and make certain holes difficult.

Those holes would include No. 11, where if the wind blows across like it did Saturday, it could give players a chance to go for the green knowing they'll get help from the wind in keeping the ball out of the water. The downside: It can blow balls across the road and cause big numbers. Just ask Keegan Bradley, who likely had his tournament hopes dashed Saturday with a triple bogey on the hole.

* Early bird gets the worm. If you want to see someone play fast, check out Ryuji Imada. He's first off at 7:10 a.m. and is playing by himself (or with a marker if he chooses). Imada shot 79 on Saturday after shooting 67-68 the first two rounds.

* Players to watch early in the round: Jhonny Vegas (7:26 a.m.), Nick O'Hern (8:06 a.m.), Ricky Barnes (8:22 a.m.), Brian Davis (8:39 a.m.) and Todd Hamilton (former British Open winner from Westlake, Texas, tees off at 8:48 a.m.).

* Players will go off No. 1 tee all day in twosomes. Phil Mickelson, still the biggest draw of this event, tees off at 10:45 a.m. and is playing with Shane Bertsch.

* Six of the final 10 pairings include someone from Texas. That includes Fort Worth's J.J. Henry, who plays with Dufner in the final group starting at 12:15 p.m. Expect to see plenty of purple as TCU fans will be cheering on Henry. His caddie, Pete Jordan, also played golf at TCU.

* Vijay Singh is one of the bigger names on the leaderboard and is back in contention. He'll be in the third-to-last group with Jonas Blixt. They tee off at 11:57 a.m. If Singh continues to putt well, he'll have a chance as he sits two back of the leader.

* Three players to watch that are four strokes back: Ryan Palmer, Matt Kuchar and Bradley. They'll tee off right after one another (starting with Palmer at 11:12 a.m.)

* 2010 champion Jason Day is one back of the leader and fell behind because of a bogey at No. 18.

* Dufner will be tough to beat. He's used to being in the lead and taking care of business, as his win three weeks ago at New Orleans showed. He had a top-10 finish here last year.
DALLAS -- It is not every day you see a major champion carry his own golf bag, but that's what Todd Hamilton did Monday.

The 2004 British Open winner, Hamilton finished 5-under in the 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Dallas Athletic Club to advance to the U.S. Open at Congressional on June 16-19.

Michael Smith had the low score at 7-under with rounds of 69 and 64. Hamilton had rounds of 67 and 68.

Dallas' Harrison Frazar and Greg Chalmers, who lives in Colleyville, claimed the final two spots in a playoff. They beat Michael Whitehead with pars on the first playoff hole after they finished 4-under over two rounds.

Jordan Spieth, the recent Jesuit grad who electrified the crowd two weeks ago at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, finished three shots out of a playoff with rounds of 71-68.

"It just really wasn't my day today," Spieth said. "I'm glad I was able to fight back but I've got a lot more years to [qualify]."

Hamilton carried his own bag in part because, "there's one less guy in the way," and while he might like to carry it at Congressional he said he will opt for a caddie.

"If you're at the level that a lot of us are and you're not exempt, you've got to try to do it," Hamilton said said of going through qualifying. "It's a very prestigious event. You never know when you'll catch lightning in a bottle."

Hamilton played Tiger Woods' event at Congressional a few years ago.

"It's going to be a little more exacting," Hamilton said. "The USGA demands a premium in all aspects of the game, but this is a good start. You can't play well at Congressional if you don't do well here."

Advancing to the Open for Frazar, who has battled hip and back injuries over recent years, was special.

"It's a confidence boost for me," Frazar said. "Right now I'm looking for confirmation I've got a pretty good golf game. I'm starting to see things click."
DALLAS -- Jordan Spieth shot a 71 in his first 18 holes at the U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Dallas Athletic Club on Monday.

Spieth, who finished tied for 32d at the HP Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago, will need to turn it on for his second 18 if he is to make the U.S. Open field at Congressional from June 16-19.

He is tied for 30th entering his second round.

Anthony Broussard, James Byrne, Hudson Johnson, Greg Chalmers and Alex Kang had the low rounds of the morning with 66s.

Former British Open champ Todd Hamilton shot a 67.

There are four spots available for the 71-man field, plus two alternates.