Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: October 22, 3:00 PM ET
Gainey faced multiple challenges
Quick ... name the most famous golfer to attend Central Carolina Technical College? That would be Tommy Gainey, who majored in industrial maintenance at the South Carolina school and claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory Sunday at the McGladrey Classic.
So how did the 37-year-old former factory worker manage to dominate the final round like no other? Our experts analyze all that and more in our latest edition of Monday Four-Ball.
1. What was the most impressive aspect of Tommy Gainey's 60 on Sunday?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Gainey was the only player to have a bogey-free round on Sunday, which shows exactly how tough the course was playing. He was 3 shots better than David Toms, who had only one bogey, and 5 shots better than the next-best score (four players shot 65). And if anyone says they saw it coming, they could impress me by showing me the receipt from the bet they placed.
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Gainey shot 60 under Sunday final-round pressure. He started the day 7 shots off the lead and won the tournament. It's much easier to go low when you have no chance of winning. But "Two Gloves" played like he's been in this position often in his career. That's very impressive.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: That he did it without making a birdie on the par-5 on the front nine. He was 10 under par and did it on nine holes, making pars on the rest. And he had two cracks at birdie on the last two holes to get to 11 under.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: The fact that his 60 happened in the final round. Gainey came into the McGladrey Classic ranked 180th in final-round scoring average and broke 70 only three times prior to Sunday. Posting that kind of score, even if he was way off the pace going into the final round, took some guts.
2. Harder mental hurdle to overcome -- shooting 59 or getting your first PGA Tour win?
Michael Collins: Many guys can get a first-time victory, not many guys shoot 59. And most start thinking about 59 if they shoot a 29 or 30 on the front nine. The proof of how hard it is to get to that magic number is the fact that every week the best in the world get four chances each (if they make the cut). Tommy Gainey's 60 was the lowest score of the year. Enough said.
Farrell Evans: These guys know how to go low, but winning a tournament is a much harder proposition. The pressure of being in contention is intense. I'm sure Gainey would tell you that it's much easier to shoot 59 when there is nothing on the line.
Bob Harig: Shooting 59. It's been done just five times in PGA Tour history and never on the European Tour. That is a tough mental barrier. In the case of Gainey, winning was hardly a thought to him when he started the day. He was 7 back. It made going after all those birdies that much easier.
Kevin Maguire: First PGA Tour win. I'd be willing to bet quite a few PGA Tour players have broken the magical 60 barrier at least once during their lifetimes, albeit on local tracks that they know like the back of their hand. Getting that first PGA Tour win, though, is a life changer.
3. Tiger Woods is among the 48 players in the field at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. What can we expect from him this week?
Michael Collins: With only 48 guys in the field, I expect a top-5 from Tiger. Call it what you want. I call it "the new silly season" because, like his own tournament later this year, what does it really count for? The top guys reshuffling their rankings on the OWGR? Tiger is great when it comes to playing tournaments that have no stakes and free money.
Farrell Evans: TW is back in his world now in a stroke-play event where he doesn't have to worry about a team format. The Ryder Cup is important to him, but winning tournaments is what he lives to do. He'll be very enthusiastic and upbeat this week about seeing what's in his game for four days. Bo Van Pelt is the only player in the field who can stop him from running away with the tournament.
Bob Harig: It would be a disappointment for Woods if he did not contend. At least 10 players in the field are from the lower-level Asian Tour, meaning this is a small field and he doesn't have many players to beat. Woods is only two weeks removed from playing in Turkey, and after an exhibition against Rory McIlroy next Monday in China, he'll have time to put the clubs away for a month. He ought to be motivated to perform well.
Kevin Maguire: He's never played in this week's event, but Tiger's game always travels well. Woods has teed it up only once since the Ryder Cup (in Turkey for a medal match play, round robin event), but you can expect birdies galore this week in Kuala Lumpur.
4. True or false: Davis Love III will end his career with his current total of 20 career PGA Tour victories.
Michael Collins: True. At 48 years old (turning 49 in April 2013), it's been a nice run, my friend, but please tip your waitress on your way out. As much as I would like to see him win again, I just don't see it happening. At least he'll kill it on the Champions Tour in two years, so he's got that going for him. Gunga Gulunga.
Farrell Evans: False. DL3 still has enough talent to put together four good rounds to win a PGA Tour event. He might have lost some of the finer aspects of finishing a tournament like maintaining his nerves down the stretch, but he hasn't forgotten how to win. Sure, he'll never be a regular winner again, but as Tommy Gainey proved this week, all it takes sometimes is one really good round to win a tournament.
Bob Harig: False. Love's game still holds up, even at age 48, and he's shown that in recent weeks despite the distractions and lack of practice emanating from being the U.S. Ryder Cup team captain. Love has said he wants to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team next year, and you can see some motivation from him to win again.
Kevin Maguire: True. Simply being in the hunt at the tournament he hosts is an impressive feat, but the most recent U.S. Ryder Cup captain to win post-captaincy is Tom Watson way back in 1996. Even though Love can still hit it a long way -- he's top 40 in driving distance -- the Tar Heel is also 48.