Spraying a few bunker shots while waiting on the U.S. Open to begin:
- Don’t expect coach Jamie Green’s Charlotte 49ers men’s golf team to be one-year wonders. Their tie for third in the NCAA championship last weekend may have surprised some people but not Green, his players nor others in the field. Green has steadily turned the 49ers into a formidable force and with four of the five players back from the NCAA team, Charlotte will be invited to several of the high-profile events next season. Andrew DiBitetto, who finished tied for ninth individually, was Charlotte’s first All-American and Corey Nagy made the freshman All-American team. It looks as if the 49ers have only just begun.
- Phil Mickelson is getting a cortisone injection to make sure his sore wrist is fine for the U.S. Open. It all sounds good but it makes you wonder if it will affect Lefty at Oakmont.
- Speaking of Oakmont, did you hear about defending champion Geoff Ogilvy’s practice round there on Monday? Ogilvy proclaimed it the hardest course he’s ever seen after shooting somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 and losing, by his estimation, seven golf balls. He said he would take 9 over par for 72 holes and take his chances on winning.
- Here’s an early list of top five contenders at Oakmont (subject to change, of course, and feel free to submit your own list):
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Zach Johnson
4. Stewart Cink
5. Sean O’Hair
- It would be worth your while to spend a day or two at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles later this month. Annika Sorenstam is arguably the best women’s player of all time, the young group of players including Lorena Ochoa, Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer is entertaining and there’s always Michelle Wie. Plus, Pine Needles is a terrific spectator course and a few tickets still remain (www.2007uswomensopen.com).