I thought we had a 70 to 1 winner last week when Graham DeLaet entered the final round tied for the lead. He ended up missing out on the playoff by one shot and has to look back to some short missed putts that probably cost him. This week the TOUR heads to the capital city for the AT&T National Tournament. The field is lacking its usual top end talent, but those who are there will be trying to conquer a great course in Congressional Country Club. The 2011 United States Open was held here and the players will hoping to dominate the course like Rory McIlroy did. Let’s take a closer look at one of the premier courses in the United States.
This week will be the 5th time Congressional is the home of the AT&T National Tournament. Over the years the course has made the players question plenty of shots and become annoyed with the subtle breaks in the greens. At 7574 yards the course plays into the hands of players who can bomb the ball out there. To add to the difficulty it is a Par 71.
Though it may be seen as a bomber paradise, all players will have to navigate these difficult greens this week. They were all completely revamped in preparation for the 2011 US Open with a sub air system and changed from Poa to Bentgrass. Look for the greens to be running lightning fast with perfect conditions expected.
My favourite hole on the course is the 11th. It is one of those holes you love to watch but would absolutely hate to play because of its difficulty. Players have to navigate a Par 4 that stretches 494 yards and has a stream running down the entire right hand side. You will see plenty of approach shots end up in the left hand greenside bunker due to the water hazard on the other side. A par on this hole is picking up shots on the field.
The course record here is shared by Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan who each shot sizzling rounds of 62 in 2009. I will be extremely surprised if anyone can go that low this week but hopefully it is someone from the our list below.
As I mentioned earlier the field this week is solid but should be much better. Although Tiger Woods decided to skip the tournament (a huge mistake in my mind as he loves Congressional), we still have seven of the world Top 30 golfers.The top end talent in Maryland this week includes Adam Scott, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day, and Nick Watney (Justin Rose had to withdraw due to exhaustion).
People tend to lean towards a bomber at Congressional but you must also be accurate. This course had the 14th hardest fairways to hit last season, and the rough will be difficult. Expect plenty of missed Greens in Regulation this week as well, because last season Congressional ranked as 9th most difficult. Around the green it does not get any easier for the golfers. Congressional has some gnarly rough around well placed bunkers, to go along with greens that have plenty of difficult reads. Overall it is just a challenging golf course and a winning score around -10 can be expected.
Expert AT&T National Outright Winner Pick
Below is a free pick for this week’s tournament. All 6 picks from the six-pack system are sent to members and you can sign up to get them at www.GolfBanker.com.
JOHN HUH 70 TO 1 – John played very well here last season in his first start at Congressional (T17). He used a sizzling third round 67 last season to vault him to that excellent finish. That week he hit 69.44% of his Greens in Regulation thanks to a very accurate driving that found the short stuff over 70% of the time. John also took advantage of the Par 5’s at Congressional, something that winners usually do on the PGA Tour; as he played them six under par for the week. I expect John to attack the course in a very similar way this week, as conditions will once again be difficult in Bethesda, MD. John enters this week playing well, having finished Top 17 in three of his past five starts. These finishes included a T8 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, a T11 at the Crowne Plaza Invitations, and a T17 at the United States Open just a few weekends ago at Merion. I am not sure what happen to John after opening up with rounds of 66 and 69 last week, but he feel apart in the third round and did not qualify to play the fourth (Every player has a bad round and I just look at it an an anomaly). John is an accurate striker of the golf ball and will use his great touch around the greens to get out of any trouble this week.