After claiming medalist honors and advancing out of stroke-play qualifying for the first time in three USGA events, the 21-year-old from Easley, S.C., has found a comfort zone around the links courses at Bandon Dunes Resort. During Thursday's play at Old Macdonald GC, Mills knocked off recent NCAA champion John Peterson, 1 up, then beat Oklahoma State's Talor Gooch, 4 and 2, to reach Friday's quarterfinal round.
Seven of the eight players who advanced to the quarterfinals Thursday after the second and third rounds were contested on Bandon Trails GC play college golf at schools in one of these two conferences.
"The Anger phase lasted for years, and then I entered the next phase, Denial," David writes. 'All I need are some lessons,' I told myself. 'Why should everyone else be able to do it and not me? Why are they good? I'm coordinated. I have a jump shot! I can go to my left. Obviously I have it in me. I have it in me! Next year, I'll go to Orlando and spend a week taking lessons with Leadbetter. I don't care what it costs. How can you spend a week with Leadbetter and not get better? It's impossible.' But I did, and I didn't.
Eventually, David said, he entered the final stage -- Acceptance.
"And yet I'll continue to play, because I do hit some good shots, especially when I'm on the driving range. I actually hit some great range shots. What the hell is that? I've had swing compliments on the range. 'I love your tempo,' a woman once said to me. That's right--I have good tempo. I've had many other range compliments that I won't bore you with, but, believe me, I'm an eight or a nine on the range."
"So it's clearly psychological. I wonder . . . what if I blindfolded myself ? Is it possible?! Have I stumbled upon the Secret? It makes sense. The reason I can't hit the ball is that I can see it! Tomorrow I'm going to play blindfolded, and if that doesn't work then I'll definitely and unequivocally accept Acceptance. I just want to try this blindfold idea. I have a very good feeling about it. Very good."
-- Sam Weinman
You've heard the Golf Digest nutritional spiel for years regarding those lethal, nitrate-loaded, cholesterol-building hot dogs that you love. Here is a quick review for those who have forgotten: a dog does have protein, iron, potassium and Vitamin-C benefits, but the sodium, fat and cholesterol content are off the charts. Get one with cheese sauce, and you're looking at 545 calories. All of which is why we've always suggested a nutrition bar for a back-nine energy boost.
But this time around, you're getting a reprieve from the message: We're with you, and that's the last of the bad hot-dog news.
Why the change of heart? It's Fourth of July time for starters, and franks and the Fourth go together quite well. But, in general, a hot dog is quick and cheap, and when we're hungry, the salt and fat in a dog taste mighty fine. Seven billion hot dogs are sold between Memorial Day and Labor Day -- undoubtedly a huge chunk at the golf course -- but they are lovable and edible year-round. Here's our ode to the dog:
Playing in the wind and rain that fell last Monday along the Oregon coast, the rising junior at UNC Greensboro stumbled early and often at Bandon Trails GC. It began with a double-bogey 5 on the second hole, followed by a double-bogey 6 on the third hole and a triple-bogey 7 on the fourth hole. Three more bogeys later, Hoadley turned in 10-over 45.
"That front nine was kind of a welcome to Bandon Dunes," Hoadley said. "A lot of people at home were texting my mom saying, 'Is this really true? Did he really shoot 10 over?' "
After a decade with Nike Golf, Mike McKennon started his own company, McKennon Golf Bag Company, making leather golf bags in his basement. Now he's making them for presidents.
"We had set out to make something very presidential, but not too gaudy," he said in keeping with the company philsophy. "It's a simple navy blue bag with white accents. We've got the presidential seal on the headovers and bottom. And, subtly, on the side we put Golf Bag One."
McKennon said he was able to get it in President Obama's hands, though he would not disclose how he did so.
He has made one for Davis Love III, the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain, who used it in the Par 3 Contest at the Masters this year. "I made him a North Carolina bag," McKennon said. "Lucas Glover saw it and called and wanted a Clemson one."
McKennon's philsophy evolved from the statement at the top of his website home page: "As we developed the McKennon Player's Bag we considered every single feature of the modern golf bag. We didn't use a damn one of them."
"The whole premise of our company," he said, "is simplicity and intuitive golf bags. We don't have to have 13 zippers. You know where things are. We don't clutter it up."
The Player's Bag is handcrafted from aniline leather, sells for $799 and comes with either one or two zippered pockets.
In addition, McKennon purchased Jones Sporting Goods, maker of the Jones Bag that was so popular 30 and 40 years ago. "This is the only bag in golf where you can look at it and go, 'I remember that.' I carried a Jones bag until I was probably 25. It's cool to see it come back to life."
McKennon no longer works from his basement. He now has a 3,200-square foot shop and recently hired a fifth employee. "We're trying to turn everything upside down," he said. "We're going to go head-to-head with the bigger companies."
-- John Strege
But five players from the same school?
"We were laughing about it," said Tiffany Lua. "It almost feels like a team tournament."
On the eighth hole at Bandon Trails GC, a drivable par 4 that was playing 299 yards, albeit downwind, Ernst took out a 3-wood and went for the green. With the hole location in the back left, Ernst thought his drive was heading to the right bunker. A nice kick to the left, however, sent it toward the cup, where it proceeded to disappear, according to Ernst.
"I was thinking there's no way it went over the green," Ernst said. "There were two marshals on the side of the green and one guy ran out and put his hands in the air. That's when I knew it was in."
The double eagle was the first on a par 4 in the APL since the USGA began tracking such stats in 1982. It is just the third double eagle ever recorded at the APL.
"It gave me a big boost of momentum for the rest of day," said Ernst, who eventually won the match in 19 holes.
Form held in most first-round matches at Bandon Trails. Medalist Corbin Mills knocked off Greg O'Connor, 4 and 2, and faces John Peterson, the recent NCAA champion, in the second round Thursday. Peterson was a 3-and-2 winner over Peter Williamson.
Oklahoma State's Talor Gooch, recent college grads Harris English (Georgia) and Jonathan Randolph (Mississippi), Palmer Cup participant Daniel Miernicki (Oregon) all advanced to the second round as well, as did local Bandon caddie Kevin Rei, who defeated Kevin Fitzgerald 7 and 6.
For complete first-round results, click here.
-- Mike O'Malley