Leave it to Las Vegas to be a part of the biggest first-round upset in Golf Digest’s tournament of the top 64 public courses in the country. In a sea of torn sports-book tickets, on a carpet soaked with spilled beer and empty dreams, Shadow Creek falls to Bulle Rock.
But as we start the second round, I’ll play the role of Vegas, and based on the number of first-round votes acquired by each course, sort out the favorites to win it all.
No course received more first-round votes than Pacific Dunes (pictured above). The No. 1 seed in the C.B. Macdonald quadrant tallied 1,022 votes, which makes it the clear course to beat.
Chambers Bay, the 7 seed in the Donald Ross quadrant, was second with 691 votes. The Classic at Madden’s Resort in Minnesota is a 14 seed that got 487 votes. The Prince Course in Kauai is a 5 seed that got 476 votes. And Bandon Trails, a 4 seed, got 473 votes. (Trails and the Prince are matched in round two.)
It has been fun to watch certain courses and resorts rally their fans late in the cycle to get enough votes to advance to the second round. Pinehurst No. 2, for example, got only 246 votes in round one, but it was enough to beat The Links at Spanish Bay’s 221 votes. Like a good racehorse, No. 2, fresh off a Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw restoration, did just enough to win.
No. 4, the other pride of Pinehurst, received 839 votes, the most by any course other than Pacific Dunes. Unfortunately it was matched up against Pacific Dunes, so like Shadow Creek, we tear up yet another Tom Fazio ticket.
All four No. 1 seeds--Pebble Beach, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Pacific Dunes and Whistling Straits--advanced. Longaberger, a 14 seed, topped the Players Stadium Course at Sawgrass for a tie for the second-biggest upset of the first round, 222-102. Another 14 seed, The Classic at Madden’s Resort, also beat a 3 seed in Karsten Creek, 487-71.
Here are the top-10 vote-getters in round one, and in parenthesis I’ve listed their second-round opponent, the number of votes it received, and the date of the match.
1,022: Pacific Dunes (Paa-Ko Ridge, 200, June 27.)
691: Chambers Bay (Pinehurst No. 2, 246, June 16.)
487: The Classic at Madden’s Resort (Harbour Town, 87, June 23.)
476: Prince Course (Bandon Trails, 473, July 4.)
473: Bandon Trails (Prince Course, 476, July 4.)
421: True North (Pebble Beach, 394, June 13.)
394: Pebble Beach (True North, 421, June 13.)
250: Cog Hill No. 4 (Blackwolf Run-River, 248, July 27.)
248: Blackwolf Run-River (Cog Hill No. 4, 250, July 27.)
246: Pinehurst No. 2 (Chambers Bay, 691, June 16.)
Then there are the courses that need serious time on the voting range or they’ll be joining the likes of Shadow Creek on that beer-marinated rug in Vegas. Here are the five lowest vote-getters that were (somehow) able to advance to the second round, with their upcoming opponents:
53: Pasatiempo (Whistling Straits, 85, July 4.)
56: Harvester (Bethpage Black, 225, June 30.)
85: Whistling Straits-Straits (Pasatiempo, 53, July 4.)
87: Harbour Town (The Classic at Madden’s Resort, 487, June 23.)
97: Pronghorn-Nicklaus (Arcadia Bluffs, 162, June 30.)
So we’re down to the field of 32 courses. As of noon today, Pebble Beach is taking on True North, and the Plantation course at Kapalua is up against the Quarry at Giants Ridge. All voting begins and ends every Monday and Thursday at noon.
I’ll be delivering a plaque to the clubhouse of the winning course. Maybe you can join me. As long as I’m there, I should fill out a foursome.
(Follow me and regular updates on Fans' Choice on Twitter: @Matt_Ginella.