Ready For A Big Finish – Thoughts On The Ryder Cup & Brooke Henderson

Hazeltine Golf Course, site of the 2016 Ryder Cup in Minneaplois, Minnesota, USA on August 18, 2013. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Hazeltine Golf Course, site of the 2016 Ryder Cup in Minneaplois, Minnesota, USA on August 18, 2013. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Hazeltine Golf Course, site of the 2016 Ryder Cup in Minneaplois, Minnesota, USA on August 18, 2013. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)

w/ Chris Stevenson, The Rideau View Golf Insider

Both the leaves and the the calendar are turning, but we’re being treated to some of the best golf of the season right now both on and off the course.

Rideau View is in spectacular shape and the weather has been cooperating. When you’re not out on the course, you can be watching the emotionally charged Ryder Cup or Smiths Falls’ Brooke Henderson in contention for her third win of the LPGA season.

Henderson is one off the lead heading into the final round of the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Nankou, Beijing, China. Henderson is 19-under-par and just behind Mi Jung Hur of South Korea.

Henderson, ranked fourth in the world, has had a good putter this week needing just 74 putts through 54 holes, but her putter let her down near the end of Round 3 as she missed a short birdie putt on 17.

“I think when you finish like that it does give you a little bit more excitement looking forward to tomorrow,” Henderson said. “Especially being the final round. Really looking forward to it.”

She was tied for the lead after 36 holes and all three of her victories on the LPGA Tour to date have come when she had the lead halfway through the tournament.

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The Ryder Cup is poised to give us one of the best Sundays in recent memory (and there have been some good ones) and who doesn’t want to see Europe’s Rory McIlroy and USA’s Patrick Reed meet in the singles?

They have each been the emotional leader of their respective teams (“He’s Captain America,” Spieth said of Reed) and McIlroy playing with a chip on his shoulder after a fan made an obscene comment to him as he walked from green to tee. McIlroy stopped and confronted the fan, who was reportedly ejected by security.

Later, fans were serenading McIlroy with “Sweet Caroline.” McIlroy broke off his engagement with tennis star Caroline Wozniaki in June 2014. McIlroy finished the chorus. How can you not like that?

McIlroy carried the pairing with Thomas Pieters through the middle of the round with birdies on the seventh, ninth and 10th holes and Pieters, a Ryder Cup rookie, finished off their 3&1 four ball victory over Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson with birdies on 13, 14 and 17.

When guys play angry it can go one of two ways. McIlroy channeled it the good way.

“The more they shouted, the better we played,” McIlroy said. “I hope they shout at us all day (Sunday).”

Yeah, American fans might want to lay off the taunting.

BTW, it’s not like Koepka and Johnson didn’t play well.

That game saw the two teams combine for 18 birdies and an eagle. There were only three holes where somebody didn’t make at least a birdie.

• • •

Who knows how the Ryder Cup is going to turn out with the Americans up 9.5 to 6.5, but if it’s close, you can look at the way Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello were four down with six to go against Reed and Jordan Spieth on Saturday morning and rallied to get a half point.

The Spanish combination continues a great tradition that started with Seve Ballesteros mentoring Jose Maria Olazabal and then Olazabal taking Garcia under his wing.

Now it looks like it’s happening with Garcia and Cabrera-Bello.

• • •

Reed in his four-ball victory along with Spieth over Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson: six birdies and an eagle.

• • •

Watching Lee Westwood putt these days is painful. He didn’t make a birdie after the 10th hole and didn’t help Danny Willett after the 13th. The Westwood misses could be the difference between what we’ve got and a tied game.

• • •

Prediction: smells like an American win because there’s no hiding the green Europeans on Sunday.

If you would like more of these deep and meaningful insights, follow me on Twitter: @CJ_Stevenson

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This article appears courtesy of Rideau View Golf Club, where Chris Stevenson is a regular contributor to their social media – worth following!

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