E.A. Sports Today

Wrapping up Winged Foot

McGatha, Rogers shoot 73 in Sunday stroke-play round of USGA Four-Ball Championship

By East Alabama Sports Today

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Jeremy McGatha and Matt Rogers wrapped up their experience in the USGA Four-Ball Championship Sunday with a 3-over-par 73 on the West Course at Winged Foot that included their only birdie of the championship.

And it was almost an ace.

McGatha hit a cut hybrid to within a foot on the 200-yard par-3 third – the hole Billy Casper laid up on all four rounds in the ’59 U.S. Open – and dropped the putt to put a red number on the team’s scorecard for the first time. The shot rolled past the hole and then almost went in on its way back.

“I really thought he made a 1,” Rogers said. “He hit two or three really good iron shots in close.”

It was the biggest highlight in a tough weekend on a tough course. The Calhoun County players finished at 9-over 149 for the two days of stroke-play qualifying and finished tied with three others for next to last in the elite 128-team field.

“The course is hard,” McGatha said. “Could we be 8- or 10-under, no, but we could’ve shot better than 9-over for two rounds. Did we step on our own feet? Yeah. If we could get it going and not make the mistakes, we can compete. We just didn’t.”

“We just didn’t have our best,” Rogers said. “The golf course beat us. I think we can play it; we’ve just got to play better.”

McGatha and Rogers turned in even par for the day, then made three bogeys on the back that were all the result of what McGatha called “the same silly stuff” that plagued them all weekend. They were 1-over for the day through 14 holes, then came upon the closing stretch with three hardest par-4s Rogers said he has played in his life. All three played over 450 yards.

“It’s just not easy,” Rogers said. “You just cannot explain the difference. I’ve played all the good courses in Atlanta and Birmingham and it doesn’t compare. Everybody who talks to me about this, I’d love to let them tee it up and see it’s a different beast.”

It may have been hard, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to try it again.

“Experiencing this for the first time, it makes me want to practice hard and make sure I can make it back,” McGatha said. “It’s hard to put into words how good the USGA runs a championship. It’s the closest thing to a pro event we’ll ever play. We’ve got to make it back to one. It’s pretty awesome.”

(Winged Foot, West Course, 7033 yards)

Players 443 454 344 35 345 344 444 35 70
JM & MR 442 454 354 35 355 345 454 38 73
Medalists 342 443 444 32 344 343 334 31 63

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