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2019 ATG Masters Tournament
Defending champion Vijay Singh and 41 other golfers will compete in this year's All-time Greats Masters Tournament. This is the 6th year I am running this tournament. Former champions Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, and Gary Player are all included in the star-studded field. Over the course of this week, I will post the round-by-round results. Round 1 will be this morning. As I'm typing this, I see Fuzzy Zoeller stepping up to the first tee......
Venturi Shoots to Early Lead

Ken Venturi jumped to an early lead in the 2019 ATG Masters, scoring a -5, 67 for the round. As he has done the previous two Masters, Arnold Palmer had a strong first day, coming in with a -3, 69. Bernhard Langer rounds out the top 3, with the German scoring a -2, 70 for the round.

As expected, the course is very difficult for these golfers, with only 8 golfers scoring under par. Having particularly challenged rounds were Calvin Peete (+9, 81 after bogeying several Par 4 holes), Nick Price (+7, 79 after a bad day on the greens), and John Daly (+6, 78 after an extensive tour of Augusta's rough, water, and bunkers). Former champions Tiger Woods and Greg Norman were among the golfers under par, as both came in at -1, 71. Last years champion, Vijay Singh, experienced an adventurous day off the tees, finishing with a very pedestrian +2, 74. He will need to do much better if he hopes to defend his title into the 3rd and 4th rounds.

Here is the Leaderboard, including only those golfers shooting par and under:

Ken Venturi -5
Arnold Palmer -3
Bernhard Langer -2
Greg Norman -1
Tiger Woods -1
Sam Snead -1
Seve Ballesteros -1
Tommy Armour -1
Byron Nelson E
Tom Weiskopf E
Phil Mickelson E
Tom Watson E
Nick Faldo E
Ian Woosnam E
Curtis Strange E
Craig Stadler E

12 golfers finished immediately behind this group with +1, 73. Day 2 tomorrow will be another challenge for these golfers, as the scores are anticipated to get worst.
Day 2 - Venturi Holds Lead; the Shark Moves Up; the King Stays Close

In a largely uneventful day, Ken Venturi managed to get out of trouble just enough to maintain his 2-stroke advantage on the crowded leaderboard. Ben Hogan, Curtis Strange, Tom Weiskopf, and Greg Norman were the only golfers to achieve an under-par score, each coming in at -1, 71 for the day. The worst round of the day belonged to Ray Floyd, who did not handle Augusta's long holes very well. His +6, 78 round effectively knocked him out of the tournament. On the other hand, Tom Weiskopf's driver put him in great scoring position all day, as his 71 moved him up the leaderboard and into contention.

Twenty-six of the original forty-two golfers made the cut with a score of +4 or better after the two days. Almost all former winners of this tournament remain in contention for the final two rounds. Only last year's champion, Vijay Singh, failed to make the cut. Norman picked up 2 strokes on the leader Venturi and is poised to make a strong run for the green jacket again. He is the only golfer ever to finish this tournament with an under-par score, as the golf course historically plays even tougher for the final two rounds than the first two rounds.

Here is the leaderboard, featuring golfers standing at least at +1 for the tournament:

Ken Venturi -4
Greg Norman -2
Arnold Palmer -1
Tommy Armour -1
Tom Weiskopf -1
Curtis Strange -1
Bernhard Langer E
Tiger Woods +1
Seve Ballesteros +1
Phil Mickelson +1
Nick Faldo +1
Ian Woosnam +1
Gary Player +1
Bobby Jones +1

In each of the last two years, Arnold Palmer has been at the top of the leaderboard after two rounds only to collapse in the third round. It will be interesting to see if he can hold it together tomorrow and remain in contention.
I enjoy this tournament, always a sign of spring. Glad you're continuing the tradition.

Not sure Mr. Venturi will be able to stay on top of the leaderboard by the end of the weekend, quite a stark contrast between his and Mr. Norman's final round ratings.

Brutal Day At Augusta; Shark Circling Venturi

On a day when only 1 of the 26 golfers remaining in the field managed to shoot a sub-par round, Ken Venturi continues to hold the lead going into the final round. Mr. Venturi's lead is dwindling, however, as the field remains tight. Greg Norman picked up a stroke on Venturi today and is now only 1 shot in back of the leader. Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, and Tom Watson (after his round-best -1, 71) are close behind, just 3 strokes off the lead.

Sam Snead and Nick Faldo had particularly tough rounds, with Snead faltering on the fairways and Faldo bogeying several par 4 holes.

Venturi has managed to hold his lead despite his round scores worsening each day. After his first round 67, Venturi shot 73 and 74 over the following two rounds. His 67 in the first round remains the best round score of the tournament. It will be interesting to see if he can hold on and turn that score into a green jacket.

Arnold Palmer seems to have exorcised the demons of his previous third round experiences over the last couple of years and remains in contention. He continues to be a crowd favorite and this year at Augusta is no exception. Jack Nicklaus, who has had difficulty making the cut in this tournament, has put himself in contention just 5 strokes back after turning in 3 remarkably consistent rounds of +1, 73. Nicklaus is a strong closer and he will most likely need to do better than that to make up ground in the final round.

The full leaderboard reads as follows:

Ken Venturi -2
Greg Norman -1
Arnold Palmer +1
Seve Ballesteros +1
Tom Watson +1
Tommy Armour +2
Curtis Strange +2
Tom Weiskopf +3
Phil Mickelson +3
Jack Nicklaus +3
Byron Nelson +3
Bernhard Langer +4
Tiger Woods +4
Ian Woosnam +4
Bobby Jones +4
Fuzzy Zoeller +4
Johnny Miller +4
Gary Player +5
Payne Stewart +5
Craig Stadler +5
Lee Trevino +5
Ben Hogan +6
Hale Irwin +8
Nick Faldo +10
Sam Snead +12
Sergio Garcia +13

I suspect Venturi will have his hands full, considering the impressive array of golfers hot on his trail. Norman is a past winner of this tournament, so he knows how to close. Palmer is looking to avenge some late-round poor performances and Ballesteros is a tough and intimidating competitor. The final round could become an instant classic, considering the tight field and quality of golfers having a chance to win.
Spring has sprung when this tournament gets posted! Smile

Seve Ballesteros shot a round-best -3, 69 to secure his place in my tabletop history and win the 2019 ATG Masters. Ballesteros was not particularly sharp, but he was particularly clutch, as he managed to get himself out of trouble many times over the course of his round, often turning lead to gold. He had to withstand the pressure from a hard-charging Jack Nicklaus, who matched Ballesteros's 69 round score. Nicklaus finished 2 strokes behind the Spaniard.

Ken Venturi, who led the tournament for three rounds, faltered badly this morning, as it appeared the pressure got to him. He finished the day with a round-worst +8, 80. Greg Norman started the day in second place, but pressure seemed to get to him as well, as he had problems on Augusta's difficult par 3 holes. Arnold Palmer had a decent day, shooting a +2, 74, but it was not enough to overcome the dramatic shot-making of Ballesteros's round today. Tom Watson had been moving up the leaderboard over the course of the tournament, but his driver let him down today as he came in with a +6, 78. Tommy Armour had a very steady, if not remarkable, tournament, finishing tied for fourth place overall.

Overall Augusta bloodied the golfers today. Only Ballesteros and Nicklaus finished under par. This is only the second time in the six years running this tournament that a golfer (Ballesteros) finished the tournament under par (Greg Norman did it when he won in 2016), leaving some to believe that perhaps the pin placements in future tournaments could be a little more forgiving. Next year may bring some changes.

The final leaderboard reads as follows:

Seve Ballesteros -2
Jack Nicklaus E
Arnold Palmer +3
Greg Norman* +4
Tommy Armour +4
Tiger Woods* +5
Ken Venturi +6
Curtis Strange +6
Phil Mickelson +6
Tom Watson +7
Tom Weiskopf +7
Fuzzy Zoeller +7
Gary Player* +7
Ian Woosnam +8
Bobby Jones +8
Johnny Miller +8
Craig Stadler +9
Ben Hogan +9
Byron Nelson +10
Bernhard Langer +10
Lee Trevino +10
Hale Irwin +11
Nick Faldo +11
Payne Stewart +12
Sam Snead +16
Sergio Garcia +20

*Denotes former champion

Thanks to all who followed this tournament. I hope you enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed playing it. Next up, in a couple of months, will be the 2019 ATG Open Championship, with 2018 champion Arnold Palmer looking to defend his title.
Always look forward to your tournaments, I enjoy them immensely.

I was hoping that Venturi could hang on but knew that he would have a hard time doing so.

A great read is "The Match" by Mark Frost. It's about a private match between the team of Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi playing against the tandem of Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan.
Mike Capra
How long does it take for a foursome to shoot 18?

Mike Capra wrote:

How long does it take for a foursome to shoot 18?

2-3 minutes, depending on whether or not there are any Skill or Scoring checks.
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