Sunday, March 10, 2013

'Michael Thompson Golf' on Display at the Cadillac Championship

by Roz Roberts III

Three weeks ago, Michael Thompson finished dead last at the Northern Trust Open and was looking for answers as to why.  I was at that second round at Riviera when Michael shot an 80 and despite the high score, there were some signs of things to come.  He eagled the first hole with a 49 foot putt and made a fantastic chip on the tricky tenth hole which lead to a birdie.  The problem was more a matter of consistency.

Michael went back home to Birmingham, AL with a week off and spent the time trying to find his game "in the dirt".  He played golf with the Alabama men's golf team and talked with his past and present coaches.  He learned to enjoy what he was doing again.  His wife Rachel describes the process in her latest blog.  If you haven't read it - you should.

What Michael found was "Michael Thompson golf" - nothing more, nothing less.  It's all about doing what Michael does best.  Get onto the green as fast as possible.  Putt well.  Grind.  And, most importantly, never give up.

Last week, as you all know by now, Michael won his first tournament on the PGA Tour at the Honda Classic.  As a byproduct of that win, he got into this week's WGC Cadillac Championship where he finished in a tie for 8th.  It is the first time in Michael's young PGA career that he has posted back to back top 10 finishes.  And what top 10 finishes they are.  Both events had stellar fields.  In fact, the Cadillac had all golfers inside the top 50 in Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) except for Brandt Snedeker who is healing from an injury.

Michael entered the final round in a tie for 5th.  His final round started with 10 straight pars.  Michael had his birdie chances but, today, those putts just weren't falling.  Michael hit a rough patch when he bogeyed holes 11 and 12 to fall to two over par for the round.  He then managed to make back to back birdies on holes 15 and 16 to get back to even par on the day. He eventually bogeyed the 18th hole (the hardest on the course) after missing a 15 foot putt from the fringe by a mere six inches.  Had the putt fallen he would have finished solo 8th rather than tied for 8th, but in the end, he had a solid top 10 finish in a high profile WGC event.

The T8 finish ensures that Michael remains at the 11th spot on both the Fedex Cup points list and the money list.  It should also move him up a few notches in the OWGR list.

This coming week, Michael will look to carry his good form into the Tampa Bay Championship at Copperhead course at the Innisbrook Resort.  It's a course that Michael likes and feels fits his game.  Based on his current form and current attitude, the future looks bright.

Michael's Birdie on Hole #16 During the Fourth Round of the WGC Cadillac Championship

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