Sept. 12, 2012
Associate Athletic Director Kevin Blue ('05) is traveling with the men's golf team on their foreign tour to Scotland. Blue was an Academic All-American and men's golf team captain during his playing career at Stanford, and provided updates for GoStanford.com throughout the tour. Previous updates can be found here.
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland - Today was the last full day of the trip and the final round of golf. The team played a non-competitive round at the legendary Carnoustie Golf Links.
The Open Championship has been staged at Carnoustie seven times, most recently in 2007 when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff. However, perhaps the most famous Open at Carnoustie took place in 1999, when Jean van de Velde made an improbable triple bogey on the last hole to blow his seemingly insurmountable three stroke lead. He ultimately lost a playoff to Scotland's Paul Lawrie.
Carnoustie is also known as the site of Ben Hogan's victory in the 1953 Open Championship - the one and only Open that Hogan ever played. The long par-5 sixth is named "Hogan's Alley" in his honor, and also as a reference to how he would play the hole by driving the ball down the small gap between an out of bounds fence on the left and pot bunkers on the right.
Carnoustie is widely regarded as the most difficult course in Scotland and one of the hardest courses in the world. It is long and narrow, placing a premium on expert ball striking to navigate deep rough and pot bunkers. The course was in fantastic condition today. Patrick Rogers went around in even par seventy, which thoroughly impressed the head professional and caddies who warned the team of Carnoustie's prior to teeing off.
After the round, the players returned to St. Andrew's for dinner with the University of St. Andrew's team on their historic campus. Part of the evening involved an appearance by the legendary Old Tom Morris - rather, an actor portraying the long deceased golfing pioneer - who gave a lecture on the early history of the game at St. Andrew's.
Comments from the players
The guys had an amazing experience on the trip. Here are a few of their comments:
David Boote: "I really enjoyed spending the first week of my career with the guys on this trip. Some of the non-golf stuff was great, especially dinner at Edinburgh Castle. Many thanks to the folks who helped us along the way and made this experience possible."
Dominick Francks: "I really liked North Berwick. It was a really fun course and very beautiful there. Stepping up on the first tee at Turnberry was really cool, also. It's unbelievable that our donors make this possible for us. I can't thank them enough".
Patrick Grimes: "The trip was great. I really enjoyed the competitive matches on a few of the days, and it was fun to meet college golfers from Scotland. Thanks to the donors for their support. I will never forget these last few days."
Patrick Rodgers: "The highlight for me was making birdie one of golf's most famous holes, the 18th at Carnoustie, to finish off a trip of a lifetime. Thank you to everyone who made this possible for us."
Shane Lebow: "It was a really special moment walking up the 18th hole at St. Andrew's with my teammates, and checking out the Road Hole bunker. This is an experience that will stay with me for my whole life. Thanks so much to the donors who made this possible and help make Stanford golf what it is."
Cameron Wilson: "This entire trip was incredible and will be remembered for the rest of our lives. I want to make sure that the donors, Scottish hosts, and Golf Ventures staff know how much we appreciate everything they did for us. It was an honor to participate in the trip, and I can't thank them enough."
Steve Kearney: "I got to walk down into the burn on 18 at Carnoustie where Jean Van de Velde has his collapse, which was interesting. It was very inspirational to play on these courses that have so much history and so many remarkable holes."
Wilson Bowen: "The golf was awesome and it was fun to get to know the donors. Their generosity is amazing and very much appreciated by all of us. The trip definitely helped us build some great momentum for the start of our season."
Andre DeDecker: "The golf was unforgettable and it was fun to play shots on these links courses that we don't usually play at home. I also really like trying the food, particularly the haggis and black pudding, which I'm told is made of dried pigs blood. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible."
What a trip! We return to Stanford tomorrow. Thanks for reading, and please make sure to keep following Stanford men's golf all season.