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Off the Tee: 2019 Sanford International Recap

Rocco Mediate
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Sometimes in life, a change will do you good.

Just ask Rocco Mediate, who won the second Sanford International at Minnehaha Country Club after switching back to the clubs that had him dueling with Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Those throwback sticks reignited Mediate’s game and made him a winner on the Champions Tour for the first time in three years.

In this edition of ‘Off The Tee’, Joel Harrington from 4 Deep Golf blog and I discuss Mediate’s two-stroke win over Ken Duke, Bob Estes, and Colin Montgomerie.

One of the big storylines at this year’s Sanford International was the playing condition of the course.

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Last year, mild weather made Minnehaha Country Club the third-easiest course on the tour. This year with winds gusting at better than 30 miles per hour in Friday’s opening round, the average score ballooned to two-over-par, the second-highest scoring round in a non-major on the Champions Tour in 2019.

Saturday, heat and humidity added some much-needed moisture to the course and did helping scoring quite a bit.  Sunday’s cooler and calmer weather made for ideal conditions for the final round.

Joel says Friday’s winds were a game-changer:

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After the opening round, Kirk Triplett had a one-shot lead after posting a four-under 66.

The big story Saturday was Ken Duke.

The veteran of 313 events on the PGA Tour, 159 on the Korn Ferry, and 16 in his first season on the Champions Tour, shot a 5-under 65 on Saturday and shared the lead with Triplett. Amazingly it was the first time Duke has had at least a share of the lead going into the final round at any event on any tour in his career.

Joel says that is remarkable:

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Duke, Tripplet, and six other players were separated by just two shots going into Sunday in Sioux Falls.

Joel says that tight leaderboard made for great TV:

As for the television coverage of the Sanford International on the Golf Channel, Joel says the commentators spoke very highly of Sioux Falls, the tournament, and the course for the second straight year:

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