At the U.S. Bank Championship, the weather looks more like Scotland than it does at the 138th British Open.
Ah, but here we are in the Midwest, where it can look and feel like late September, even though it is the middle of July. Mark my words, we'll be in the 90's sometime soon and we'll look back at this time with awe and wonder as we turn up the air conditioning.
In the midst of this gloaming, there is one Frank Lickliter shining through the gloom that is the third round of the US Bank Championship in Milwaukee.
Lickliter lit up Brown Deer Park Golf Course for a 7-under par 63 to move to the top of the leader board through three rounds.
How much was "Frank the Bank" in the zone? While waiting in the cart to be taken down to the US Bank Championship Media Center, he told me that he didn't even know he was in the lead until the round was over. All he knew standing on the 18th green was that the putt he was over was for a 61 and that's what he wanted. Lesson learned? Stay in the moment, shot to shot and worry about the scoring later.
Window shopping: I also had the chance to peek into Lickliter's golf bag to discover that he is using Miura Blade irons, a very expensive sweet set custom ground from Japan.
While we're window-shopping, it should be noted that both Jeff Maggert and Mark Wilson have the new PING G15 drivers in their respective bags. The G15 is a black headed 460cc monster that features the continuing evolution of G10 technology.
Par save and a beauty: On 18 Saturday, Greg Chalmers did something that most amateurs almost never do -- he saved par from the trees on the players right hand side of No.18. To recap, Chalmers drove it into the trees up the right hand side of No.18. Having no realistic shot at the green, Chalmers punched out, but then hooked his next shot into the trees, where he got a break when the ball ricocheted off a tree branch and dropped straight down. Then on his fourth shot, he took a wedge back in his stance and carried a shot toward the green to the perfect distance on to the front fringe, releasing up the green and 10 feet past the hole location.
After careful consideration and study, Chalmers took advantage of the clutch play by burying the downhill 10-footer for par, keeping him at 10-under par for the event, solo second.
Now here is the difference between Greg Chalmers, left-handed Australian golf professional, and you and me. This is what he does for a living and the practice he puts into his craft shows. The smart play for the amateur is to punch out and, if need be, punch out again to secure nothing worse than a bogey. It is the avoidance to big numbers that keeps rounds going. Pros do it by making bogeys into pars. Amateurs can do it by making doubles into nothing worse than a bogey.
Ace freely: There were two aces on Saturday at Brown Deer Park Golf Course. Matt Jones rattled the cup on No. 3 from 171-yards with a 9-iron while over at No.7, Jonathan Kaye holed out from 215 yards with a 5-iron.
Cut twice, measure once: Since more than 78 players (80) made the cut on Friday, there was a secondary cut on Saturday at the US Bank Championship in Milwaukee. The top 70 players and ties (72 players) will tee it up on Sunday to conclude the tournament. The eight players cut will receive official money and get credit for a made cut.
Media center: I will say it is a blast working with the PGA Tour Media Center staff that this week includes Mark Stevens and Wisconsin native Joel Schuchmann. What they do is organize the chaos and provide a liaison between the Tour, the local and national media and the support staff on hand.
They also have some time to kill on occasion which leads to this nugget from the notes on Saturday:
"Brendon de Jonge moved into T5 with a second consecutive 66. If the Zimbabwe native were to win, the U.S. Bank Championship would feature winners from all six of the populated continents, with Antarctica being the exception."
Don't say you didn't know.
Wrap: Frank Lickliter is nine days away from his 40th birthday and while this would be quite a present, what makes it even sweeter is the two-year exemption that goes to the winner.
Since 1990 the 54-hole leader has gone on to win in Milwaukee 9-of-18 times. Lickliter has converted 2-of-the-3 54 hole leads he's had into wins ('01 Kemper; '03 Chrysler Classic).
Finale: It would be a shame to see PGA Tour golf leave the area, especially with the likes of Jerry Kelly, Steve Stricker, Mark Wilson, Skip Kendall and JP Hayes representing the Cheeseheads.
Sunday is the last day of the last US Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Who will sponsor what and when is yet to be seen but one thing is for certain. The Milwaukee area and the state of Wisconsin are great ambassadors for the game of golf both here and abroad.