McLachlin contends, falters
Honolulu's Parker McLachlin got a lot of TV time during yesterday's final round of the AT&T Classic, especially when his unlikely eagle from a bunker off the fairway at the par-4 13th gave him a three-shot lead over Kenny Perry.
But the pressure of being in contention for the first time clearly got to McLachlin down the stretch. The 29-year-old bogeyed three of the last five holes to finish with a 67 and a 276 total, three shots out of the playoff won by Ryuji Imada.
"You've got your nerves going," McLachlin conceded. "You're trying to steady yourself, but the wind is blowing so hard, it's hard to steady yourself."
That was never more apparent than at the final hole. McLachlin outdrove his two playing partners and was in virtually the same position as the two previous days, when he made eagle and birdie at the par-5 18th.
After Matt Kuchar and Dan Forsman both cleared the water from farther away, McLachlin was ready to attempt the same with a hybrid.
But as he looked down at the tiny green below, the wind that had been gusting strongly all day suddenly shifted and started blowing right in his face. McLachlin hovered there for a good 5 minutes, first pulling a 3-wood from his bag, then switching to an iron for the lay-up.
The gallery down below began to grumble, then broke into full-scale heckling when they saw he was playing it safe.
McLachlin said he had no choice, but the move backfired. He wound up missing a long birdie putt, then lipped out a 3 1/2 -footer for par.
"I just wasn't set up right, so I had to take my medicine," McLachlin said.
"I couldn't wait around 20 minutes to hit a shot," before adding with a grin, "though I tried to."