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August 9, 2008

 

Manning’s among the victims

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICH. — Eric Manning was clinging to hope of making the cut at the 90th PGA Championship in Bloomfield Township, Mich. Friday, but “The Monster” known as Oakland Hills Country Club had other plans for the Cortland Country Club professional.
After playing the first six holes in two-over-par, the South Course Monster bit hard. Back-to-back triple bogeys on seven and eight, his second double-bogey on number nine and Manning was quickly at 45 — 10 over par — at the turn for the day and 21-over for the tournament. All hopes of making the cut vanished in three holes.
“I really did not play that well,” said Manning of the second round. “I felt like a hit the ball better. It was windier and I really had trouble on the greens today. I had a number of three-putts today, a couple of those times were just from five feet. That’s what happened starting on number seven.”
Hoping to match his total for his Thursday/Friday first round, if he could string together eight pars and one bogey on the back nine, the 43-year-old Homer Central graduate started bogey, double bogey, bogey on holes 10, 11 and 12. Now at 14-over for the day, 25-over for the tournament, it was time to play out the string over the final six holes.
Manning finished with an eight-over par 43 on the back nine and an 88 for the day. His 36-hole total was 169, 29 over par.
“This golf course is really brutal,” Manning said. “The rough is four inches high and stands straight up. You can’t get the ball out of it, much less onto the green. You really can’t get the club on the ball. You are really better off hitting the ball really wide and into the spectators. They trample some of the rough down and you have a better shot, if you’re not blocked off by another obstacle like a tree. The set-up of this course really takes the skill out of the game.”
Manning’s cohorts agreed with Manning’s course assessment.
“I did speak to Paul (Azinger) at lunch today and he asked me what I thought of the course,” said Manning. “He told me that the PGA is really good normally, but that he thought they really missed the set-up this time. He thought it was not a fair course and Paul is a guy who plays on these courses more than I do.”
Manning also felt that maybe he was not as prepared as he could have been because he only got two practice rounds and had never seen the course before, but it was also very philosophical about it.
“Maybe I was not prepared for conditions like this,” said Manning. “But, there is really no where in our area that could help you prepare. You have to actually play on a course like this and now I have. I know that I could score better.”
“I have a taste of what it is like to play in a major tournament now,” Manning continued. “I really want to get another shot at this. I really want to get back here knowing what I now know.”
With the way Eric Manning has been playing around our area, there is a good shot that he can make it back to some more Tour events
.