Few have mentioned young Hunter Mahan as a serious threat to win today, but if he can post a low number — as he has a history of doing — he’ll make the four golfers playing behind him sweat.
“I just have to come out and play,” he said yesterday after shooting 69. “If I put the ball in play off the tee, I can play, I can use my irons to my advantage. And I’ve got a great feel for these greens.”
I spent some time with Mahan at his Texas home last month, and he is one of the most laid-back golfers I’ve ever met (the surfer-dude look is no act). But carefree doesn’t mean careless. When Mahan gets it going, he’s as focused — and dangerous — as any player on Tour. Last summer he carded three 62s in a seven-tournament stretch.
And he loves the demands and pressure of majors. “I think my game fits every major pretty well,” Mahan told me. “They’re challenging, they’re tough, it’s the best kind of golf. I enjoy the heck out of them.”
Mahan’s goal, he said, is to win a major before he turns 30. If he gets hot today, he might do it before he turns 27.
(Photo: John Biever/SI)