When Andrew Loupe shot 63 in the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to take a 2-shot lead, I gave him his due by featuring him prominently in the day’s post. What I didn’t do was immediately shuttle him into the pantheon of Popup Players of the Day. And I’m not sure why.
I really liked the kid. He was a fresh face out of nowhere; the exceptional from the unexpected. In this his rookie year, he had missed all five cuts coming in. He had no exposure to the three courses — Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula — except for a couple of rounds on Pebble Beach on the Tiger Woods 2003 golf video game…although in fairness, his caddie had played “a ton” of rounds on the game.
Because of the rainy conditions they were playing with ball in hand. But lift, clean and place or not, everybody else was playing under the same rule and weather.
The other thing I liked about him was his excellence in the face of his almost total anonymity. He wins the day at MPCC by two shots and Getty Images didn’t even get a shot of him. They got Janet Gretzky, but not him.
He faded over the remaining three rounds, 73 – 76 – 73 and finished T27, but with the weather fairly unrelenting, be it rain or wind, everybody was having a tough time. And his finish didn’t take away anything from his forward looking optimism reflected in his same-day interview. He has a plan and it seems to be working…especially after he got this taste of reality.
Here’s my original post on his day where I was able to use some of his extensive mastery quotes. It’ll be interesting to see how his year plays out.