Winning always requires a little luck, but the run of good
fortune Chris Smith rode to his first Tour victory, at the Buick
Classic, was remarkable. Smith hit only four fairways at
Westchester Country Club on Sunday but routinely drew good lies
in the tangly rough, and he got the break of the century on the
442-yard, par-4 11th hole (above). Trying to lay up short of the
creek that splits the fairway 290 yards from the tee, Smith
blasted a five-wood that landed 10 feet short of the hazard.
I've played the hole a million times (I used to teach at
Westchester), and every ball I've seen land in that spot has
bounced into the water. Smith's, though, took a fortuitous hop,
touching down on the creek's near edge and then bouncing onto
the rocks on the far edge. Instead of careering sideways or
backward off the rocks and into the hazard, his ball scooted
forward into a good lie in the rough, from which he escaped with
another ho-hum par.
DESTINY'S CHILD The fates were also kind to Smith at numbers 13
and 17. On both holes he drove into a deep fairway bunker but
was left with an uphill lie inches clear of a steep lip.
Beautifully executed iron shots allowed him to make two crucial
HEAD CASE Runner-up Pat Perez is the most talented rookie on
Tour and could've won twice this year--at Pebble Beach and last
week--if he had Smith's even-keeled demeanor. Unfortunately,
Perez is a walking time bomb, and he blew up again last weekend,
hurling his club after a muffed approach last Saturday and then
spending much of the final round pouting and cursing under his
breath. No wonder he has not graced the winner's circle yet.
Tom Patri, 43, runs the TP Golf Schools at the Naples Grande Golf
Club in Naples, Fla., and is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100
I can't teach you how to bounce a ball over a creek, but anybody
can learn to play from an uphill lie in a fairway bunker. There
are four keys to this specialty shot.
1. Position the ball a little closer to the target-side foot.
2. At address, stand with your shoulders and hips parallel to the
slope of the bunker (A). Avoid the common error of leaning toward
the target on an uphill lie. Doing so delofts the club and
increases your chance of driving the ball into the wall of the
3. While swinging, keep the lower body quiet and the majority of
your weight on your rear foot. Hit the shot primarily with your
arms and shoulders. Notice that after hitting his fairway bunker
shot to the 17th green (B), Chris Smith had transferred very
little of his weight, and that his right foot was still grounded.
4. Pick the ball cleanly off the sand, unlike on a greenside
bunker shot, in which the club enters the sand well behind the