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The 46-year-old captured the heart of the golf world at Oak Hill
He finished T15th and made a hole-in-one in the final round
It was just his third cut made in 25 starts on the PGA Tour
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Michael Block to make the cut at +150 with DraftKings
He’s the golfer who stole the show.
True, Books Koepka’s fifth major championship victory last week placed him alongside the legends of the sport, but the hearts of the golfing world were won by 46-year-old club professional Michael Block who finished T15th.
Day-to-day the St Louis native gives golf lessons to amateurs out of Arroyo Trabuco GC in Mission Viejo, California but even before thrilling the crowds at Oak Hill has proved that he is no one-trick pony.
In fact, he has won Player of the Year in nine of the last 10 Southern California PGA seasons.
However, he had also missed the cut in his six previous major starts and had made the cut in only two of his 24 PGA Tour appearances ahead of last week.
Whereupon, he carded rounds of 70-70-70-71.
But it was his personality that truly took his story around the world.
He quite clearly loved every minute of the attention he garnered but did so with infectious enthusiasm and when he made a hole-in-one on the 15th hole in the final round his week was made.
To read about the entire field, all the betting odds and predictions, see what our golf betting experts have to say in their Charles Schwab Challenge Preview!
It wasn’t just the galleries and TV viewers who fell for Block’s story.
He played with Justin Rose in round three and Rory McIlroy in round four - and both loved the experience.
Rose said: “Great guy. I felt like he was rooting for me, and I was rooting for him, and the crowd was certainly rooting for him.”
And McIlroy added of the ace: “It was an amazing golf shot and a fitting way to cap off his championship.”
Let’s be honest.
Even after his tee shot dropped on Sunday, he admitted: “I have never made a hole-in-one in a tournament, and to make it then was probably the most surreal moment I will have in my life.”
So it would be pretty remarkable if he achieved the feat again this week.
For other miracle type shots, you may be interested in reading about the longest drives in PGA Tour history!
Again, we need to be realistic.
If he makes the cut, it will be because he is riding the wave of last week’s euphoria rather than competing to his usual standards.
Because last week’s T15th was his first top 60 finish on the PGA Tour - and only his fifth 36-hole cut made, too.
On two occasions, he has made the halfway cut and then missed the 54-hole cut, so he’s up against it.
This has to be a key consideration if he is to prosper this week, and this represents good news.
Block is a short hitter by PGA Tour standards, and in some ways that helped him last week because he was hitting his driver short of many fairways bunkers.
But that also meant he was hitting longer clubs into the greens.
This week’s course tends to play shorter and has a lot of twisting holes.
It might well play into his hands.
He said in his pre-tournament press conference: “The course is great and fits my eye. You've got to be pretty straight and the greens are perfect. To be honest, it fits me a lot better than it did last week.”
If you want to be brutal about it, Block carded for sub-72 scores last week.
And in his first 57 rounds on the PGA Tour, he went sub-72 just 10 times.
The non-romantic would oppose Block.
The other fear this week would be fatigue because he not only enjoyed a fantastic week on the course last week, he has also been the toast of America ever since.
He is likely to not only be tired, but be very tired, and that might kick in if he does make the cut.
But the notion of him making the weekend really is not as outrageous a possibility as it first seems.
Well, last week was his third start this season and, in his first appearance, he opened 65-71 to sit T34th after 36 holes in the American Express.
That tournament utilizes three courses so the cut comes after three rounds, and he missed it with a Saturday 73, but his early rounds were promising.
He’ll have huge support all week, and playing well for two rounds is not beyond him.
If you want to be onside this week, take the +150 with DraftKings that he makes the cut.
Tournament: Charles Schwab Challenge
Location: Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Date: FRIDAY MAY. 25 - SUNDAY MAY. 28
How to watch: THUR-FRI 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). SAT-SUN 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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