Seamus Power arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma buoyed ahead of a second straight career major at this week’s PGA Championship at the Southern Hills course.
Unlike the famed Gene Pitney song that put Tulsa on the world’s musical map, it was an easy one-hour charter flight early evening Sunday night from Dallas in the Lone Star State and straight north to the second-largest city in the Sooner State.
Power finished T17th at 18-under in the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic, posting four rounds in the 70s. It was the fourth occasion in 19 events in the 2021/22 wraparound PGA Tour season that Power has broken 70 on all four days, though a first occasion since the second week of January in sharing third place at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
“It was a good week at the Byron Nelson, so I’m really pleased with my effort,” he said.
“I went to Dallas with fond memories of playing so well last year, and it really was the week that started a great run of great tournaments leading to my victory at the Barbasol, so I’ve come away also with another strong positive feeling about my game.
“So, I’m heading into this week’s PGA with lots to build on for this coming week, and I’m looking forward to tackling Southern Hills and my second major.”
Last week’s strong Texas showing has seen Power jump three spots to 23rd of the FedEx Cup standings, and again a new career high in the PGA Tour money-list standings.
He did drop one place to 42nd on the World Rankings, and was bumped out of 41st by Kyoung-Hoon Lee, who successfully defended the Bryson Nelson, jumping 47 spots on the rankings thanks to a second PGA Tour victory.
Among the four Irish competing this week, only Padraig Harrington has played the Tulsa course before. He was T30th in the 2001 US Open and then after capturing the 2007 Open at Carnoustie, Harrington shared 42nd place in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills won that year by Tiger Woods. Of course, Harrington won both the 2008 Open and 2008 PGA.
So, while Harrington would know Tulsa well, the only thing the majority in this week’s field may know of Tulsa is probably hearing Pitney’s 1963 hit tune – “24 Hours From Tulsa” – with the lyrics of the Burt Bacarach hit about Pitney’s chance meeting with a woman, and falling for her charms while on the road and still 24 hours away from the arms of his wife waiting for him in Tulsa.
Those who do know the song, know Pitney never made it back to Tulsa.
No chance of that happening to Power who currently has a steady girlfriend in Las Vegas, even though Google states it’s nearly as long being a 17-hours and 20 minutes drive from Las Vegas to Tulsa.
However, let’s not be side-tracked by a welcoming light as this week is all about golf with Power, who made the cut in last month’s Masters, looking to build on his superb share of 27th at Augusta National.
“This is the first time I’ve been to Southern Hills but I’ve heard a lot of good things, and it’s a golf course that’s hosted a lot of major championships in its history, so I’m looking forward to seeing the course and getting out and getting familiar with it,” he said just prior to leaving Dallas.
“I do know it could be difficult if the wind blows but other than that, I’ve not heard much else.
“After making my majors debut at The Masters, I’m also equally excited to be making my PGA Championship debut later this week, and the way things are progressing I should be into the US Open and also the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
“It’s already been an exciting start to my year, playing the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Players and the first Masters.
“As everyone says, it’s the majors you want to be competing, so I am looking forward to Southern Hills and testing my game on another major championship host course, and in a major championship field.
“So, it’s going to be a good one, and I’m looking to figure out the course over the next few days.”
Paddy Power has Power at 50/1 to win in just his second major showing with the West Waterford man as high as 80-1 elsewhere.
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