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Course record comes at surprisingly young age

Anthony Perrino set the course record last week at The Point Lake & Golf Club by shooting a 9-under-par 63. That broke Kelly Mitchum's record by one stroke.

Not bad for a 14-year-old ninth-grader.

Perrino had nine birdies, shooting 30-33 from the championship tees on the Greg Norman-designed layout along Lake Norman. He needed only 22 putts in setting the course record.

"For a 14-year-old to have that much poise and concentration all the way around is impressive," said Jason Mull, head pro at The Point, who has worked with Perrino on his game.

"He hits it on the button every time and he hits it as straight as you can point your finger."

The Ice Man: When Olafur Loftsson, a senior on the Charlotte 49ers men's golf team, shot a final-round 65 to win the Cardinal Amateur last weekend, he won a spot in the Wyndham Championship which begins Thursday at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro.

Not only that, Loftsson assured himself a tiny piece of history by becoming the first native of Iceland to play in a PGA Tour event.

Numbers game: When the Wyndham Championship settled into its spot following the PGA Championship and in the week before the FedEx Cup playoffs begin, the date came with obvious challenges. Most of the top players figured to take the week off to prepare for the playoff push, such as it is.

The hope was that the race to finish inside the top 125 would create a bit of drama, something that hasn't really happened.

This year, however, the Wyndham Championship hit it big with several top names making late commitments in an effort to assure their place in the playoffs.

That's why Ernie Els, at No. 126 in the points, is playing Greensboro this week. The same goes for Padraig Harrington, No. 130, who rescheduled a planned vacation, and it's why Angel Cabrera, No. 150, is at Sedgefield.

As Els said on his blog this week, "This really is a last chance saloon, as they say."

Toss in Anthony Kim, Ian Poulter, Jim Furyk, Paul Casey and Davis Love III, and Greensboro has one of the most attractive fields it has had in many years.

Like other years, it figures to be one of the lower-scoring events on tour this year.

"You have to make a lot of birdies," Charles Howell III said. "That's not the end of the world."

Observations

If the Wyndham Championship were ever to get Tiger Woods, this would have been the year, with him wallowing in 129th on the points list with one week remaining to qualify. But Woods said two weeks ago he wouldn't play Greensboro because of family obligations.

It's disappointing for the tournament because of the buzz that would have been created, but based on the way he played at the PGA Championship, there's no certainty Woods would have played well enough to qualify for the playoffs. It was shocking to see how poorly he played in Atlanta.

In our rush to judgment world, the question immediately after Keegan Bradley's impressive win in the PGA Championship is whether he's potentially one of the next top American players or a one-hit wonder.

It's too soon to know, obviously, but I lean toward believing Bradley will be a very good player for a long time. It's about more than his golf game, which was often spectacular at Atlanta Athletic Club. He radiates a positive vibe and has a personality that's going to make him more popular as he becomes more familiar to fans.

Don't underestimate the value of a smile. Bradley showed his Sunday while Jason Dufner never did. Maybe it's not in Dufner's nature to show his emotions, but it would be nice to have seen him smile at least once when he was stacking up birdies on his way to a five-stroke lead.

If Bradley wins a tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs, he might pull off the rare double of being PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.

By the numbers

Ernie Els' favorite U.S. courses (from ernieels.com)

1. Oakmont CC

2. Shinnecock Hills GC

3. Riviera CC

4. Pine Valley GC

5. Whistling Straits

6. Merion GC

7. Congressional CC

8. Augusta National GC

9. Pebble Beach Golf Links

10. Bears Club

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