Any golf fan worth their weight in balatas will you tell that the best professional without a win is Steve Marino. Now 31, Marino has four second place finished and two thirds, the most recent close call coming last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The leaders were falling back, and Marino kept his wits about him. One of the things I've always said about first time winners in anything (PGA Tour, Nationwide, or majors) is that it seems now, with all the money and pressure that comes with a victory, falling into a win might be the best medicine. Marino never won on the Nationwide Tour. He has two victories on the Gateway Tour in his career, with one aided by a second round 59 at an extremely difficult golf course in Scottsdale. But it seems Marino can't find it when he has to.
After birdies on nine and 10, and a water ball by eventual champion Martin Laird, Marino was up three on the field with just eight holes to play, but he couldn't close the deal. Two buried lies in bunkers on 15 and 17 cost him three shots and he lost to Laird by one. It was, in a sense, the most painful way to lose a golf tournament. Come from behind, jump ahead of everyone, and then give it all back in a matter of a few holes.
So with that said, does it seem like Marino will ever close the deal? He has three top-fives this season, and if he continues to stand on the tracks, the winning train will smack him, but are the nerves too much? At Turnberry in 2009, Marino opened with rounds of 67-68 to find himself in the final group on Saturday at a major, but he closed with two nasty rounds of 76-75 to finish tied for 38th. He has been a part of a playoff that didn't go his way. And on Sunday, he was right where he needed to be with a few holes left, but bad decision making on 15, and a poor shot on 17 cost him.
Do I think he will eventually find a way to win? Sure, he seems too talented to go his whole career without holding the trophy. But as the runner-up finishes continue to pile up, those nasty golfing demons will continue to dance in that big noggin of his, and closing out that 72nd hole will get tougher and tougher.