American Prugh wins first at New Zealand Open

By Associated PressMarch 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
Nationwide TourQUEENSTOWN, New Zealand ' American Alex Prugh won the New Zealand Open on Sunday for his first Nationwide Tour title, pulling away with his second eagle of the round and finishing three strokes ahead of countryman Martin Piller.
 
The 24-year-old former University of Washington player finished with an 8-under 64 for a 19-under 269 total on The Hills course. He earned $108,000 in the event also sanctioned by the Australasian Tour.
 
If anything, this builds a lot of confidence for me, Prugh said. The last time I felt nerves like that might have been at the Pacific Coast Amateur in 2005, but there were no leaderboards there and we were playing in front of 30 people, not the thousands we had out here. I definitely thought Id be more nervous coming down the stretch.
 
Prugh, who joined Corey Pavin (1984 and 1985) as the only Americans champions in the event first played in 1907, made a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-5 17th to take a four-stroke lead. He also eagled the par-4 eighth, holing a pitching wedge.
 
That one really kick-started my round, Prugh said about the unexpected eagle on No. 8. I thought, now we can really go.
 
He had four birdies in a back-nine 30, and played the final 10 holes in 8 under on the scenic course.
 
Where I grew up in eastern Washington, near the Idaho border, it looked a lot like this place, said Prugh, from Spokane. There were some lakes and some ski resorts in the area. Ive felt more at home here than anyplace weve been on tour so far.
 
Prugh took the lead with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, then wrapped it up with the eagle on 17.
 
I hit a great 3-wood in there. I knew there was plenty of green and grass to the right and the only place I couldnt miss was left, Prugh said. That putt was uphill, breaking on a tier. I played it about 4 feet outside. When it got close, I saw it was dead center.
 
Piller, the third-round leader, shot a 68. The 23-year-old former Texas A&M player was making his fourth career Nationwide Tour start.
 
Its a little disappointing that I didnt get it done, but I gave it everything I had, Piller said. I didnt leave anything in the bag. When you shoot 64 like that, youre going to win some tournaments. My hats off to Alex.
 
American Jim Herman had a 68 to finish third at 14 under. American Jeff Gove (70) and New Zealands Josh Geary (71) were 12 under along with Australians Craig Parry (69), Peter Senior (68), Andrew Bonhomme (66) and Stephen Dartnall (68).
 
Richard Johnson aced the par-4 15th, only the second hole-in-one on a par 4 in Nationwide Tour history. Steven Jeffress also made a hole-in-one on the hole during the 2007 New Zealand Open, an event sanctioned by the Australasian and European tours.
 
Johnsons hole-in-one on the 347-yard hole vaulted him from 10 under to 13 under and just two shots off the lead at the time. He bogeyed the next two holes and finished with a 70 to tie for 10th at 11 under.
 
I just aimed for the gap in the traps and smashed it as hard as I could, Johnson said. I figured if I hit it really good Id have a chance to get it in that back corner. I never saw it. Its too far but I heard the crowd go nuts.
 
Johnson will receive a pallet of beer from tournament sponsor Heineken, or 125 dozen bottles, which multiplies out to 1,500 bottles.
 
I wonder if it will last more than a couple of weeks, Johnson said. I didnt know how much a pallet was. I just knew it was more than a case.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - New Zealand Open
  • Full Coverage - New Zealand Open
  • Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.