Bensel wins PGA Assistant Championship

By Associated PressNovember 6, 2011, 10:13 pm

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Frank Bensel overcame an eight-stroke deficit Sunday to win the Callaway Golf PGA Assistant Championship for the second straight year, shooting a 6-under 66 in windy conditions for an improbable one-stroke victory.

The 43-year-old Bensel, the PGA assistant professional at Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y., had an eagle, five birdies and just one bogey to finish at 5-under 283 on PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course.

“I couldn’t believe it. This game is so unpredictable,” Bensel said. “I knew the only way I was going to get back into the tournament was to have the wind howl again and make some putts. Both of those things happened.”

He earned a spot in the PGA Professional National Championship in June, and the top 10 finishers and ties received berths in the first stage of the 2012 PGA Tour qualifying tournament.

Third-round leaders Aaron Clark of Springfield, Mo., and Scott Berliner of Albany, N.Y., shot 75s to tie for second with Jamie Broce of Clayton, Ind.; Tyler Hitchcock of Orlando, Fla.; Ryan Sikora of Greensburg, Pa.; and Richard Terga of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Bensel holed out from 118 yards for eagle on the par-4 12th.

“I really started off slow, but then caught fire on six,” Bensel said. “And then on 12, I knew the shot was good, but didn’t actually know it went in right away because of a ridge right in front of the cup.”

He parred the difficult 18th hole.

“The 18th hole was playing hard with the pin up, water in front and the wind in our face,” Bensel said. “But I snuck by with a par and that ended up saving me in the end.”

Bensel became the fourth player to win more than one title, joining Darrell Kestner (1982, `87), Jim Schuman (1996, `97) and Kyle Flinton (2002, `03, `05).

“It was a great day for me today,” Bensel said. “The course was extremely hard and I caught some breaks. I feel privileged to win this championship not once, but twice. It’s special.”

Aaron Clark, a PGA apprentice at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield, Mo., had a chance to get into a playoff with Bensel, but his 3 1/2-foot par putt hit the back of the hole and lipped out.

“On 18, I hit a bad second shot, a good chip, and then the 3 1/2-footer I had left hit the back of the hole and came out,” Clark said. “But the two double bogeys earlier in the round today really sealed my fate.”

Berliner, who had a share of the lead in each of the first three rounds, also had a chance to force a playoff. His 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole came up short.

The front nine was a disaster,” said Berliner, a PGA assistant pro at Normanside Country Club in Delmar, N.Y. “But I got back into it with birdies on 15 and 16 to give myself a chance. I knew what I needed to do and I hit a pitching wedge to 6 feet. But I left it short. I know I will take something from this later, but right now it’s pretty tough.”

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.