Chapman cruises to Senior PGA crown

By Associated PressMay 27, 2012, 10:35 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – After taking a nine-stroke lead early in the final round of the Senior PGA Championship, Roger Chapman needed only to play out the remaining holes and savor the greatest moment of his professional life.

That's when he began to think about his mentor, George Will, who died two years ago after doing so much to help Chapman's career.

''Your mind just starts to wander a bit,'' Chapman said. ''I was thinking of George all the way around – what he would be thinking.''

By that point, Chapman didn't need to focus totally on his round. After making three bogeys in the final five holes, he held on to win comfortably by two shots Sunday, wrapping up a phenomenal performance in which he held at least a share of the lead at the end of each day. The Englishman had never won on the Champions Tour, but he took control of the major championship during the final two rounds.

Chapman led by five after 54 holes and was never really threatened on the last day at Harbor Shores. He closed with a 1-over 72 – his worst score of the tournament – to finish at 13-under par. John Cook was second after a 69, and Hale Irwin was another stroke back after a 68.

Kenny Perry had a tournament-record 62 to finish five shots behind in ninth place.

''In the back of your mind you think, 'Can I blow a five-shot lead?' The negative man sitting on your shoulder there, telling you all the things that could happen,'' Chapman said. ''It is difficult, when you haven't been in that position before.''

Prior to this week, the only real highlight of Chapman's pro career was a win in Brazil at a European Tour event in 2000. The European Senior Tour has held only one tournament this year, so Chapman hadn't played many competitive rounds before coming to Harbor Shores.

Chapman could trace this win back 40 years, when he was a 13-year-old with hopes of playing professionally. That's when he met Will.

''When he passed away in 2010, it was like losing your best friend,'' Chapman said. ''He was my father figure and if I hadn't met him I don't think I would be sitting here right now. ... He had the belief in me to work with me and never took one penny for a lesson. It was all for free. Not one penny.'''

Chapman became the first player since Irwin in 2004 to win the Senior PGA Championship after holding at least a share of the lead following each round. Chapman's third-round 64 helped him pull away from Cook, and he extended his lead on the front nine Sunday.

Chapman birdied Nos. 4 and 6, and after another birdie on the par-4 seventh, he led by nine. At that point, the only suspenseful race was for second place.

''I can't say it was fun to watch, but it was impressive to watch,'' Cook said. ''He's a good man, though. I'm happy for him. We know what he's been through.''

Cook made birdies on Nos. 9, 13 and 14, and he trailed by only four after Chapman bogeyed the par-4 14th. But Cook missed a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 15, a par 5 that was the easiest hole on the course during the tournament.

A bogey on No. 17 trimmed Chapman's lead to three strokes, but he kept his tee shot in the fairway on No. 18. Chapman missed the green with his approach, but so did Cook. On an emotional walk toward the 18th green, Chapman took his hat off to acknowledge the crowd, then eventually gathered himself and calmly finished with another bogey to win by two.

''I made a couple of mistakes,'' Chapman said. ''And then you're thinking, 'Well, it's only four shots now.' But four shots is a lot.''

There were plenty of low scores Sunday, even as the temperature hovered around 90 degrees at the 6,822-yard course. Perry began the day 15 strokes behind the leader, so winning was never realistic, but he put on a clinic, shooting 31 on each nine. Perry broke the Senior PGA Championship record for a single round of 63 set by Arnold Palmer in 1984 and Buck White in 1961, although they both did it on par-72 courses.

''I knew I wasn't going to catch Roger,'' Perry said. ''I was just going at every stick and didn't really care, didn't have any fears or thoughts, and I wish I could learn to play golf like that every day.''

Peter Senior shot a 63 on Sunday – including a 28 on the back nine – and tied with four other players at 9 under. Sandy Lyle and Joe Daley were in that group, too. They shot 64.

Chapman is second in the Schwab Cup standings behind Michael Allen.


That's when he began to think about his mentor, George Will, who died two years ago after doing so much to help Chapman's career.

''Your mind just starts to wander a bit,'' Chapman said. ''I was thinking of George all the way around – what he would be thinking.''

By that point, Chapman didn't need to focus totally on his round. After making three bogeys in the final five holes, he held on to win comfortably by two shots Sunday, wrapping up a phenomenal performance in which he held at least a share of the lead at the end of each day. The Englishman had never won on the Champions Tour, but he took control of the major championship during the final two rounds.

Chapman led by five after 54 holes and was never really threatened on the last day at Harbor Shores. He closed with a 1-over 72 – his worst score of the tournament – to finish at 13-under par. John Cook was second after a 69, and Hale Irwin was another stroke back after a 68.

Kenny Perry had a tournament-record 62 to finish five shots behind in ninth place.

''In the back of your mind you think, 'Can I blow a five-shot lead?' The negative man sitting on your shoulder there, telling you all the things that could happen,'' Chapman said. ''It is difficult, when you haven't been in that position before.''

Prior to this week, the only real highlight of Chapman's pro career was a win in Brazil at a European Tour event in 2000. The European Senior Tour has held only one tournament this year, so Chapman hadn't played many competitive rounds before coming to Harbor Shores.

Chapman could trace this win back 40 years, when he was a 13-year-old with hopes of playing professionally. That's when he met Will.

''When he passed away in 2010, it was like losing your best friend,'' Chapman said. ''He was my father figure and if I hadn't met him I don't think I would be sitting here right now. ... He had the belief in me to work with me and never took one penny for a lesson. It was all for free. Not one penny.'''

Chapman became the first player since Irwin in 2004 to win the Senior PGA Championship after holding at least a share of the lead following each round. Chapman's third-round 64 helped him pull away from Cook, and he extended his lead on the front nine Sunday.

Chapman birdied Nos. 4 and 6, and after another birdie on the par-4 seventh, he led by nine. At that point, the only suspenseful race was for second place.

''I can't say it was fun to watch, but it was impressive to watch,'' Cook said. ''He's a good man, though. I'm happy for him. We know what he's been through.''

Cook made birdies on Nos. 9, 13 and 14, and he trailed by only four after Chapman bogeyed the par-4 14th. But Cook missed a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 15, a par 5 that was the easiest hole on the course during the tournament.

A bogey on No. 17 trimmed Chapman's lead to three strokes, but he kept his tee shot in the fairway on No. 18. Chapman missed the green with his approach, but so did Cook. On an emotional walk toward the 18th green, Chapman took his hat off to acknowledge the crowd, then eventually gathered himself and calmly finished with another bogey to win by two.

''I made a couple of mistakes,'' Chapman said. ''And then you're thinking, 'Well, it's only four shots now.' But four shots is a lot.''

There were plenty of low scores Sunday, even as the temperature hovered around 90 degrees at the 6,822-yard course. Perry began the day 15 strokes behind the leader, so winning was never realistic, but he put on a clinic, shooting 31 on each nine. Perry broke the Senior PGA Championship record for a single round of 63 set by Arnold Palmer in 1984 and Buck White in 1961, although they both did it on par-72 courses.

''I knew I wasn't going to catch Roger,'' Perry said. ''I was just going at every stick and didn't really care, didn't have any fears or thoughts, and I wish I could learn to play golf like that every day.''

Peter Senior shot a 63 on Sunday – including a 28 on the back nine – and tied with four other players at 9 under. Sandy Lyle and Joe Daley were in that group, too. They shot 64.

Chapman is second in the Schwab Cup standings behind Michael Allen.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.