Chapman hopes to build on success at Regions Tradition

By Associated PressJune 6, 2012, 8:38 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Roger Chapman got to rest up Monday, even giving away his tickets to a Coldplay concert.

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Englishman who pulled off a stunning wire-to-wire win at the Senior PGA Championship that gave him a one-year exemption and thus more opportunities for lazy Mondays now that he doesn't have to spend them trying to qualify for Champions Tour events.

Now, Chapman is aiming to show that wasn't a fluke at the year's second major, the $2.2 million Regions Tradition, starting Thursday at Shoal Creek.

''I think you're under a little bit of pressure,'' he said. ''You want to obviously do well again. It's going to be interesting how I handle it. At Benton Harbor, I was just in this little cocoon for four days. If you could bottle that up and sell it, you would be a wealthy man. Everything felt so good.

''But yeah, there is a little bit more added pressure to perform well and just prove that hopefully it wasn't a one-hit wonder.''

Chapman plays on the European Senior Tour and his biggest highlight previously was a European Tour win in Brazil 12 years ago. He claimed a conditional exemption on the Champions Tour in 2010 and lost his status last year, forcing him to attempt to qualify on Mondays.

Getting out of that position is, he said, ''absolutely brilliant.''

Chapman competed in 11 Champions Tour events last year without a Top 25 finish and a meager (for a pro golfer) $88,169 in winnings. He got $378,000 for winning the Senior PGA in his first event of the year in the U.S., putting him in good position to maintain his exemption through 2013 with a Top 30 finish on the money list.

Chapman beat John Cook by two strokes but had the pressure mostly off after leading by nine through seven holes on the final day at Harbor Shores in Michigan.

It touched off a giddy plane ride back home. Media obligations even caused him to miss his flight from South Bend, Ind., despite a police escort part of the way that he called ''very cool.''

''I couldn't sleep at all,'' Chapman said. ''Kept walking up and down the aisle. I was just fidgety, I was too hyper and I just wanted to see the family. I knew they were going to meet me at the airport with flags and balloons and everything. It's been brilliant.''

He celebrated the next night at a favored pub, The Lounge in Sunningdale, where ''there were balloons and party poppers and lots of beer.''

Chapman, a former English Amateur champion, had been working as a rules official on the European Tour in 2007 and 2008 before becoming eligible to join the over-50 crowd.

He competed in Spain last weekend and arrived in Birmingham Tuesday night. Chapman hadn't seen Shoal Creek except on TV at the PGA Championships and last year's Champions Tour debut.

''It looks like a great atmosphere and everybody's buzzing about the tournament,'' he said. ''And what sort of thrilled me most are the players that have come up to me and said, 'Well played.' That's been pretty cool.''

Michael Allen has known Chapman since playing in Europe for three years during the late 1980s.

''I know he's a really good player who really hasn't played well over here so far this year until (the Senior PGA),'' said Allen, the Schwab Cup points leader. ''He was certainly the best player that week. It's one of the great things about golf, it takes a week or two and you can be in the same game and be a big part of it. It's great.''

Doing it twice in a row against the Champions Tour's elder statesmen would be a ''brilliant'' feat.

Jay Haas is coming off a five-stroke win over Larry Mize at the Principal Charity Classic. Tom Lehman won the last of his three 2011 titles at Shoal Creek. He won with a par on the second playoff hole last year to beat Peter Senior.

Lehman is coming off a tie with Fred Funk for fourth place at the Principal Charity Classic.

''Having had one year of experience here, which was a very good experience, there's no guarantee of success again this year,'' Lehman said. ''But I tend to not get too concerned with being defending champion. Just because I won last year, there's no certainty that I will again this year. With that said, my game is in good shape. I've been playing pretty well the last month and a half or so and I feel pretty good.''

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Watch: Daly makes an ace at the Chubb Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 9:01 pm

John Daly won't walk from the Chubb Classic with the trophy, but he certainly deserves recogition for his Sunday scorecard, which came complete with a hole-in-one.

Daly aced the 154-yard par-3 16th on the Talon Course at TwinEagles, when his ball carried the froont bunker and tracked right to the hole.

Two holes later, Daly signed for a final-round 67 that included four birdies, three bogeys and two eagles, which both in the span of four holes on the back nine.

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Gustafson shares stuttering success video

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 8:31 pm

Sophie Gustafson shared a breakthrough Sunday morning on YouTube.

Gustafson, a five-time LPGA winner and 16-time Ladies European Tour winner, shared her news in a 4-minute and 15-second video.

She did so without stuttering.

And that’s the nature of her breakthrough, something she is sharing in hopes that it will help others who stutter.

“I’m certainly not perfect, and the next time you see me, I am going to stutter, there is no question about that,” she says in the video. “But I am excited, because I am going in the right direction, and I believe I have found the solution that works for me.”

For someone who has struggled with stuttering all of her life, Gustafson has touched so many with her ability to communicate. She has entertained her legion of Twitter followers with her sense of humor. She also has written articles.

Back in 2011, Gustafson touched Golf Channel viewers when she opened up about her stuttering in an interview that was aired during the Solheim Cup. Her courage in sharing her challenges was recognized the following year, when the Golf Writers Association of American presented her its Ben Hogan Award, an honor bestowed to someone who has persevered through physical ailment. She also won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award that year.

Gustafson, 44, left the game as a player three years ago to become Beth Allen’s full-time caddie on the Ladies European Tour. She explains in the YouTube video that she is making her breakthrough with the help of Steve Gill, a team member with Tony Robbins’ life and business strategy group.

Gustafson said Gill led her to breathing, meditation and incantation exercises that have helped her since they began working together eight months ago.

“If you know anyone who stutters, tell them to breathe in and then speak,” Gustafson said. “I tried it the other way for 44 years, and it's just not working.” 

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J.Y. Ko wins her first start as an official LPGA member

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 4:09 pm

Make way for Jin Young Ko.

The South Koreans keep delivering one new star after another to the LPGA ranks, and they aren’t going to disappoint this year.

Ko made some history Sunday winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She became the first player in 67 years to win her LPGA debut as a tour member. Beverly Hanson (1951) is the only other player to do so.

Hyejin Choi, an 18-year-old who just turned pro, is yet another emerging South Korean star looking to crack the LPGA ranks. She finished second Sunday, three shots back after closing with a 67. She played on a sponsor exemption. She is already No. 11 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and likely to move up when the newest rankings are released. Had Choi won Sunday, she could have claimed LPGA membership for the rest of this season.


Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


Ko, 22, moved herself into early position to try to follow in Sung Hyun Park’s footsteps. Park won the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards last year. She joined Nancy Lopez as the only players to do so. Lopez did it in 1978. Park shared the Player of the Year honor with So Yeon Ryu.

Ko said winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award is a goal, but she didn’t come into the year setting her sights on Player of the Year.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” she said.

Ko finished at 14 under overall.

It was a good week for rookies. Australia’s Hannah Green (69) finished third.

Ko claimed LPGA membership this year based on her victory as a non-member at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea last fall. She’s already a star in South Korea, having won 10 times on the Korean LPGA Tour. She is No. 20 in the world and, like Choi, poised to move up when the newest world rankings are released.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko closed with an even par 72, finishing tied for 19th in her 2018 debut. She is in next week’s field at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

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Luiten takes title at inaugural Oman Open

By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:25 pm

MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten of the Netherlands won the inaugural Oman Open on Sunday to break a title drought of nearly 17 months.

The 32-year-old Dutchman shot a 4-under 68 to finish on 16-under 272, two shots ahead of his friend, England's Chris Wood (69).

It was Luiten's sixth European Tour title and the first since the 2016 KLM Open.

Frenchman Julien Guerrier (71) virtually assured that he would not have to go to qualifying school for the 12th time with a third-place finish after a 13-under 275.

Luiten started with three birdies in his first four holes, but bogeys on the seventh and eighth set him back. On the back nine, he made three birdies, including a key one on the 16th, where he made a 30-foot putt.

''It feels great. I didn't know what to expect when I came here but to play a course like this which is in great condition - it's a great technical golf course as well - it was beyond my expectation and to hold the trophy is even better,'' said Luiten, who is expected to rise to No. 65 in the new rankings on Monday.

''I had a great start, that's what I was hoping for. I hit some nice ones in close and rolled in a couple of nice putts and that gets you in the right position, where you want to be.


Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


''Unfortunately, I had a couple of bogeys as well on the front nine, but I recovered from that with a couple of nice birdies on the back nine and it was a good battle with Woody.''

Playing one group ahead, England's Wood was right in the mix and tied with Luiten at 15-under when their fortunes went in opposite directions almost at the same time. On the 17th hole, Wood drove his tee shot into the hazard left and could do no more than chip his ball out for a bogey. Luiten, meanwhile, drained his 30-footer birdie putt on the 16th for a two-shot swing.

Recovering his form after a series of disappointments, Wood was let down by the loss and said: ''It's golf isn't it? You are never happy.

''I played poorly for six or eight months. Would have never thought I would have put myself into contention. And when you do, you feel gutted when you don't win. I am pretty down really, but in the grand scheme of things, when I reflect after a couple of days, I will think it is a big step in the right direction.''

Luiten's win also got him into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai, securing him a start at the WGC-Mexico Championship in two weeks.

Frenchman Alexander Levy (70), who was hoping to finish in the top five to push into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai and grab the WGC-Mexico spot himself, did manage a joint fourth place at 11 under, but Luiten's victory kept him 11th.

The European Tour next moves to Doha for the Qatar Masters starting on Thursday.