Cook wins season-opening Mitsubishi

By Associated PressJanuary 24, 2011, 8:23 am

Champions TourKAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii – It was a run that John Cook had never experienced in his long, successful career.

Cook birdied five straight holes after the turn to win the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship on Sunday, shooting a second straight 8-under 64 for a two-stroke victory over Tom Lehman.

“I’ve hit some runs of birdies but never on Sunday on the back side to win a championship,” Cook said.

The 53-year-old Cook had eight birdies in his bogey-free round for a 22-under 194 total and his second straight victory. He finished last season with a successful title defense in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

The last player to win the last event of a season and the first of the next on the Champions Tour was Gil Morgan in 1997-98.

After two birdies on the front side, Cook scorched the back nine, dropping putt after putt. He birdied six holes during a seven-hole stretch to take home $305,000 and the hook-shaped trophy.

The win was Cook’s sixth on the 50-and-over circuit and his first in the islands since the 1992 Hawaiian Open at Waialae, which he considers one of his favorite wins.

Cook was relaxed and focused on Sunday, only distracted by the Pacific behind him.

“I get caught looking at the surf,” he said. “There’s a nice little left (surf break) behind the 17th green. I said, ‘Boy that would be nice right now – dig into one of those.”’

Cook began the day three strokes behind second-round-leader Russ Cochran and surged to the top of the leaderboard with his five birdies after making the turn by aggressively firing for the pins. The run was capped by a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th.

After going up-and-down for a rare par on No. 15, he got back to the birdie clinic by sticking his 7-iron shot to 3 feet to reach 22 under at 16, which he called “the killer.”

He tapped in for par on 17 for his first two-putt hole on the back nine and missed a 10-foot birdie try on the final hole. But even with a big lead, he never felt he had it in the bag.

“I grind to the end. That’s the way I practice. That’s the way I’ve learned. That’s the way it was instilled in me playing whatever sport I was playing,” he said. “You just grind until the end.

“You just never know. But I know one thing: Playing the last hole with a three-stroke lead is better than a one-shot lead.”

Lehman, who closed with a 64, had an eagle, eight birdies and two bogeys.

“I felt I was playing real well, but John Cook just kept making birdies,” Lehman said. “I don’t know what he shot over the last 10 or 11 holes, but it had to be low.”

Defending champion Tom Watson couldn’t overcome his three bogeys on the front nine and shot a 68 to finish third at 19 under, two strokes ahead of Cochran (72) and Jeff Sluman (68).

“After three-putting nine, that kind of put me behind the eight-ball because if any one is playing well, you’re going to shoot well on the back nine like John and Tom did,” Watson said.

At 61, Watson was vying to become the seventh oldest winner on the Champions Tour.

“I had too many defeats today and not enough victories when it came to my shot-making,” said Watson, who missed three short putts.

Every one was expecting a showdown between Watson and Cochran. But it was Cook taking control.

Cook pumped his fist twice after taking the outright lead for the first time at 18 under by bending in a left-to-right putt from about 30 feet on the par-4 11th where he nearly tumbled into the bunker.

He had an ugly, downslope lie a few inches of the bunker on his second shot. But his sweet putting came to the rescue.

Standing in the shadow of the palm tree, Cook holed a 3 1/2 -foot birdie putt to open up a three-stroke lead on 13.

Lehman made a move early with four birdies in the first seven to reach 16 under. He made back-to-back bogeys before the turn, but went birdie-par-birdie-eagle starting on No. 11 to put him back near Cook. Lehman birdied the final two holes to slip into second place.

“To shoot 20-under par and not win is tough to swallow,” he said.

Players had a third day of low-scoring conditions with just a gentle tradewind to contend with. Hualalai, surrounded by lava rock fields, $5 million homes and humpback whales in the ocean, has historically the been the easiest course on the Champions Tour.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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