DiMarco Goes from Playoff to MC

By Associated PressApril 7, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Chris DiMarco sure could have used this shot a year ago.
 
DiMarco made an eagle Friday with his final swing at the Masters, holing out a 6-iron on the 18th hole. Alas, it wasn't nearly enough to get him to the weekend at Augusta National -- a startling change from the position he was in last April.
 
Chris DiMarco
Chris DiMarco will have to wait another year before he has a chance to win the Masters.
The plucky DiMarco had a stirring Sunday duel with Tiger Woods at the 2005 Masters, forcing a playoff with the world's best player.
 
Woods won his fourth green jacket with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole -- another close-but-no-cigar call for the short-hitting player who putts with that strange 'claw' grip.
 
This time, DiMarco didn't come close to challenging for his first major title. He put himself in a big hole at the start with a 4-over 76. He followed with a 74 -- a score bolstered by that improbable shot from 177 yards, but still two strokes shy of making the 4-over 148 cut.
 
'It just wasn't meant to be,' DiMarco said with a shrug.
 
Plenty of others were on their way out of town, including U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, whose week began with a random drive-by shooting -- he wasn't hurt -- and ended with a 76-75 in the Masters.
 
Lehman managed only one birdie over two days and finished with a 7-over 151, three strokes too much and a blow to his hopes of being the first U.S. playing captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963.
 
Of course, Lehman has an inside track to the team even if he fails to crack the top 10 in the points -- the captain gets to pick the last two players himself.
 
Also missing the cut: reigning U.S. Open champ Michael Campbell (149); 2005 Tour Championship winner Bart Bryant (149); and former No. 1 player in the world David Duval (159), who certainly had the most interesting round of the day.
 
Already staggering after an opening-round 84, Duval began the day with a double bogey at No. 1 and a quintuple-bogey 10 at the second, when he drove into a hazard on the left and took two more penalty strokes before he finally escaped.
 
But Duval bounced back, making five birdies over his final 12 holes and a 32 on the back nine on the way to signing for a 75. Not nearly good enough to make the cut, but quite a recovery nonetheless.
 
While Duval has been mired in a mystifying slump for nearly five years, DiMarco appeared on the verge of breaking through in a major. He lost a three-man playoff to Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA Championship, then came up short against Woods eight months later.
 
DiMarco feels as though he lost a chipping contest at last year's Masters.
 
Woods pulled off a memorable birdie on the 16th hole with a shot that nearly stopped twice -- once at the top of the slope, then again at the edge of the cup before dropping in. DiMarco had a chance to rewrite history with his own chip from the edge of the 18th green, but the ball rattled the pin and stayed out.
 
Asked what he would have given to pull off an eagle at No. 18 last year, DiMarco jokingly pushed aside his 10-year-old son, Cristian, and said, 'See ya boy!'
 
Actually, he still had faint hopes of making the cut when he approached the last hole this time.
 
'I was just trying to hang in there and make a birdie because you never know what might happen out there with the wind swirling and the greens firm,' DiMarco said.
 
The conditions were U.S. Open-style tough, but the scores didn't go high enough for DiMarco to move on. So, he's moving out, settling for a pair of crystal goblets awarded by Augusta National to anyone making an eagle.
 
Seven golfers at 149 -- a group that included Campbell, Bryant and Colin Montgomerie -- were the most unfortunate.
 
The 36-hole leader, Chad Campbell, sneaked in a 15-foot birdie putt on the last hole, the ball spinning around the left edge before dropping in to give him a 6-under 138 total. If it stays out, everyone at 149 would have advanced to the weekend by being within 10 strokes of the top spot.
 
Then there's the most fortunate golfer in the field -- Brandt Jobe. He made an eagle at No. 10 that was even more remarkable than DiMarco's at the 18th, finding the cup with a 6-iron from 202 yards.
 
'I knew it was pretty good, but I couldn't believe it went in,' Jobe said. 'I just about fell over.'
 
He, too, gets a pair of crystal goblets -- and something even more rewarding. Jobe finished with a 148, just enough to make the cut.
 
Augusta National will save a bit on the awards it gives to the low amateur. To qualify for the prize, a not-for-pay player must actually make the cut. None of the five amateurs made it through this year, the first time that's happened since 2002.
 
In fact, none came close. Brian McElhinney had the best score among the amateurs, an 11-over 165 that was seven strokes too high to play on the weekend.
 
'It was the experience of a lifetime,' said McElhinney, who qualified for the Masters by winning the British Amateur. 'There's so much for my long game to improve. I will probably stay amateur another year.'
 
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.