Flesch Cruises to Title in New York

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
Turning Stone Resort ChampionshipVERONA, New York -- Steve Flesch shot a 1-over 73 on Sunday and beat Michael Allen by two shots to win the inaugural Turning Stone Resort Championship, the left-hander's second PGA TOUR victory in two months.
 
Flesch had an 18-under 270 total and won $1.08 million to boost his earnings for 2007 to $2.2 million, vaulting him from 70th on the money list into the top 30. He also earned a spot in the U.S. Open next year as a multiple winner since the last Open.
 
For Flesch, who began the day with a four-shot lead over Carl Pettersson and Charles Warren, it was his fourth career victory on the PGA TOUR and marked the third straight time he's won after holding the 54-hole lead. The third-round leader has won two of the last eight events on the PGA TOUR, dating to Flesch's victory at the Reno-Tahoe Open in August.
 
It was a banner day, nonetheless, for the 48-year-old Allen (68), who last year made his 13th trip to the Q-school finals and earned his PGA TOUR card for a record ninth time. Although Allen failed to get his first victory, he earned $648,000 to boost his earnings to a career-high $960,297, inside the top 100 on the money list.
 
John Senden (67) and rookie John Mallinger (68) tied for third at 15 under, one shot ahead of Pettersson (73), Tommy Armour III (68), Mathew Goggin (69), Charley Hoffman (69) and rookie Parker McLachlin (71).
 
Warren (74) and Bill Haas (71), who began the tournament ranked 126th on the money list, finished in a tie for 10th at 13 under.
 
It wasn't difficult to figure out how Flesch won. Over the first three rounds, he reached 51 of 54 greens in regulation, hit 32 of 42 fairways, made 14 putts of more than 10 feet, and was 11 under on the more difficult back nine, including a course-record 30 on Friday that included four birdies and an eagle. That put him at 19 under and tied the PGA TOUR's lowest 54-hole score in relation to par this year.
 
The largest come-from-behind win on tour this year was by Padraig Harrington, who came from six shots back on the final day to win the British Open. There were only three players within six shots of Flesch at the start of play Sunday -- Pettersson and Warren were the closest at four shots back -- but Flesch made it interesting for a while with three bad shots on the first two holes.
 
Flesch began the round by driving into a fairway bunker on the opening hole, a 404-yard par-4. He hit cleanly out but 40 yards short of the pin, and despite a perfect lie mishit his third shot. It skidded left into a greenside bunker, he hit out to 40 feet and two-putted for bogey.
 
There was more trouble at No. 2, another par-4. After a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway, Flesch's second shot sailed past the green into the rough 43 feet from the hole. And when he slid his chip 15 past the pin, he was unable to salvage par and dropped back to 17 under.
 
Flesch finally regained his stroke at the 203-yard par-3 third hole, hitting his drive to 4 feet and making birdie while Pettersson settled for his third straight par.
 
Pettersson found trouble at No. 4. Both he and Flesch drove into a fairway bunker along the right side, their balls stopping in the sand 6 inches from one another. Flesch hit out first and lofted his second shot to 9 feet and made birdie. Pettersson hooked his second shot left, it rolled down a hill to the right of the green, some 62 feet from the pin, and he two-putted for bogey from inside 15 feet.
 
Any chance Pettersson might still have had disappeared along with his ball at the par-5 fifth hole, statistically the easiest hole on the course. After a nice drive at the 552-yard dogleg left, Pettersson hooked a fairway wood low and left toward a giant water hazard. The ball landed in 3-foot-high weeds on a near-vertical slope, forcing Pettersson to take a penalty, and he made bogey again.
 
Warren, who finished a career-best second to Flesch at Reno, fell back quickly with two bogeys on the first three holes.
 
The first two rounds at the 7,482-yard Atunyote Golf Club course were played under ideal conditions, with temperatures in the 80s and hardly a breeze, and several players went low each day. And even though the wind picked up Saturday, gusting as high as 25 mph, Flesch and many of the leaders had 6-under 66s.
 
On Sunday, with the wind a steady 12-15 mph and gusting to over 20 mph, Flesch coasted to victory without a challenge, even though he made seven straight pars and bogeyed two of his last three holes.
 
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  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”