Fred Funk takes three-shot lead at Senior British Open

By Associated PressJuly 24, 2009, 4:00 pm
Senior Open ChampionshipSUNNINGDALE, England ' Fred Funk shot a 5-under 65 for a three-shot lead at the Senior British Open on Friday.
 
He is a tournament-record 11 under through two rounds and leads Tom Watson by seven shots.
 
Funk has gone 36 holes without a bogey and his round, capped by a 174-yard 8-iron at the last hole for an eagle 2, gave him an 11-under 129, a 36-hole record total for the event.
Fred Funk smiles after holing his second shot for an eagle on the 18th hole during the second round at Sunningdale. (Getty Images)
He has a three-stroke lead over Sam Torrance, who also shot 65 and 2006 winner Loren Roberts another two shots back at 134.
 
Watson, trying to follow up his British Open runner-up finish on Sunday with a fourth Senior British Open title, shot 69 to share sixth place.
 
I turned a good round into a mediocre round with poor putting, Watson said. I had a lot of opportunities to make birdies today and didnt make them.
 
If I had putted average it would have been 67, maybe 66. If I had putted well, maybe 64. Tee to green was good.
 
He knows he has work to do.
 
Im a lot of shots off the lead the way Freddies playing. Well have to cut off his knee, or something, Watson joked.
 
Hes a straight driver of the ball and if you do that youre going to hit a lot of greens.
 
Watson made a grip adjustment on his putter late in his round which he hopes will help over the weekend.
 
Im just going to try and weaken my grip a little bit so I can feel both hands together a little bit more, to make myself release it better, he said. We always have to try something.
 
Senior PGA champion Michael Allen shot a 65 and was tied for fourth with Tom Kite (68).
 
Watson was tied at 4 under with Greg Norman (69), Mark McNulty (67), Don Pooley (66), Denis Watson (68) and Gordon J. Brand (68).
 
Funk finished his round half an hour before Watson and Norman were going to start, but they were delayed for two hours by a thunderstorm.
 
It meant that 18 players did not complete their rounds. They will do so early Saturday.
 
Funk said his score was better than he played.
 
Like yesterday, my front nine was not that solid, he said, pointing to par saves at the second and seventh holes. Yesterday I wasnt driving well on the front nine, today my irons were a bit ragged.
 
He birdied the par-5 first and 14th holes, the ones youre supposed to birdie. In between them I just plodded along.
 
Then he birdied 16 and eagled the last. Three under for the last three makes my day look better than it was, he said.
 
Torrance lives near Sunningdale and has played the course so often, he feels he knows the course and the greens better than anyone.
 
I know them like the back of my hand. I know where to hit the ball on them, he said.
 
Now Im in a position to do what I want to do this week, Europes 2004 Ryder Cup captain said.
 
He holed three big putts in mid-round, from 30 feet on the 10th, 15 feet on 11 and 12 feet on 13.
 
His drive on 18 finished in thick rough and his second cleared the green, but he had a flat lie from 20 feet and two-putted for par.
 
Roberts said he would have to start making a lot of birdies.
 
I know Fred is not going to back up. You have to be thinking about 5 under a round over the weekend, Roberts said.
 
Norman double-bogeyed the seventh where he drove into a bunker and then three-putted.
 
You just have to try to shoot the best score you can. You have to play your own game, he said.
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


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    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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    Man of the people


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    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Victory at Valderrama


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm