Garcia Wins PLAYERS in Playoff

By Associated PressMay 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Sunday at Sawgrass felt tougher on Sergio Garcia than what he faced last summer at the British Open, a playoff loss that seemed to define a career filled with more talent than trophies.
 
He was tormented by a suspect putter. He heard questions whether he could win a big one.
 
All that changed in the final hour of THE PLAYERS Championship thanks to two clutch putts, a wedge that found safety on an island and a playoff victory that Garcia desperately needed.
 
The best player without a major got the next best thing, making a 7-foot par putt that put him in a playoff, then beating Paul Goydos on the notorious island-green 17th with a wedge into 4 feet and a putt he could afford to miss after Goydos hit into the water.
 
It feels like a major, and it tests you like a major, Garcia said. Im so thrilled to be here standing with the trophy.
 
It was a long time coming.
 
Garcia was in the longest victory drought of his career, stretching over three years and 53 starts on the PGA TOUR. Motivated by criticism of his putting, he rolled in one critical putt after another, none bigger than a slippery par putt on the final hole for a 1-under 71.
 
It put him in a playoff when Goydos missed a 15-foot par putt in the final group behind him.
 
The first playoff in 21 years at The Players didnt last long. Goydos, hitting first, watched helplessly as a gust caused his wedge to balloon into the cloudy skies and land with a splash a few feet in front of the green.
 
Garcia, with no margin for error, followed with a wedge that landed on the green, caught a slope and stopped 4 feet away. He missed the birdie putt, but it didnt matter.
 
Goydos wound up with a double bogey and a horrible coincidence.
 
There were 65 balls hit into the water during the tournament. Goydos was the first to deposit one in the opening round Thursday, and the last at the worst possible time in a sudden-death playoff.
 
For a guy with only two victories in his career, Goydos was abundantly gracious in defeat.
 
Look at the shot Sergio hit in the playoff, Goydos said. I got beat. I played good golf. That doesnt mean you win. Theres no defense. I cant tackle the little guy. Theres no knee-capping. You have to accept the guy beat me.
 
They key is to have the lead with no holes to go.
 
Garcia and Goydos each finished at 5-under 283.
 
The 28-year-old Spaniard, whose seven PGA TOUR victories are the most by players under age 30, earned $1.71 million from the richest purse in golf and again enters the conversation as a major contender with the U.S. Open a month away.
 
The goal is to keep getting better, and the only thing this tells me is to keep working hard and to believe in myself, Garcia said. And when I do believe in myself, I think theres not a lot of guys out there that can beat me.
 
Im looking forward to keep going. I dont want to get stuck here.
 
The consolation for Goydos was $1.026 million for second place, more than he earned for winning the Sony Open last year. And he felt no shame losing to Garcia, whom he raved about earlier in the week as one of the top talents in the game.
 
Hes right there on the precipice of great things, Goydos said.
 
Jeff Quinney had a chance to join the playoff. He went bogey-free for 10 holes in gusts that topped 40 mph at times, but failed to save par from a bunker behind the 18th green and had to settle for a 70 and third place alone, one shot behind.
 
Garcia never needed a victory so badly.
 
He had a 10-foot putt to win the British Open at Carnoustie last summer, then lost in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. No club troubled him more than the putter, and this week on the TPC Sawgrass was no exception.
 
Garcia took 124 putts in regulation, 18 more than Goydos.
 
But he sure came up big in the final round, rolling in a collection of par putts that kept him in the hunt, birdie putts that challenged Goydos and a par on the 18th hole that made this victory possible.
 

Sergio Garcia, of Spain, waves
 
Two of them stood out for the Spaniard.
 
One came on the par-3 17th in regulation, when Garcia lagged a 45-foot putt from the fringe to 3 feet for par. Miss it and he falls two shots behind with one hole to play. It was slick, and he poured it in the heart.
 
The longest 3 feet Ive ever seen, Garcia said.
 
The other came on the 18th after a tee shot into the right rough left him no chance to reach the green. He came up 50 yards short, his pitch ran by the hole and Garcia was discouraged to see it roll so far by. Those are the putts he hasnt made.
 
But he felt a strange sense of calm, knowing he was going to make the par, and he did.
 
I was so happy to see that putt go in, he said.
 
Playing for the first time in his career with a 54-hole lead, Goydos battled to keep it. He made two unlikely birdies, a 50-foot putt on No. 4 and chipping in from 100 feet on No. 10, and led by three shots with five holes to play.
 
But a two-shot swing on the 14th set up the finish. Garcia rolled in a 45-foot birdie putt, while Goydos approach came within inches of hitting the flag, bounding over the green. He missed a 10-footer for par.
 
The wind was relentless, stronger than it had been all week, turning the Stadium Course into a terror.
 
It might have been worse except that tour officials did not cut the greens and applied a double dose of water. That didnt keep Jesper Parnevik from posting an 85, the highest score at TPC Sawgrass in five years. It was one of nine rounds in the 80s, but not the most damaging. Kenny Perry, who started the final round one shot behind, shot 81.
 
Defending champion Phil Mickelson knew what he was up against early. Walking from the putting green to the first tee, a gust blew his cap off his head and sent it tumbling into the pond. Lefty hooked his opening tee shot into a mound and three-putted for double bogey, and his hopes of being the first repeat winner ended with a 3-foot birdie he missed on No. 11 and a tee shot into a palmetto bush on the 12th.
 
He closed with a 78.
 
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    Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

    The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

    Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

    The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

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    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

    MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

    The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

    England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

    The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.


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    ''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

    Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

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    J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

    ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

    The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

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    "I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

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    Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

    LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

    Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

    He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

    ''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

    Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

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    Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

    ''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

    He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

    McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

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