Luck, Dalke advance to U.S. Amateur final

By Associated PressAugust 20, 2016, 5:07 pm

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. - Curtis Luck was in a fairway bunker about 135 yards from the hole, needing to get up and down from there to keep his U.S. Amateur run going.

''I was kind of lucky I had a perfect distance and a perfect lie in the trap,'' he said. ''Managed to pick it cleanly and use the backstop.''

Luck's wedge shot from the bunker reached the green and rolled down to about 3 feet from the pin, enabling him to match Nick Carlson's birdie and extend their semifinal to a 21st hole Saturday. Luck then made another birdie to win the match and advance to Sunday's 36-hole final against Brad Dalke.

Dalke defeated Jonah Texeira, 3 and 2, in the other semifinal on the South Course at Oakland Hills.

Luck was 1 down after 16 holes and bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 - but he was still able to square the match when Carlson double bogeyed No. 18. The playoff began on No. 10. Both players parred that hole, and Carlson appeared to be in great shape when he hit his approach to within a couple feet on No. 11.

Luck answered with a terrific shot of his own from out of the bunker, and both players made their short birdie putts.

''I saw he obviously hit it real close in there for his second from the fairway, and it really didn't give me any option other than to go for it and hit it close myself,'' Luck said.

On the par-5 No. 12, Luck was able to reach the green in two. Carlson missed a putt for birdie from about 20 feet, ending the match.

Carlson, a local favorite who is entering his sophomore year at Michigan, fell onto his back in despair after missing the last putt, then quickly got up to congratulate Luck. He thanked the crowd and yelled ''Go Blue!'' - there were plenty of people in Michigan gear following Carlson and Luck around the course.

''I was able to stand on that 12th green after Curtis won and just think to myself how amazing it was that they were all there,'' said Carlson, who became choked up after the match. ''Someone told me yesterday that their ticket sales were up because of me, and that's pretty incredible to me.''

Carlson missed a 7-foot putt for par on No. 17 that would have won the match, and his tee shot on 18 ended up under a tree. He had to flip his club around and chip left-handed from there, and the ball went only a few feet. His third shot missed the green from out of the rough.

Luck didn't fare much better, hitting his approach into a bunker, but his bogey was good enough to win the hole.

''I stood on 18 tee telling my caddie we're going to aim at that blue spruce right there, then we're going to try to cut off of it, and it went dead straight,'' Carlson said. ''I had to chip left-handed and didn't hit it far enough, but that wasn't the issue. I drew a good lie, and the club caught a little of the rough, and it went right, unfortunately. Curtis had to make five basically, and he kind of knew it.''

On the first playoff hole, Luck sank a par putt from about 15 feet to extend the match, and the Australian pulled off another impressive escape on No. 11 before finally winning.

Luck and Dalke secured exemptions to next year's U.S. Open and likely invitations to the Masters.

Dalke, who plays for the Oklahoma Sooners, won five of the final seven holes in his match. Texeira was 2 up after nine, then bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11 and three-putted the 12th, leaving the match all square.

''He was making putts early on,'' Dalke said. ''I knew I just needed to keep grinding. You just never know what happens in match play, and obviously this is kind of a big hump in the U.S. Amateur, making it to the finals, just because of all the stuff that you get along with it.''

Dalke birdied Nos. 13 and 15 and closed out the match with a par on 16.

''He beat me fair and square, and it was a great day to remember,'' said Texeira, who is entering his junior year at Southern California. ''Congratulations to Brad.''

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.