Maggert wins first Champions major in playoff

By Associated PressMay 17, 2015, 9:52 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Jeff Maggert didn't let the missed putts haunt him when he faced the most pressurized one of the day.

Maggert won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first Champions Tour major title, beating Kevin Sutherland with a 3-foot par putt on the first hole of a playoff. He missed from a similar distance on No. 17 and failed to hole other modest putts over the final nine holes in a day-long, back-and-forth Shoal Creek scramble.

''No one likes to miss 3-footers,'' Maggert said. ''It doesn't matter if you're a 20-handicapper or a golf pro. When you miss a few of them, you start to second-guess yourself. On 18, I said, 'Hey, you missed it, no big deal, on 17. Let's just go to your routine and your game plan and try to put a good stroke on it.'

''I was nervous, shaking a little bit.''

It didn't show in his stroke on the straight-on putt.

Sutherland two-putted for bogey to set up Maggert for the winning shot on the 18th hole.



Maggert closed with an even-par 72 to match Sutherland at 14-under 274. Sutherland had a 71.

Maggert's only previous Champions Tour win came in Mississippi last year in his first start on the 50-and-over tour. He won three times on the PGA Tour, the last in the 2006 St. Jude Classic.

Sutherland had his second runner-up finish of the year and remains stuck at one career win in 544 tournaments spread across the PGA, Champions and Web.com tours.

Maggert won $345,000 and moved into the points lead after the first of five majors.

Sutherland's tee shot on the playoff hole dropped into the left bunker a few feet from the lip and about 130 yards from the green. His next shot landed near fans lining the fairway and he was left needing a long putt to make par.

Sutherland said a nearly day-long struggle with his driver ''reared its ugly head at the last moment and got underneath the lip of the bunker and didn't have much of a play really. Couldn't get it to the green.''

He said jitters weren't a problem, though.

''I was as relaxed as you could possibly be,'' Sutherland said. ''I was much more relaxed on the 19th hole than I was on the first hole.''

Jeff Hart and Gene Sauers both shot 69 to tie for third at 11 under, three shots back. Michael Allen (68), Bernhard Langer (70), two-time winner Tom Lehman (69) and defending champion Kenny Perry (70) were 9 under.

Both players parred the 18th hole the first time to force the playoff. Maggert needed to make a three-footer to stay alive, similar to the one he missed on the previous hole.

''Second time's the charm,'' Maggert said, adding that the shot on 17 ''was a putt that I was expecting to walk up and tap it in.''

It was a change-up after Maggert had birdied the final two holes each of the previous two days.

Maggert's the first 36-hole leader to hold on for the win at the tournament since Tom Watson in 2003.

Maggert and Sutherland traded birdies on No. 15 to remain deadlocked after jockeying for position the past two days and then set up similar tap-ins on 16.

Sutherland had reclaimed the edge with an eagle on the par-5 third hole, while Maggert bogeyed for a three-stroke turnaround. He regrouped with a birdie on No. 6 while Sutherland had three bogeys on the first nine holes for a 1-over 32.

Maggert had three-putted from five feet on No. 12, saying he had trouble gauging the speed of the greens after overnight rains.

Hart, meanwhile, managed his first top-three finish on the Champions Tour, having finished no better than 29th in his three previous events this season.

He extended his string without a bogey to 54 holes and finished with a birdie. Hart's two bogeys was the fewest in a Tradition.

''At that point, I didn't care where I finished,'' Hart said. ''But I didn't want to blow the non-bogey string on the final hole.''

Sauers ended with back-to-back birdies. He has finished in the top three over the last two majors he's played, losing a playoff to Colin Montgomerie in last year's U.S. Senior Open.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

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

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”


Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."