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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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.