Mahan tops Fowler in Phoenix

By Associated PressMarch 1, 2010, 5:10 am

Waste Management Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler both came out of Oklahoma State with big expectations. There, the similarities end.

Mahan is reserved and unassuming, Fowler tends toward the flamboyant.

The quiet one prevailed, barely, at the Phoenix Open.

Mahan defeated the younger Fowler by a stroke on Sunday for his second PGA Tour victory. For now, Fowler will have to settle for another second close call in Arizona.

Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan poses with his second career PGA Tour trophy. (Getty Images)

The 27-year-old Mahan had an eagle and a pair of birdies in a late four-hole span to finish at 16-under 268. Mahan, whose first victory came at the 2007 Travelers Championship, closed with two bogey-free 6-under 65s.

Fowler, just 21 and a tour rookie, had a final-round 68 for the second runner-up finish of his young career, both of them in Arizona.

In his second PGA Tour event last Oct. 25, Fowler lost in a three-way playoff to Troy Matteson in the Open just down the road at the Grayhawk Golf Club.

“Been in a playoff and having a putt to go into the playoffs,” Fowler said, “so obviously I’m going to try to play out here as much as I can.”

Mahan and Fowler barely know each other, but they are Cowboys through and through.

“Oklahoma State has had a lot of great players, and they keep putting them out there it seems like every year,” Mahan said. “Rickie is a great player and a great kid. I’m proud to call him a Cowboy.”

Added Fowler, “It’s always a little better to lose to a Cowboy.”

South Korea’s Y.E. Yang also shot a 65 to finish at 14 under, two off the pace. Last year’s PGA Championship winner, Yang led until his tee shot went in the water at No. 17.

Mathew Goggin, Chris Couch and Charles Howell III tied for fourth at 13 under.

Third-round leader Brandt Snedeker struggled mightily with a 78 to wind up far back at 7 under.

The win was worth $1.08 million.

Although he hadn’t won, Mahan has played well the past two years. He played on the 2008 Ryder Cup team and had six top-10s in 2009, including a runner-up finish at the AT&T National. His earnings the last two years topped $5 million.

“It’s just finding a way to win. I just haven’t been able to do it,” he said. “So obviously it feels great to get off the year on my fifth tournament to win. It gives me a lot of confidence in myself that I’m doing the right things in my game, and it feels great, it really does.”

A total of 0.67 inches of rain fell and wind reached 47 mph overnight at TPC Scottsdale and sprinkles lingered Sunday morning. But the rain subsided by the time the leaders teed off at noon.

The tournament, in its 75th year, was known as the FBR Open but returned to its longtime Phoenix Open name when Waste Management Inc. took over as the title sponsor this year.

The weather held the estimated final-round crowd to just under 44,000, well off last year’s 60,000-plus. That brought the week’s total attendance to nearly 426,000, down from 470,000 a year ago at the rowdy event that always draws the biggest crowds on the tour.

Mahan hit his second shot on the par-5 13th 250 yards within 7 feet of the pin and made the eagle putt to reach 14 under.

His 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th moved him to 15 under.

The clincher came at the notorious 16th, the par 3 surrounded by bleachers filled with noisy, irreverent fans who cheer and boo with equal enthusiasm.

Mahan’s tee shot caught the edge of the green and he made the subsequent 14 1/2 -foot putt to regain the lead at 16 under.

“You still have a tournament to win, you can’t really worry about the people,” he said. “You just kind of have to block it out, but at the same time kind of enjoy it because you don’t have that opportunity to have so many people watching you on one hole.”

At the 15th, the open desert course’s final par 5, Fowler chose to play conservative and lay his shot up rather than go for the green, which is surrounded by water. He said he felt he was a bit too far away from the pin to go for it, considering he was just one shot back and had what he felt were good birdie chances on Nos. 16 and 17.

“I felt that instead of bringing trouble into play,” Fowler said, ” … I took the safe route.”

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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”