Martin successfully defends Alfred Dunhill title

By Associated PressDecember 12, 2010, 8:15 pm

2009 European TourMALELANE, South Africa – Pablo Martin successfully defended his Alfred Dunhill Championship title on Sunday as he recovered from a late stutter for a final-round 2-under 70 and a two-shot win.

The Spaniard made a triple-bogey 7 at No. 17, but then birdied the last for an 11-under 277 at Leopard Creek Country Club, two clear of Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and South African pair Charl Schwartzel and Anthony Michael.

Martin had surged ahead with an eagle-birdie start, and opened a five-shot lead through 11 holes following two more birdies on Nos. 7 and 9. With a three-shot lead on the tee at No. 17, the disastrous 7 then cut his advantage over playing partner Michael to one stroke with one hole to play.

But the 24-year-old defending champion recovered to send his second on the par-5 No. 18 to the middle of the green, and Michael found the water with his approach, after pulling his tee shot left, to end his chances.

Martin finished with a birdie four for successive victories at the European Tour’s season-opening tournament, winning a $210,000 check. He is the first winner on the 2010-11 Race to Dubai and the first player to retain a European Tour title since Padraig Harrington won a second straight British Open in 2008.

“I played really well for nine holes, then I got myself into trouble,” Martin said. “It was a good start and it gave me a little bit of a cushion, and I needed it.

“I was able to hit a couple of good shots coming in, especially the one on 18. On 17 I made a big mess but I was really lucky that everything went well.”

Newcomer Michael, 25, had led since Thursday afternoon at Leopard Creek but had two bogeys and a double-bogey Sunday and couldn’t match the attacking strokeplay of Martin.

Michael made a 15-foot putt for par on No. 18 to make sure of his share of second, but will have to wait for his first tournament win as a professional. Michael’s final-round 73 – his worst of the tournament – dropped him to 9 under alongside Olesen and the No. 39-ranked Schwartzel.

Martin made a blistering start when he almost holed his approach to the first and then sunk a 10-foot eagle putt at No. 2.

He got lucky on No. 13 when a wayward shot was held up by a bunker which prevented it disappearing into a crocodile-infested river.

On No. 17 he found a fairway bunker off the tee and then fired his second deep into the thick grass on the lip of the bunker. He ended up chipping out onto the fairway and then three-putted.

But he regained his composure with a 5-iron to the heart of the green on the last and collected a third career title after his 2009 win here and the 2007 Portugal Open – when he became the first amateur to win a European Tour event.

Denmark’s Challenge Tour graduate Olesen fired a superb 66, with six birdies, to jump 10 places and into a tie for second with Anthony and Schwartzel.

Schwartzel mixed four birdies with two bogeys to finish with a 70 and secure the 2010 Order of Merit title on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, which co-sanctions the Alfred Dunhill, ahead of its season-ending 100th South African Open next week.

South Africa’s Thomas Aiken (70) was alone in fifth on 7-under 281, while England’s Robert Dinwiddie (70) and another South African, Alex Haindl (73), shared sixth with 282 totals.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

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Green jacket tour

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Man of the people

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Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

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Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm