Michael Allen wins Senior PGA in tour debut

By Associated PressMay 24, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Senior PGA ChampionshipBEACHWOOD, Ohio ' Journeyman pro Michael Allen ended his long victory drought with two late birdies Sunday, shooting a 3-under 67 to hold off Larry Mize by two shots and win the Senior PGA Championship.
 
Allen, who had never won in two decades on the PGA Tour, finished first in his seniors debut. Its the first major of the year for players over 50 years old.
 
After hitting close on the 18th hole, he mugged for a camera and said, About friggin time! while laughing.
 
MIchael Allen
Michael Allen proudly displays his first trophy on either the PGA Tour or Champions Tour. (Getty Images)
Allen had earlier rounds of 74, 66 and 67 to finish at 6-under 274.
 
Bruce Fleisher had a 67 to finish third. Tom Watson, who began the day seven strokes behind Allen, had the low round of the day ' a 66 ' and was fourth.
 
Allen became only the fourth player to win a major championship in his Champions Tour debut, joining Roberto De Vicenzo (1980 U.S. Senior Open), Arnold Palmer (1980 Senior PGA Championship) and Jack Nicklaus (1990 Tradition).
 
Allen drilled a long drive into the fairway on the last hole. His 55-degree wedge approach landed just short of the flag and spun back a few feet below the hole. Needing only a two-putt to win, he rolled in the birdie putt and was embraced by his caddie, family and friends.
 
Allen collected $360,000 for his first win of any kind since the 1998 Greater Austin Open on the Nationwide Tour. His only other win came in the 1989 Bells Scottish Open on the European Tour.
 
But he had never won since joining the PGA Tour in 1988 and playing fulltime for 12 seasons. He had played a dozen regular tour events this year, his best finish being a tie for 22nd at the AT&T Pebble Beach.
 
His biggest paycheck was $648,000 for finishing second at the 2007 Turning Stone Resort Championship.
 
He had received a special exemption to play in the Senior PGA and bypassed the Byron Nelson on the PGA Tour.
 
Allen, who began the day with a one-stroke lead on Tom Kite and Jeff Sluman, had a double-bogey and four bogeys in his first-round 74 but was 9 under with just two bogeys over the next 49 holes as he climbed the leaderboard. Long and accurate off the tee, he seldom found trouble and relied on a steady short game around the high rough and quick greens at stately old Canterbury Golf Club in suburban Cleveland.
 
Sluman closed with a 73 and was at 281 along with club pro Chris Starkjohann (70), Fred Funk (70) and Gil Morgan (73). Defending champion Jay Haas had a 69 and led the pack at 282. Kite was never able to mount much of a threat and closed with a 75.
 
A two-shot swing at the par-4 12th hole ' Allen holing a 6-foot birdie putt and Mize bogeying after hitting into the deep rough off the tee ' put Allen ahead. He quickly gave away the advantage when he was too cautious when hitting a wedge from behind the green and made bogey at the 14th.
 
At the par-5 15th, Allen drove into the deep hay left of the fairway and had to power a long iron underneath an overhanging tree to get back to the fairway. From there he chipped to 10 feet right of the hole and confidently rolled in the birdie putt to grab the lead for good.
 
He still wasnt in the clear, however. He hit a lengthy drive on the 616-yard signature 16th, then elected to go for the green. His 3 wood went through the landing area and ended up in the thick rough on the upslope to the green. But he chipped to 15 feet and barely missed the birdie putt, tapping in for par.
 
Mizes long uphill birdie putt at the par-3 17th ' the toughest hole on the course ' burned the edge, leaving him a shot back.
 
He drove down the middle at the uphill par-4 18th, moments before Allen, who was playing in the final group behind him, stepped to the tee at 17. Allens long iron to the raised green was on line but bounded to the back fringe. He ran his first putt a few feet past, but rapped in the comebacker for par.
 
Mizes second shot to the 18th came up short and right. He elected to putt and rammed the 70-footer some 15 feet by. Then he calmly rolled in the par putt to remain within a shot.
 
Watson birdied four of the first eight holes to get to even par for the tournament, causing some rumblings in the large gallery following him. But two bogeys early on the back nine cost him, even though he hit to 3 feet on the final hole for his sixth birdie.
 
Fleisher, five years removed from his last win on the Champions Tour, played the final 14 holes at 4 under.
 
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."