Notes Funk falters coming down the stretch

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGACOLORADO SPRINGS, Co. ' Fred Funks strategy for Sunday was to make a charge on the front nine and play even on the back nine.
He did neither, and it cost him the U.S. Senior Open championship.
Funk entered the final round at The Broadmoors East Course two shots behind leader and eventual champion Eduardo Romero. Funk bogeyed No. 1, recovered to shoot par on the front nine and stay two behind heading to the 10th tee.
Things fell apart after that. He bogeyed No. 11, triple-bogeyed No. 13 and bogeyed 14 to go from 7-under to 2-under. He birdied 17 before finishing with a bogey.
He salvaged second place thanks to other players struggling, including John Cook, who started the day three shots behind but shot a 7-over 77 Sunday.
Funk said the triple bogey at the 13th put him out of contention. He put his drive into the left rough, and he hit his second shot less than 20 yards and stayed in the rough.
If I had just made a bogey, Im OK, he said. I was trying to force an issue a little bit too much with that lie. I hit a horrible shot and then tried something to get it up there far enough, and turned that into a triple, and the tournaments over.
Things didnt get much better after the 13th.
I thought maybe if I made that putt on 14 for par and maybe I can get a little momentum back, but I missed that, and the doors closed at that point, he said.
Funk was in contention all weekend, and even held the lead after the second round. He was disappointed he couldnt stay on top, but he was happy overall with the tournament.
Everything was a positive, except for my back nine yesterday and today, he said. Thats just the way it goes.
NEAR MISSES: For the second straight weekend, Cook knew he let a major championship get away.
Last week, he lost a three-shot lead with eight holes to go and then lost to Bruce Vaughan in a playoff at the British Open at Troon, Scotland. On Sunday, he needed only to shoot par to stay near the top of the leaderboard, but he started out with a bogey at No. 1 and never recovered.
Those two missed chances bothered the 50-year-old Cook.
Could have been a great run for sure, he said. Im disappointed right now, and I havent closed the deal yet this year, and that upsets me more than anything. Ive been in position now five or six times to win and havent come away with it, and theres some things I need to do. Ill figure it out.
WORTH THE PAIN: R.W. Eaks may have done more damage to his aching knees by playing the final round, but he doesnt regret teeing it up Sunday in his hometown.
I probably really shouldnt have played, he said after shooting a 72 to finish 5 over and tied for 18th. I think I damaged my knees a little more.
Eaks said his knees began to bother him during the last nine holes of the third round. His knees hurt so badly Saturday night he considered pulling out of Sundays final round, but with a lot of relatives in attendance, and with a chance to move up the leaderboard, the Colorado Springs native decided to play.
I was considering last night not playing, but I decided because I had so much family here, wed give it a try, said Eaks, who needs replacement surgery on both knees. Hopefully I can recover in a couple of weeks. Plus its hometown; you gotta play.
Eaks had to withdraw from two events this year because he couldnt get out of his cart, which is allowed in Champions Tour events but not in the USGA-run Senior Open. He said he is seeing a doctor Monday morning about his knees, and he wants to keep playing this year.
Well, I need to probably make another $130,000 to get in the top 30 so Im exempt for next year, he said. Im probably going to do that. Id like to play every one of them, and Ill definitely play all the ones we can ride.
PASSING THE TORCH: 2007 Senior Open winner Brad Bryant shot a final round 71 to finish tied for 14th Sunday. The defending champion said he enjoyed his yearlong reign, and he complimented The Broadmoors East Course.
Its a tremendous place to have a Senior Open, Bryant said. This was a venue for our age group that was right on, just spot-on perfect. They could probably use a couple of new tees to stretch out a couple of holes that are a little too short.
I think that the course is a touch short for the (PGA TOUR), but for the Senior Tour, it was fantastic.
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