Potter beats Troy Kelly in playoff

By Associated PressJuly 9, 2012, 1:41 am

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Ted Potter Jr.'s first PGA Tour victory means a lot more than a big paycheck. The 28-year-old rookie can take a trip to Augusta National off his wish list.

By making a 4-foot birdie putt on the third hole of a playoff Sunday to beat Troy Kelly in the Greenbrier Classic, Potter earned a spot in the Masters, something he listed as a career goal.

Simply winning, though, had been the top priority for a player who first joined the former Nationwide Tour in 2004 and didn't have much success until last year.

''When you're missing cuts every week, you get down on yourself,'' Potter said. ''I mean, it's hard to pick yourself back up. But the plus side for me is I was still young. I just knew I had plenty of time and just be patient, and it will come back around again.''


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Potter finished second on the Nationwide money list last year to advance to the Tour. He tied for 13th in his first event of the year but had missed five straight cuts entering the week.

His fortunes changed Sunday.

''It was just a big relief,'' Potter said. ''All the struggles the last few weeks, knowing that now I've got a couple years to try to improve on my game and win some more tournaments.''

The left-hander became the sixth first-time winner on the tour this season. He earned $1,098,000 and jumped from 173rd to 51st in the FedEx Cup standings.

He also gets a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. And Potter, Kelly and Marc Leishman - who won two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship - can pack their bags for the British Open, which starts July 19 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

Ranked 218th in the world, Potter overcame a four-stroke deficit with four holes to play, finishing with his second straight 6-under 64 to match Kelly at 16 under. Kelly closed with a 66.

It marked the third straight year of close finishes on the Old White TPC course. Scott Stallings beat Bob Estes and Bill Haas on the first hole of a playoff last year, and Stuart Appleby shot a 59 to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke in 2010.

Webb Simpson lost a one-stroke lead on the back nine at the tournament for the second straight year. The U.S. Open champion made three straight bogeys, shot a 73 and tied for seventh at 11 under.

During the fourth round, Potter made long putts for a birdie at No. 15 and an eagle at No. 17, and his 5-footer for birdie at No. 18 tied Kelly, who could have avoided the playoff but missed birdie putts on the final two holes.

Both made par on the first two playoff holes, with Potter missing a 5-footer at No. 17 that would have won it on the second extra hole.

Moments before, Kelly made a 22-footer for par after finding trouble from the greenside bunker.

Playing the par-3 18th for the third time on the day, Kelly's tee shot was short of a steep ridge in the middle of the green, while Potter sent his 9-iron onto the top of the ridge, and it trickled close to the pin.

Kelly missed his 45-foot birdie putt, then watched Potter close out the win as thunderstorms moved in.

Despite the disappointment, Kelly earned his best career finish. His previous one was a tie for 37th.

''I had a lot of fun,'' Kelly said. ''And looking forward to kind of getting in that position some more.''

Kelly underwent hip-replacement surgery in September 2010 after being diagnosed with arthritis. He resumed playing golf five months later and was 11th in Nationwide winnings last year.

Charlie Wi and rookie Charlie Beljan tied for third at 14 under. Wi shot a 65, and Beljan had a 67.

Daniel Summerhays finished fifth at 13 under after a 64. Martin Flores (67) was another stroke back.

Simpson, the third-round leader, had gone 50 consecutive holes without a bogey but made three of them in a row starting at the par-5 12th.

''I felt really confident and then just got on a bad run there,'' Simpson said. ''I'm probably going to learn something from it. Have to learn the hard way.''

Joining him at 11 under were Robert Castro (63), Kevin Na (65), Sean O'Hair (66) and Ken Duke (70). Duke was within a shot of the lead on the 14th hole before fading with a pair of double bogeys.

Simpson can now focus on family - his wife, Dowd, is due to give birth to the couple's second child within three weeks. That means skipping the British Open.

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


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Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”