Sabbatini Makes Final Push Before Break

By Associated PressMay 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Invitational at ColonialFORT WORTH, Texas -- Rory Sabbatini knows he will need to take a break to avoid becoming fatigued and frustrated.
 
Since his impressive streak of three straight top-3 finishes that included the Masters and Wachovia, Sabbatini has started to feel the effects of playing so much.
 
'Actually, everything still is really good,' Sabbatini said Wednesday. 'Last week, I kind of felt my body at the end of the week and just wasn't able to keep myself mentally focused. That's just wear and tear from playing a couple of events in a row.'
 
Still, time off will have to wait until after the Colonial, his fifth straight tournament -- and one not far from his home in Southlake.
 
'I look forward to it every year. It's a great event,' Sabbatini said. 'There is obviously a great tradition behind it.'
 
Sabbatini didn't skip Hogan's Alley, where the course itself is one of the biggest parts of the tradition. He has already withdrawn from next week's Memorial, another tournament he has always enjoyed, but knows he needs a breather before the U.S. Open next month.
 
But a lot of other top players are skipping the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, which begins Thursday.
 
Only two players in the Colonial field are higher in the world ranking than 16th-ranked Sabbatini. They are Jim Furyk, now third after Phil Mickelson took over the No. 2 spot last week, and No. 14 Trevor Immelman.
 
Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are among former Colonial winners not playing, but defending champion Tim Herron is back, along with two-time winners Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin.
 
Furyk said Colonial is 'probably my favorite course to play and probably my favorite tournament' even though he has only four top-10 finishes in 11 Colonial appearances.
 
While length is a premium at so many modern-day layouts, the old-style par-70, 7,054-yard tree-lined Colonial course is pretty much the same as it was when Ben Hogan won there five times from 1946-59.
 
The only three top-10s for Furyk this season came in consecutive tournaments before the end of February. He was 13th at the Masters, but hasn't been better than 28th in any other tournament since, allowing Mickelson to leapfrog him in the world ranking after Mickelson won THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
'I wish I was playing great golf and he was just playing better,' Furyk said. 'He has been playing great golf and my game has been only mediocre the last couple of months. ... I just haven't been doing the things that I needed to do to score well.'
 
Sabbatini tied for third at the Wachovia Championship despite a closing 74, which came a day after he matched the course record of 64 and said how much he wanted to play in the final group with Tiger Woods. Sabbatini was 44th at The Players Championship and closed with a 73 at last week's AT&T Classic to tie for 24th.
 
'I could tell my body was getting a little tired,' he said. 'I felt good going into the last two weeks, but just haven't felt that same ability to be able to maintain my focus throughout the rounds.'
 
After getting home from Georgia, Sabbatini didn't hit a golf ball until playing in the pro-am event Wednesday. He spent Tuesday driving a stock car 160 mph during a NASCAR driving school at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
This is Sabbatini's 15th tournament this season. He has made 11 cuts with four top-10 finishes (only one fewer than last season) and is 13th on the money list with $1.7 million.
 
The youngest player on the PGA TOUR when he was a 22-year-old rookie in 1999, Sabbatini is now a veteran who knows when he can't keep pushing himself to play.
 
'That's definitely getting to know my body better and realizing that being worn out and fatigued and getting frustrated is not exactly beneficial to me,' the South African said.
 
Herron, who beat Richard Johnson in a two-hole playoff last year, is defending a title for the first time since the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational. But the husky golfer known as 'Lumpy' who is popular among his peers and the fans isn't exactly playing top-notch golf.
 
In 26 tournaments since winning Colonial for his fourth career victory, Herron has no top-10 finishes and has been better than 31st only three times -- the last time when he was 19th in the season opener this year.
 
'I don't know if I'm completely prepared to defend,' Herron said. 'I've struggled since probably last year's Colonial. But you know what, before I won Colonial last year, I was struggling. So you just never know in golf.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Crowne Plaza Inviational at Colonial
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

    The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

    PGA Tour:

    The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

    LPGA:

    We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

    Getty Images

    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

    Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

    Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

    The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.