Singh one back in Senior Players Championship

By Associated PressJune 9, 2016, 10:04 pm

FLOURTOWN, Pa. - Jay Don Blake birdied three of the last five holes Thursday at windy Philadelphia Cricket Club for a 2-under 70 and the first-round lead in the Constellation Senior Players Championship.

The 57-year-old Blake had five birdies and three bogeys on the A.W. Tillinghast-designed Wissahickon Course. He won the last of his three senior titles in 2012, and won at Torrey Pines in 1991 for his lone PGA Tour victory.

''Tough golf course out there and I'm just happy to get done with a couple under par,'' Blake said. ''Hit it pretty decent all day. ... Hit it well, played well and just kind of executed some good shots out there today.''

Blake birdied the first two holes, then bogeyed the par-4 sixth, par-3 eighth and par-4 11th. He rebounded with birdies on par-3 14th, par-5 15th and par-4 17th in the third of the PGA Tour Champions' five majors.

''It was chilly early, still had some wind,'' Blake said. ''Luckily, the first couple holes were downwind so that was kind of a little help off to start. The first two holes, made birdie, so got off to a good start. Then we started about three, four holes right in a row just dead into the wind and it was cold, ball was going nowhere. It was just kind of survival.''

Vijay Singh bogeyed the par-4 18th to fall a stroke back along with Jeff Sluman, Brandt Jobe and Bart Bryant.

''It's a tough day,'' said the 53-year-old Singh, winless in seven career starts on the 50-and-over tour. ''Regardless of what club you've got in the hand, wedge or 9-iron or 3-wood, it's still long, gusty crosswinds. I played pretty good. I kept the ball in play most of the day, and unfortunately, had two three-putts, but that was pretty easy to do out here.''

The 34-time PGA Tour winner has made 15 starts this year on the regular tour.

''I think the last three or four events when I came over here, I kind of put too much pressure on myself that I have to win,'' Singh said. ''I just came this week just to have a good time and enjoy it and play good golf.''

Colin Montgomerie topped the group at 70.

''You get out of position off the tee and then you're struggling,'' Montgomerie said. ''But I think it's terrific, I really do. I think this is marvelous. This is a real major. This has a major feel to it. You could put these greens on any course worldwide and everyone would be thrilled with them.''

Two-time defending champion Bernhard Langer bogeyed three of his last four holes for a 71.

''It was really windy. That was tough,'' Langer said. ''Gusty winds, so it's difficult to control. And the greens are lightning fast. On 18, I was in the right bunker and it was downwind, down grain, downhill, hard to stop the ball, it just keeps rolling and rolling and ended up making bogey. You've got to be aware of trying to keep the ball below the hole, which is tough to do when it's windy like this.''

The German star won in 2014 at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh and last year at Belmont in Massachusetts.

''It's a great venue,'' Langer said. ''It's any bit as good as the ones we played the last couple years. They always pick great golf courses and this is no exception.''

Sluman bogeyed 16 and 18 after reaching 3 under with a birdie on 15. Jobe also bogeyed the 18th.

''Overall, pretty happy with the day,'' Sluman said. ''Played solid golf in very trying conditions and this golf course is very challenging. It's a great test of golf.''

Billy Andrade, Scott Dunlap and Doug Garwood matched Montgomerie at 70.

Tom Watson, at age 66, was in the group at 71.

''It's a Tillinghast golf course. I've played a lot of Tillinghast golf courses and they are difficult,'' Watson said. ''You really have to hit a lot of quality shots. The greens are very quick and, with this northwest wind, it played very tough today. ... This golf course is all you want.''

John Daly had a 76. Playing his fifth event on the tour since turning 50 in late April, he had a double bogey on the par-5 fifth, five bogeys and one birdie.

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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

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

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

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

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
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.