Snedeker gets the best of Stanley ... again

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2012, 1:05 am

MARANA, Ariz. – Brandt Snedeker took advantage of Kyle Stanley’s late meltdown – again.

Four weeks after beating Stanley in a playoff at Torrey Pines, Snedeker topped Stanley 2 and 1 on Thursday in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

“We’ve got some history going on,” Snedeker said. “He’s a great guy. I played really good today. We just gave each other a few too many holes.”

At Torrey Pines, Stanley led by seven shots early in the final round and still had a four-shot lead as he stood on the tee at the par-5 18th. But his third shot had too much spin and didn’t get high enough on the green, spinning down the slope and into the water. He three-putted from 45 feet, then lost to Snedeker on the second playoff hole when his five-foot par putt caught the right edge of the cup.

On Thursday at Dove Mountain, Stanley bogeyed the final three holes. Snedeker won the par-4 15th and par-3 16th with pars, then matched

Stanley’s bogey on the par-4 17th for a halve to close out the victory.

Stanley rebounded quickly after the devastating loss at Torrey Pines, overcoming an eight-stroke deficit a week later to win the Phoenix Open.Snedeker will play Peter Hanson on Friday.

“If he gets his putter working, he’s pretty tough to beat,” Snedeker said. “So, I know I’ve got my hands full tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there and hit a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens and put some pressure on him.”

Hanson beat Ernie Els 5 and 4.


HORSING AROUND: Lee Westwood took a break on the driving range before his second-round match to watch a horse race on his phone.

“I had a horse running in Dubai about an hour before I teed off,” Westwood said. “Rerouted. It’s a good horse, just doesn’t win. At least it came in second, which I can sympathize with to a certain extent.”

The third-ranked Westwood, in position to take the top spot from Luke Donald with a victory in the final Sunday, beat Robert Karlsson 3 and 2 to set up a third-round match against Nick Watney – a 1-up winner over Tiger Woods.

“The further you get and the more you play, the more confident you become, and more you get used to playing the golf course, the shots around the greens and the speed of the greens,” Westwood said. “I’m a pretty good match play player as the record suggests in other match play events. I feel the way I’m playing, I’ll be tough to beat.”

The English star reached the third round for the first time in 12 appearances in the event. He lost to Watney in the second round the last two years.

“I’m normally watching it at home on TV,” Westwood said. “It’s good to watch, but I’m hoping it’s better to play.”

Second-ranked Rory McIlroy also can take the No. 1 spot with a tournament victory.

“Everyone keeps telling me, so it’s hard to put it out of my mind,” McIlroy said. “It’s a little bit of extra motivation this week knowing that if I can get through four more matches, I could go to the top of the world ranking.”

He beat Anders Hansen 3 and 2 to advance to play Miguel Angel Jimenez.


BIRDIE HUNTER: Hunter Mahan had nine birdies – the last two conceded – in 15 holes in his 5-and-3 victory over Y.E. Yang.Mahan also had three pars and three bogeys.

Mahan dropped the first hole with a bogey, pulled even with a birdie on the par-5 second, and lost the par-3 third with a par. He birdied Nos. 4-8 – holing out from a bunker on the par-3 sixth – to take a 4-up lead.

“I was playing as well as I could, hitting fairways and greens, giving myself good looks,” Mahan said. “If you hit it good around here, where these pins are, and you get on the right level, you are going to have some putts.”

He lost Nos. 9 and 10 with bogeys, then halved the next two with pars and birdied the final three. Yang conceded putts of 12 and 6 feet on the last two.

Mahan will face Ryder and Presidents Cup teammate Steve Stricker on Friday. Stricker celebrated his 45th birthday with a 1-up victory over Louis Oosthuizen.

“He’s a great guy to talk to,” Mahan said. “He’s so open, so nice. I mean, he’s just a normal guy who plays golf for a living, and that’s it. There’s no more. There’s no celebrity to him whatsoever. He’s a great guy to be around.”

In 2008, Stricker beat Mahan in 20 holes in the second round.


LONG AND SHORT: Dustin Johnson routed Francesco Molinari 7 and 5 a day after needing 20 holes to beat Jim Furyk.

Johnson won when Molinari conceded a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th. The long-hitting American had six birdies and one bogey in the first 12 holes.

“Yesterday, I just wasn’t feeling all that great starting out,” Johnson said. “So, I just kind of hung in there all day. And got a little momentum late, hit some good shots and, obviously, holed a few chips. But that kept my momentum going. … And that momentum kind of carried over to today.”

Johnson failed to win a match in his three previous appearances in the event. He’ll face Mark Wilson on Friday. Last year, Wilson beat Johnson in 19 holes in the first round. Wilson advanced Thursday with a 3-and-2 victory over Robert Rock.

“He’s a good all-around player,” Johnson said. “It will be a tough match.”


SCOTTISH SHOWDOWN: Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird set up a Scottish showdown in the third round – and spoiled a possible match between young stars.

Laird beat 18-year-old Matteo Manassero 2 and 1, and Lawrie knocked off 20-year-old Ryo Ishikawa 1 up.

“It’s about as good as I played in awhile there,” Laird said. “I needed all of it today to beat Matteo. He’s one of those guys in match play that just never goes away.”

Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, won the wind-shortened Qatar Masters three weeks ago for his seventh European Tour title.Laird is seeded 38th, five spots ahead of Lawrie.

“Obviously, Martin has been playing good, and he’s ahead of me in the world ranking, so he’s the favorite,” Lawrie said. “I’m looking forward to it. It should be good fun. … He’s a good lad.”


G’DAY MATE: John Senden beat Jason Day 6 and 5 in a match between the only two Australians to survive the opening round.Senden took a 2-up lead with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 and took advantage of Day’s erratic play to win easily. Day had two bogeys and failed to make a birdie.

“I had the pressure on him early,” Senden said. “Then, basically, from there, I wanted to keep focused and keep the quality of shots going on. I did that, and he sort of made the mistakes to force the match to go further and further my way.”

Senden will play Bae Sang-Moon on Friday. Sang-Moon edged Charl Schwartzel 1 up.


DIVOTS: The top-seeded players won 13 of the 16 second-round matches. … Sang-Moon is the only first-time participant to reach the third round. … None of the second-round matches went past the 18th hole, the first time that has happened in the round since 2002. … The second-round losers received $95,000.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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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