Steve Stricker wins in playoff at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 31, 2009, 4:00 pm
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FORT WORTH, Texas ' Steve Stricker blew a final-round lead right after he took it and gave away another stroke by missing a short par putt down the stretch.
 
Stricker stayed at it, though. A chip-in birdie on 17 helped him get in a three-man playoff. Then, lucky to be playing a second extra hole, he put his approach just 3 feet from the cup and knocked it right in to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
 
Admirable as it may be, the real story Sunday was how Tim Clark blew this tournament.
 
Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker collected his fifth PGA Tour title. (Getty Images)
Trying to shed his title as the guy whod won the most money on the PGA Tour without winning an event, Clark wasted a two-shot lead with five holes left. He left short a 9-foot putt that wouldve won it on the final hole, then pulled a 4-footer that wouldve ended the playoff on the first hole. The final kick in the gut came when his approach on the second extra hole hit the pin and rolled more than 20 feet from the cup.
 
I cant take anything positive from today, the 33-year-old South African said. I have a lot of work to do when it comes to closing out golf tournaments.
 
Strickers victory was pure relief, as evidence by his fist pump and choked-up interviews afterward. Its not that he questioned his ability to close out tournaments, he was just ready to win after finishing second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh this year.
 
Now he has five career wins ' and the No. 8 spot in the world ranking.
 
I feel fortunate, Stricker said, wearing the plaid jacket given to all winners at the Colonial Country Club. Ive been on the other end a couple times this year where you feel going to win and end up losing. This feels very good.
 
Stricker, who earned $1,116,000, led after two rounds with a 36-hole tournament record of 126. He moved back ahead with birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 on Sunday, then followed with consecutive bogeys.
 
When he missed a 4-footer on No. 16, Stricker seemed out of contention. His chances looked even worse when he was in fluffy grass behind the 17th green.
 
Then his chip rolled in.
 
You need breaks to win, thats why winning is so special, so hard to do, he said.
 
Steve Marino was the third player in the playoff. He narrowly missed a long birdie putt on the first extra hole, then pretty much took himself out of contention with a wild tee shot on the second extra hole. Colonial wouldve been a sweet place for his debut win considering his mom grew up a few blocks away and was in the gallery with a group of her childhood friends.
 
Obviously its disappointing, Marino said. But Im playing well right now and Im excited about playing golf and feel good about my game.
 
Stricker and Marino shot 68s to match Clark (70) at 17-under 263.
 
Jason Day, a 21-year-old Australian who recently became a Colonial member, shot 69 and finished fourth at 264. He shot 65 in the other three rounds, but started with a bogey and wound up a stroke out of the playoff.
 
Another stroke back was Paul Casey, coming off a prestigious win in Europe that vaulted him to No. 3 in the world ranking. He opened the final round with three straight birdies but couldnt build on it much.
 
Woody Austin (68) and Vijay Singh (69) tied for sixth at 14 under.
 
Clarks foibles on the 18th hole ' in regulation, then in the playoffs ' sent the playoff to No. 17, a hole Stricker already had birdied three times in four rounds.
 
His fourth birdie there was the charm.
 
This is what my whole career has been about up. Ive had to pull myself up when something hasnt gone my way, Stricker said. You have to let it roll off your back.
 
Maybe one day, Clark can. Not now.
 
Not after being tied for the tournament record with five holes to play. Not after being the tournaments most accurate driver to that point and then knocking two tee shots into trouble.
 
Not after all those foul-ups turned 0-for-183 into 0-for-184 and the seventh second-place finish of his career. The last one came last year at this event, when Phil Mickelson made a spectacular shot for birdie on the final hole.
 
Not even being reminded of his valiant final approach could lift his spirits.
 
Bad break or not, the tournament should have ended on the first playoff hole, Clark said. I didnt make a confident stroke and I pulled it.
 
The $545,600 in winnings, which upped his career total to almost $13.3 million, would be a mood-lifter.
 
But considering his unwanted claim to fame, thats both good and bad.
 
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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.


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    Man of the people


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    Victory at Valderrama


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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