Wagner Wins Houston Heads to Augusta

By Associated PressApril 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Shell Houston OpenHOUSTON -- Johnson Wagners first PGA TOUR victory came with the ultimate bonus prize'a trip to the Masters.
 
Wagner controlled his nerves and held off several late challenges Sunday to win the Houston Open and earn a last-minute invitation to Augusta National.
 
The 28-year-old Wagner shot a 1-under 71 to finish at 16 under, two shots ahead of Chad Campbell (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (68). Billy Mayfair and Fred Couples shot 66s and finished three shots back at 13 under. Bob Estes and Charley Hoffman, three behind Wagner at the start of the round, shot 72s and finished four behind.
 
Wagner had missed six cuts in nine previous starts this year and was ranked 193rd on the money list when he arrived in Houston. He matched defending champion Adam Scotts course-record 63 in the first round, then held the 36- and 54-hole leads at an event for the first time in 44 career starts.
 
His emotions showed all day, as sweat soaked through his green shirt and he nervously wiped his hands with a white towel before most of his shots.
 
But Wagner held it together, pumping his fist after sinking a 6-foot par putt on the 72nd hole as his parents and several family members cheered from behind the green.
 
Next week, theyll be applauding him at Augusta.
 
While Wagner will play in his first Masters, Davis Love III will miss a major for the first time since 1990. Love had to win to qualify for next weeks Masters, but he finished 5 under, ending the longest active streak of major appearances at 70.
 
Phil Mickelson now holds the longest run of major starts, with 55. Mickelson shot a second straight 71 on Sunday and finished at 6 under in his final tuneup before Augusta.
 
This day belonged to Wagner, the 13th player to earn his first victory in Houston.
 
He started the day one ahead of Campbell, then opened a three-shot lead when he sank a 26-foot birdie on the second hole and Campbell three-putted. Wagner led by five after a birdie on the fourth. Campbell hit into the fairway bunker off the tee and bogeyed again.
 
Campbell drove into the fairway bunker on No. 8, then dumped his second shot into the water, leading to a crippling double bogey. Wagner birdied again to get to 17 under.
 
Ogilvy birdied Nos. 3, 5 and 8 to move into second place, but Wagner led by four at the turn.
 
Couples, the 2003 champion when the tournament was played at the members course across the street, was one of several players who mounted charges on the back nine.
 
Wagner bogeyed the 10th and Couples and Mayfair both birdied 13 and 15, the last two par 5s, to move to 13 under, tying Ogilvy. Campbell bounced back with three straight birdies on 11, 12 and 13 to get to 14 under. Estes also birdied the 11th and 12th to reach 14 under.
 
But Wagner hung on, as the players chasing him stalled, one after another.
 
Couples and Mayfair each parred the last four holes. Estes and Campbell both bogeyed the par-3 16th from awkward lies in the greenside bunker. Ogilvy birdied the 12th, but couldnt muster another one until the last hole.
 
Wagner left a long birdie putt short on the par-4 17th, but he calmly sank the 11-footer to stay at 16 under. He drove his last tee shot into the fairway bunker, avoiding the ominous pond that runs down the left side of the 18th hole.
 
He hit his 220-yard approach just short of the green, pitched to six feet and easily rolled in the final putt.
 
Wagner became the second wire-to-wire winner since the tournament moved to the Tournament Course at Redstone in 2006. Stuart Appleby led from the start when he won in 2006.
 
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.