Its Beem On The Rocks At International

By August 4, 2002, 4:00 pm
In what turned out to be one of the most dramatic finishes ever on the PGA Tour, Rich Beem was somehow able to out-point the hard-charging Steve Lowery to win The International presented by Qwest.
 
'I went out and I played, as far as I could tell, probably the best round of golf I've ever played under any conditions, any pressure situation, anything,' said Beem. 'I hit the ball, with the exception of a couple tee shots - I don't know if I missed any greens. I can't think of one.
 
'But yeah, watching Steve have the opportunity to win was certainly one of the most stressful times of my life. But that's the way this format goes.'
 
More from Beem on his win.
 
With his father in attendance to lend support, Beem took control midway through the front nine and never let up on the field, finishing on top with a four-day total of 44 points.
 
But it was Lowery who had thoughts of his own coming down the stretch.
 
Lowery, who started the day just one back, had three birdies on the front but also surrendered three bogeys to fall off the pace. But with a beautiful save from the greenside pond on the par-5 14th to make birdie, and an unbelievable holed iron shot from the fairway on the par-4 15th, the lead was somehow three.
 
Beem then responded by rolling in yet another putt, this time for an eagle 3 on the par-5 17th to put to rest any doubt.
 
But Lowery was not yet done.
 
Standing in the faiway on the par-5 17th, playing in the final group, Lowery let fly a prayer that on this day was destined to be answered.
 
And indeed it was, for double eagle and an almost unheard of eight points, to close the lead to a mere point going to the 18th.
 
'I've never made double-eagle,' Lowery said. 'This is the first time. Yeah, shocked. The crowd's reaction, you could tell that it's close or when it goes in, you could tell and after I saw it go in on 14, you kind of get the idea of what they are going to do.
 
'You know, I didn't know the leaderboard. The last leaderboard I saw was Rich Beem was 39. And I'm doing my math, thinking I'm 43 and thinking he birdied 17, at least, so I'm thinking he's probably 41 until I actually got up there and realized he made eagle. So then I had to regroup a little bit and tried to birdie the last hole.'
 
With Beem looking on in shock of what was unfolding before him, Lowery again knocked a 7-iron to 12 feet to set up a birdie try and two points, and ultimately an improbable victory.
 
But the putt drifted just wide and the emotional Beem was left standing as the champion.
 
Lowery, who tallied an amazing 14 points on the four-hole stretch from 14 through 17 to set up the wild finish, had a four-day total of 43.
 
'I just looked him in the eye and I was just smiling' said Beem. 'He was, too. I'm like, it doesn't get any better than that, does it? That was great playing. He congratulated me on the same thing. It was wild.'
 
Beem himself scored the second most points ever in a day with 19, which included seven birdies and the eagle on 17.
 
Mark Brooks, who was two off the pace to start the day, had troubles early but had a couple of birdies and an eagle on the back nine to come in third with 33 points.
 
British Open champion Ernie Els had another solid if not spectacular round, carding five birdies and landed in fouth place with the suprising Greg Norman.
 
Norman, who won the inaugural event here in 1986, started strong and got to within four of the lead, with birdies on five of his first eight holes. But a double bogey on the 12th left him out of the drama-filled ending. He and Els had 27 points apiece.

Lee Janzen, who had a quiet but productive first three days, came to life carding birdies on Nos. 1, 4, 7 and 8 to get onto the leaderboard. A few more on the back side gave him 26 points and fifth place all alone.
 
Overnight leader Craig Barlow took minus-3 point double bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes to drop out of contention and came in a tie for seventh.
 
Sergio Garcia could not get things going on Sunday after a his awesome display of 19 points on Saturday. Four straight bogeys on the front side removed any chances he may have had to catch the leaders. He had minus-2 points on Sunday and finished in 18th place.
 
Tom Lehman had another solid day that saw him get into the top 10 with a second consecutive day of 11 points. He had six birdies to go with a lone bogey and finished with 23 points.
 
With the victory Beem earns automatic entry into the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in two weeks.
 
He most certainly deserves it.
 

Full-field scores from The International
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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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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.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


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.