Garrigus breaks Palmer record in Canada

By Doug FergusonJuly 28, 2012, 11:26 pm

ANCASTER, Ontario – Robert Garrigus would have made Arnold Palmer proud Saturday at the Canadian Open – for the way he treated the people, and for the scores on his card.

Garrigus combined his power with a couple of timely putts at rain-softened Hamilton for a 6-under 64, breaking the 54-hole scoring record at golf's third-oldest championship that was first set more than a half-century ago by Palmer. Equally impressive was when he didn't even have a club in his hand.

After a routine par on the sixth hole, Garrigus walked over to a volunteer and said, ''Thanks for being here.'' After he chunked a wedge into a bunker on the seventh, one of his poorer shots of the third round, he found another volunteer behind the green and said, ''Appreciate what you do for us.''

All dressed up: LPGA pros attend Evian gala

It's the kind of stuff that made Palmer the King.

''It makes me feel good just to say it,'' Garrigus said. ''Like I said, it's on their dime. And we need the fans. We need the volunteers. We need the sponsors, and a lot of guys out there don't lean that way to thank the volunteers. I've had hundreds of volunteers come up to me and say, 'Thanks for saying thank you.' That means a lot.''

Now if he can just finish like the King.

Garrigus had a one-shot lead over William McGirt, who played with poise with his name atop the leaderboard for the first time on the weekend at a PGA Tour event. McGirt had a 66 and actually lost ground, going from a share of the lead to one-shot behind. He will be in the last group with Garrigus.

Garrigus was at 16-under 194, one shot better than Palmer in 1955 at Weston Golf & Country Club in Toronto, and matched two years ago by Dean Wilson at St. George's Golf & Country Club, also in Toronto.

''Oops. Sorry, Arnie,'' Garrigus said when told about the record.

Palmer, however, went on to win the 1955 Canadian Open for the first of his 62 titles on the PGA Tour. Garrigus will be going for his second win, though this tournament is a long way from being settled.

Garrigus was fortunate to escape with par, not to mention his health, on the final hole when his 3-iron off the tee ran out 290 yards and just short of the bridge. Because he was inside the hazard, he couldn't ground the club and had a rules official make sure the bridge wasn't beneath the ball. It was a few inches ahead of the ball.

''If I hit it a millimeter fat, I break my wrist,'' Garrigus said. ''I had to knife it out of that lie and catch part of the bridge, and hopefully the ball gets the top part of the bridge and bounces up. And that's exactly what I did. I hit it perfect.''

Scott Piercy had a 67 and was two shots behind.

Scott Stallings, who won last week in Mississippi, birdied his last two holes for a 63 and was four shots behind, along with Chris Kirk (63) and Bo Van Pelt (67). Stallings ended a streak of nine consecutive PGA Tour events in which the 54-hole leader failed to win. The ninth was Ernie Els coming from six shots behind at the British Open. Stalling won later that day.

''A lot of guys haven't been able to hold leads this year,'' said Garrigus, still known for losing a three-shot lead on the final hole in Memphis two years ago.

No matter the difficulty of any course – Hamilton rates among the best in the Canadian Open rotation – soft greens are no match for the best players. And now, the 72-hole record at the Canadian Open is in jeopardy. That belongs to another Palmer – Johnny Palmer – who had a 263 in 1952 at St. Charles in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Garrigus' goal?

''Foot to the floor, as much as possible,'' he said.

He wasn't speaking about the scoring record as much as leaving town with the trophy, which would put him in a World Golf Championship next week at Firestone and the Masters next April. He might not have a choice the way scoring has been this week.

McGirt, who started the day atop the leaderboard for the first time in his career, was never more than two shots behind. That came on the par-3 13th, when his tee shot came up well short and into a bunker, leading to his lone bogey. He atoned for that with a birdie on the next par 3 at No. 16, and recovered from a poor tee shot with an up-and-down from some 45 yards short of the 18th green.

Garrigus wasted no time joining the chase with a 316-yard tee shot that left him only a 5-iron that he stuffed inside 3 feet on the 530-yard fourth hole. He followed by driving through the green on the 329-yard fourth hole into a back bunker for an up-and-down, then made another strong move around the turn with three birdies in a four-hole stretch, courtesy of a couple of tricky putts.

The third round started late and in threesomes to cope with overnight rain, though Hamilton began to dry out in the afternoon. Proof of that was the 3-iron Garrigus hit off the 18th tee to stay well short of the creek. He was stunned to see it go through the fairway near the bridge.

The forecast Sunday is for sunshine, which could make Hamilton the test it typically is.

Kirk, who began the third round six shots behind. Starting with the third hole, Kirk made seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch. He was 7 under for his round with eight holes remaining, needing birdie on half of them for a 59. He was never thinking about golf's magic number, though, which was a good thing. He closed with eight pars, and he was OK with that.

''I was just trying to keep my head down and keep going,'' he said. ''When you have those days where everything is going in the hole, you make as many as you can.''

DIVOTS: Vijay Singh, winless on the PGA Tour since 2008, started the third round three shots behind and had a 69. He was seven shots out of the lead. ... William McGirt and his wife, Sarah, are expecting their first child in January. That might make it tough for him to get to Kapalua if he were to win on Sunday, a nice problem to have. ... Greenbrier winner Ted Potter Jr. was in the mix until a 40 on the back nine.

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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”