Piercy earns validation with Canadian win

By Doug FergusonJuly 30, 2012, 10:13 pm

ANCASTER, Ontario – Scott Piercy began the year with a chip on his shoulder, all because of the blank space on the front of his cap.

He had won for the first time on the PGA Tour at the Reno-Tahoe Open, but it didn't feel like much of a win. It didn't get him into the Masters, or any other major, not even the World Golf Championships.

And in a tough economy, he couldn't attract a sponsor for his hat, the prime billboard in golf.

Instead of giving it away, Piercy went blank.

'We thought we had a couple of deals lined up. It just didn't close as quick as we thought,' Piercy said. 'It gave me the ability to kind of put a chip on my shoulder and go play well, and maybe create some of my own value so that I'm worth it.'

Validation came Sunday in the Canadian Open on a course that required what Piercy referred to as 'boring golf.'

It was anything but that when he posed with the trophy after his one-shot victory over William McGirt and Robert Garrigus at Hamilton Golf & Country Club.

In a three-man race over the final hour, Piercy had to scramble for bogey on the 14th hole that dropped him two shots behind with four to play. Then, he chipped in for birdie on the next hole and closed with three pars as McGirt and Garrigus make just enough mistakes.

Piercy two-putted from 50 feet below the cup on the 18th hole for a 3-under 67, tying the oldest 72-hole tournament record on the PGA Tour at 263. Then, he had to wait.

Garrigus missed a half-dozen putts inside 8 feet in the final round, the last one proving to be the most costly. From short of the green about 75 feet away, he lagged his first putt to just inside 8 feet and missed that to make a bogey and fall one shot behind.

McGirt, atop the leaderboard for most of the final round and looking poised for a guy who had never seriously contended, three-putted the 15th hole by ramming his 45-foot putt about 15 feet past the cup.

It was his first and only three-putt of the tournament, and it cost him a one-shot lead. Needing a par on 18 to force a playoff, McGirt hit his approach into a deep bunker right of the green, hit a pedestrian bunker shot to 18 feet and missed it.

'I was just trying to make pars and get into the house,' said McGirt, who closed with a 69 for his seventh straight round in the 60s.

Garrigus had one last chance with a 15-foot birdie attempt on the 18th. It came up a fraction short, giving him a 70 and a bitter feeling about a wasted opportunity.

'I should have won this tournament by seven shots. Everybody knows that,' Garrigus said. 'If I could have just made a putt today.'

Self-deprecating as ever, Garrigus referred to the final hole as a 'good effort on 18 with my two shots and then lagged it up there for a nice, second-place finish.'

The win was timely in so many ways for Piercy.

He was headed to the Reno-Tahoe Open to defend his first tour title. Now, he is on his way to Firestone to play in the $8 million Bridgestone Invitational, his debut in a World Golf Championship.

He'll start his season in Kapalua again for the Tournament of Champions, and then make plans in April for his first trip down Magnolia Lane to play in the Masters.

'I've always told myself I'm not going unless I'm in the tournament,' Piercy said.

He also went to No. 13 in the FedEx Cup standings, leaving him in reasonable shape to advance to the Tour Championship for the first time and get into all the majors.

Piercy is on the A-list of power players in golf, though he doesn't get much attention without winning big tournaments. That's what led to his comments about 'boring golf' on the classic design at Hamilton. He prefers to smash drivers and attack flags. Hamilton is about position.

It raised the eyebrows of proud Canadians when he said that Friday - after opening with rounds of 62-67 to share the lead going into the weekend - because Hamilton is regarded as among the best on the Canadian Open rotation.

Lost in those comments was how much fun it would be to win the tournament. And that's how it felt.

Reminded of that comment, with the silver trophy from golf's third-oldest championship at his side, he smiled.

'That was taken a little out of context,' he said. 'I like to hit driver a lot, and this golf course I felt took the driver out of my hands. I did say, however, that at the end of the week if the score is good, it is exciting. So I'm pretty excited.'

It was anything but boring at the start of his round, when he quickly erased a two-shot deficit by running off four straight birdies. He used iron off the tee for the first two birdies, then turned to his power.

First, he blasted a 5-iron from 236 yards in the rough onto the green on the par-5 fourth hole for a two-putt birdie. Then, he hit driver onto the green at the 296-yard fifth hole for another two-putt birdie.

He never imagined playing the rest of the way at 1-over par and winning the tournament. His 263 tied the record set by Johnny Palmer in 1952 at St. Charles in Winnipeg, Manitoba. That leaves The Barclays (Bob Gilder in 1982) as the tournament that has gone the longest without its scoring record being matched or beaten.

Piercy, meanwhile, was only slightly disappointed at not going to the Reno-Tahoe Open, a special tournament for him because it was his first PGA Tour win.

Because play was so brisk at Hamilton, CBS Sports had time to fill in its broadcast, so the interviews with players were longer than usual.

Piercy was sure to thank his sponsors - one on front of his cap, two more on his shirt sleeve, his equipment sponsor and an apparel sponsor. 'Thanks for sticking by me,' said the guy who replaced a chip on his shoulder with a big silver trophy.

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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.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.