Gilder Last Man Standing in Windy Oklahoma
He was staying nearby with Doug Tewell, about to depart for a tournament in San Antonio. They thought they would come out to Gaillardia and play a few holes before they left.
But they didnt. It was way too windy, Gilder said. We dont play in that stuff. That might hurt you.
Sunday, they were forced to play in that stuff. Just like that day, the winds were howling ' 20 miles per hour steadily, gusts up to 35 m.p.h. And unlike that day, he played golf. He shot a 1-over 73, but it was good enough to give him the win in the Senior Tour Championship.
Gilder stepped over Bruce Lietzke en route to the victory. Lietzke had entered the fourth round ahead by one stroke, but Sunday was a day definitely not suited for his high shot and his broomstick putter.
The winds were unmerciful in scattering his shots to the four corners. Lietzke bobbed repeatedly as he tried to stand erect over the long putter, and finished with a 4-over 76. That was two behind Gilder and one behind Tewell, who shot a 69 and snuck in with second place.
I really had to play each shot one at a time, said Gilder. It was just that difficult. You really had to concentrate on every shot. You loose one of them and who knows where it might roll?
Gilder and Lietzke took turns owning the lead throughout the front nine, but the tournament swung Gilders way with suddenness at No. 11, where he birdied at the same time as Lietzke was making bogey. The next hole, No. 12, it happened again, Gilder notching another birdie while Lietzke bogeyed.
That opened a four-shot lead for Gilder, and the Oregon native hung together in the final holes for the victory.
I think the round pretty well got away from me in two categories, Lietzke said. I drove the ball poorly ' I think I missed five or six fairways today and I havent done that all week. I was playing out of the rough today and that really made it double-tough, hitting flyers out of the rough with this wind.
And my chipping was not good today. My stats for the last four days say Ive hit 94 percent of the greens, and I just havent had to hit many chips. My chip shots that were pretty much routine ' I didnt get any of them up-and-down.
And there was the matter of the putting.
A couple of times, I would have whiffed the ball if I would have continued the stroke. I was moving so much, he said. I was waiting for a little lull for about 10 seconds, but after that, you have to go ahead and pull the trigger.
The four-shot swing at Nos. 11 and 12 were a boon to Gilder and near-fatal to Lietzke.
I put it in the rough on 11 and couldnt put it on the green, said Lietzke. Then I hit a poor chip and bogeyed the hole. Gilder was in a fairway bunker and hit a marvelous shot up to 12 feet and made the birdie.
Twelve is a real hard left-to-right hole and I didnt want to lose the ball right. I hit what I thought was a great drive that just stayed straight and ended up in the left rough. I misjudged the flyer lie on my second shot and couldnt reach the green. He hit a beautiful shot (8-iron from 144 yards to four feet) in there and made the putt again.
That was really tough. I didnt necessarily lose the tournament right there, but it certainly put me way behind.
After those events, Gilder surely didnt think it was over. But he appreciated what it meant, gaining four shots of those two holes.
Im not going to say it took the wind out of anybodys sails, but it would have me, Gilder said. But to his credit, he hung right in there and had an opportunity on the last hole.
That came at 18 with Lietzke having one final chance, standing two shots behind. It was a par-5 and Lietzke had to eagle it. He had an opportunity with the ball 20 feet from the hole after two shots.
But he missed the first putt, the ball curling four feet off to the side, and then proceeded to miss the second putt to wind up at 9-under and fall behind Tewell.
In hindsight, Tewell - Gilders host for the week - lost the tournament in the second round Friday, a calm day when Lietzke shot a 63 and most of the field shot their best scores of the week. Tewell shot a 70, good by journeyman standards but not when compared to the tournament leaders.
I lost the tournament in that dead calm day on Friday, Tewell agreed.
Allen Doyle won the money title and the Charles Schwab Cup as the outstanding Senior golfer of 2001, despite shooting 73-74-72-76-219. He donated his entire prize of a $1 million in tax-deferred annuities to a host of charities.
As soon as I saw all those holes cut on the left side, I was a dead duck, said Doyle. It was set up for someone who plays a fade, and I am a low draw player.
Full-field scores from the Senior Tour Championship
Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.
The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.
"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."
Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.
It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.
Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.
Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.
He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.
Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.
The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.
''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''
Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.
''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.
Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.
“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”
Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.
Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.
Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.
Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.
“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”
Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.
“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.
This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.