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
Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas
Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.
Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?
Memo to the golf gods:
If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?
Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?
It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.
With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.
It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.
We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.
We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.
Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.
Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line. Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.
We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors.
In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.
While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.
Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.
Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.
Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.
While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.
Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.
So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?
McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever
With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.
The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.
Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.
"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."
McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.
But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.
"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."
What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire
Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.
Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x