Curtis Big Win Biggest Thing to Hit Ostrander

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 22, 2003, 4:00 pm
OSTRANDER, Ohio (AP) -- Now that her nephew pulled off one of golf's biggest upsets by winning the British Open, Ben Curtis' aunt has a major problem to consider in planning a weekend bridal shower.
 
'What do you get for someone who has just won $1.1 million?' Nancy Plant said Monday. 'Do I still get them a gift certificate at Target?'
 
Curtis edged Vijay Singh and Thomas Bjorn by a shot Sunday in one of the biggest upsets in the 132 years of the British Open. As Curtis flew home from Sandwich, England, relatives and the 400-plus residents of Ostrander still were trying to absorb how a small-town boy made good -- very, very good.
 
On what would otherwise have been a slow morning at the Mill Creek Golf Club owned by Curtis' family, a reception line formed near the grill. Ben's dad, Bob, his mother, Janice, and his 80-year-old grandmother, Myrtie Black, took turns doing interviews.
 
Other relatives were scattered around the clubhouse, where Ben learned the game from his grandfather. Out on the practice putting green, a couple of Ben's nephews and nieces took whacks at the ball while a film crew logged every second.
 
Golf was the topic of the day at the Ostrander Restaurant and Pizza Shop, which also sells night crawlers at $2 a dozen.
 
'We can't talk about anything else, nothing else is even close,' said owner Yvonne Ball.
 
The Delaware County Bank and Trust Co. was awaiting the delivery of a large banner celebrating Curtis' victory.
 
Ben's parents live across from the bank on Main Street. A large fiberboard sign near their front yard said, 'Go Ben!' in orange letters.
 
The only police car in the village -- a rusted, decades-old Plymouth Gran Fury -- stood guard unattended. The car isn't actually used to fight crime -- there is no village police department -- it is just moved around so that out-of-towners hit the brakes when they see the lights on the roof and the peeling 'Ostrander Marshal' emblem on the side of the car.
 
'That's their security,' laughed another one of Ben's five aunts, Linda Black.
 
On the outskirts of town, the Ostrander Implement and Farm Center wasn't advertising any specials. 'Go, Ben, Go!' said the marquee.
 
Inside, Mike Schuette, who said he plays golf occasionally at Mill Creek and knows the Curtis family, said he cannot recall anything bigger happening here.
 
'This puts Ostrander on the map,' he said while tightening the chain on a chain saw.
 
The village always was on the map, quietly perched a half-mile off a state highway about 40 minutes northwest of Columbus. There are no streetlights. The 'business district' consists of an insurance agency, a grain mill, the bank, restaurant and a couple of churches.
 
Curtis' family has been trying to put it all into perspective. Janice Curtis said she spoke briefly Sunday night to her son, who was at the tournament with his fiancee, Candace Beatty.
 
'He was the usual Ben,' she said. 'He was a little excited. He said, 'I played OK.' When I talk to him, I don't dwell on the golf. He gets enough of that. I asked him what he had to eat. And Candace is a picky eater. I wanted to know if she had enough to eat.'
 
Business started picking up at Mill Creek about the same time the sun came out after a morning rain.
 
When Bill and Myrtie Black told friends they were going to build the golf course on their 60-acre farm, many told the Blacks they were crazy. They opened the first nine holes in 1973, living in the clubhouse because there was so much to do and the days were so short. They bought more land and added another nine holes in 1977.
 
Janice used to bring her boyfriends out to the golf course and the couple would pick up rocks before they could go out to a movie or dinner. Of all the boyfriends, Bob was the hardest worker. It wasn't just happenstance that he ended up marrying her and becoming the head greenskeeper.
 
Bill taught his grandchildren to play, but none took to it like
 

Ben. Likewise, no one was hit as hard as Ben when Bill died in February.
 
That became evident when, as he accepted the claret jug near the 18th green on Sunday, his voice cracked as he thanked his family for its support.
 
After their August marriage, Ben and Candace will move into a house in Stow, a suburb of Akron not far from where they attended Kent State University.
 
About the time their jet was over the Atlantic, a sign proclaiming Mill Creek as the home course of a 'PGA Tour player' was replaced with a larger one boasting 'British Open champion.'
 

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 
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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."