Whos the Boss

By Mercer BaggsMay 18, 2009, 4:00 pm
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WE'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE: Zach Johnson repeated as champion of the Valero Texas Open, defeating James Driscoll with a 12-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Johnson shot 10-under 60 in a weather-stricken third round and then beat back the pack on Sunday with an even-par 72.
Backspin A nice win for Johnson, but a missed opportunity for a bunch of others. Driscoll posted 15 under early in the day after shooting 62, but couldn't get it done in the playoff to miss out ' again ' on his first Tour win. Paul Goydos was at 16 under, with a one-shot lead, before finishing bogey-bogey. And Bill Haas, in search of his maiden victory, raced up the leaderboard with five birdies in a six-hole strech on the back nine, before an ugly bogey at 17 ended his chances. Meanwhile, Johnson gets win No. 2 on the season and No. 6 of his burgeoning career.


YOU GOT BEAT BY A CADDIE: Lance Ten Broeck pulled double duty at La Cantera, making it into the field after David Berganio withdrew. The 53-year-old former Tour player competed in the morning Thursday and then performed his regular duty ' as caddie for Jesper Parnevik ' in the afternoon, and then repeated the process ' in reverse order ' Friday.
Backspin Ten Broeck had to borrow clubs from Richard S. Johnson, buy some slacks at the local mall, and play with balls on loan from Parnevik ' and he still beat his boss. While both men missed the cut, Ten Broeck shot 71-70; Parnevik 70-74. We're not saying that Ten Broeck should try his hand at the Champions Tour, but maybe he should look for another employer (Parnevik has made only two of eight cuts this year).


LOWRY SEASONED BEYOND YEARS: Shane Lowry, a 22-year-old amateur, won his country's Open championship when he defeated Robert Rock in a three-hole playoff at the Irish Open. The win was not only Lowry's first on the European Tour ' it was his first-ever start on the circuit.
Backspin With Padraig Harrington missing the cut and Rory McIlroy out of the hunt, this tournament could have been a dud for the Irish faithful. Instead, it turned into one of the more entertaining events on tour this year. Lowry showcased his talent with a Friday 62, then displayed his grit by overcoming a missed 3-footer on the 72nd hole which would have won him the tournament. It's now time for him to turn pro ' and get paid!


SOME GOOD OUT OF BAD: Coming off his runner-up finish in Italy, John Daly missed the cut at the Irish Open. Daly opened in 4-under 68, but shot 3-over 75 in Round 2 to finish three strokes out of weekend play.
Backspin Friday was cold, wet and windy ' basically what foreigners envision Ireland to be. Daly shooting 75 shouldn't be that big of a surprise. For the first time in a long time the guy was probably freezing, since he lost a layer of protection. But give him a bit of credit: He started his second round with double bogeys on two of his first four holes, yet played his final 14 in 1 under. He didn't quit, which says more about the new and improved Daly than the previous week's performance when he tied for second place.


OH, MY: Ji Young Oh earned her second career LPGA title, winning the Sybase Classic by four shots over Suzann Pettersen. The victory moved her to eighth on this season's money list.
Backspin Congratulations to Oh, but the real stroy was who didn't win. Pettersen, who was tied after 54 holes, shot 74 to finish second. Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie, both three back to start Sunday, had 73s and tied for third. And Kraft Nabisco champion Brittany Lincicome, who began just one off the pace, carded a 77 for a T-6. Those numbers sound ' and probably felt ' disappointing, but consider this: Oh's 2-under 70 tied for the low round of the day, and was one of only nine under-par scores Sunday.


DREAM A LITTLE DREAM: Michelle Wie matter-of-factly mentioned in her pre-tournament press conference at the Sybase Classic that she still has intentions of one day winning a PGA Tour event and making the Masters.
Backspin It's easy to roll our eyes and say, 'Here we go again.' But remember, she's only 19 years old. It doesn't seem likely that this will ever happen, but she's just at the beginning of her professional career. Let her set her own goals and see if she can achieve them. She's not laughing at me because I have a dream of one day getting out of credit-card debt. Actually, her goal is much more attainable.


GIRL TALK: Annika Sorenstam announced that she and husband Mike McGee are having a girl. The couple, who got married in January, are expecting their first child some time this fall.
Backspin Admit it: you're already wondering what kind of golfer she'll be. I'm more concerned with what they're going to name her. Give her a name like Potato Salad Sorenstam and it will be far more damaging than growing up the daughter of a sports legend.


YOU GO YOUR WAY, I'LL GO MINE: Rory McIlroy sparked a bit of controversy when he said that the Ryder Cup was a simple exhibition and that making the team didn't mean much to his career. Colin Montgomerie, the 2010 European captain, took exception to the comments, but made sure to point out that he was not trying to get into a war of words with the Irish teen.
Backspin As luck would have it, the boy and the man were grouped together in the first two rounds in Ireland. For the record, Monty opened in 70-65; McIlroy in 69-68 ' and both stunk once separated, over the weekend. It seems like for every Cup (not Presidents), there is someone who tries to downplay its importance. And then they get a chance to participate and it becomes the best experience of their professional life. The same thing will happen to McIlroy. Guaranteed.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Bob Rosburg, the winner of six PGA Tour events including the 1959 PGA Championship, died Thursday after suffering a head injury earlier in the week. ... Keith Fergus won the Champions Tour's Regions Charity Classic, when inclement weather reduced the event to 36 holes. ... Michael Sim won the BMW Charity Classic, his second victory in his last three starts on the Nationwide Tour.
Backspin Rosburg was 82. And one of the great on-course commentators. ... It rained all week in Birmingham, Ala., beginning with a showering of Charles Barkley's golf balls into the gallery during the pro-am. ... Sim not only leads the tour's money list, but has a record $211,136 advantage over No. 2 Garth Mulroy.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Valero Texas Open
  • Full Coverage ' Sybase Classic
  • Complete News Headlines
  • Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.

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    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.

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    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

    Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

    Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

    Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

    “At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

    Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.

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    With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

    “I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

    Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

    Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

    “As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

    Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

    Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

    Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

    Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.

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    Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

    There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

    “I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

    Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

    The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.