Bickerton Breaks Out Wins Maiden Title

By Sports NetworkOctober 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourTENERIFE, Canary Islands -- England's John Bickerton ran away with his first European Tour title on Sunday with a 3-under 68 in his final round at the Abama Open de Canarias.
 
Bickerton ended the tournament at 10-under-par 274 for a five-stroke victory over South Africa's Michael Kirk and Stuart Little of England. It took 287 events -- including five runner-up finishes -- but the 35-year-old finally has his first win in 12 years on tour.
 
'Finally,' said Bickerton, who shot in the 60s in each of his four rounds. 'It feels fantastic, awesome. It's been a long time coming and I've been very worried about my place on tour.'
 
Bickerton, who entered the tournament ranked 118th on the Order of Merit, won't have to worry about making the top-115 placement needed to retain his place on the circuit next season.
 
And with his playing privileges secure, he can now look forward to the HSBC Champions Tournament next month.
 
'It's your career, your future lies on this game and a few quid makes such a difference,' Bickerton acknowledged. 'I moved down five spots last week, but it made me more determined and it's nice to pull it off under pressure.'
 
Kirk and Little tied for second place at 5-under-par 279 after final rounds of 69 and 72, respectively.
 
Little stumbled a bit after beginning the day just one stroke off Bickerton's overnight lead, but the second-place finish is the best of his career. Kirk, a second-division Challenge Tour player, may have played his way into the European Tour for next season.
 
There were plenty of good scores Sunday, but Bickerton ran away from the field by playing his first 10 holes at 3-under-par. He dropped a stroke at the par-3 12th -- just his fifth bogey of the tournament -- but by that time the title was all but in hand.
 
Another Englishman, Mark Roe, was 1 over in his final round and shared fourth place with Sweden's Johan Axgren (70) and Scotland's Marc Warren (69). The trio came in at minus-4.
 
For Roe, it was his best finish in four years. Coming into the tournament ranked 117th on the Order of Merit, he needed a good finish to secure his card for next year.
 
'That was hard work,' said the 42-year-old Roe. 'It does not get any easier the older you get.'
 
This tournament was the fourth and final dual-ranking event for the European and Challenge Tours this year. The field is watered-down with most of the world's top players competing at the WGC-American Express Championship in the United States.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Abama Open de Canarias
  • Full Coverage - Abama Open de Canarias
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm