Bryant Wins as Watson Implodes at Sr Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
U.S. Senior OpenHAVEN, Wis. -- Brad Bryant fired a 4-under 68 Sunday to win the U.S. Senior Open as third-round leader Tom Watson collapsed on the back nine.
Bryant collected his first major championship win and fourth Champions Tour crown as he finished at 6-under-par 282.
Brad Bryant
Brad Bryant celebrates his first major championship victory. (Getty Images)
The 52-year-old Bryant, who trailed by five strokes at the beginning of the round, notched the second biggest final-round comeback in U.S. Senior Open history. Allen Doyle closed with an 8-under 63 in 2005 to overtake D.A. Weibring and Loren Roberts for a one-stroke win.
'Dreams do come true. Thirty-five years ago standing on a practice putting green I dreamed about hitting that putt and winning the U.S. Open as a kid,' admitted Bryant, who collected $470,000 for the win. 'Miracles happen.'
Watson got to 9 under with a birdie on the par-4 10th, but dropped six strokes over the next five holes. Watson posted a 7-over 43 on the back nine en route to a 6-over 78 at Whistling Straits that left him alone in fourth at 1-under-par 287
'I hit the ball in the rough too many times, and I got my just reward hitting the ball in the rough,' stated Watson. 'I had to put the ball in the fairway and I didn't do it enough times, that was the killer for me.'
Ben Crenshaw, who hasn't won since the 1995 Masters, carded a 2-under 70 to end alone in second place at 3-under-par 285. Roberts was one shot back at minus-2 after closing with a 2-over 74.
Watson opened with a birdie at the first and was four strokes clear of the field.
He dropped a shot on the fourth, but consecutive birdies from the ninth got him to 9 under, three strokes clear of Bryant, who was playing three groups ahead of Watson.
The big swing came at the par-5 11th. Bryant played his third to two feet and kicked that in for birdie to move to 7 under.
Watson, the 1982 U.S. Open champion, found a fairway bunker of the tee and played down the fairway with his second. He came up short in the rough with his third, then chipped his fourth short off the putting surface.
He pitched his fifth within 5 feet, but two-putted for double-bogey to slip to minus-7. Watson still led by one as Bryant could not save par from a greenside bunker on the 12th.
Watson's slide continued with a three-putt bogey on 12 and a two-putt bogey from 5 feet at 13 dropped him to 5 under and into a share of the lead with Bryant, who got to that number when he could not save par from a bunker at 14.
'When I made double-bogey at 11, a reachable par-5, that was a real wake-up call right there that the golf course wasn't going to give in very easily,' Watson said. 'Bogeys on the next two holes, a lousy three-putt at 12 and not getting the ball up-and-down from the back at 13 was kind of a harbinger for the rest of the day.'
Bryant moved one stroke ahead of Watson with a two-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th. Watson continued to struggle as he double-bogeyed the 15th.
Bryant, who led the field in greens in regulation this week, knocked his tee shot to 6 feet at the 17th. He missed the birdie try, but tapped in for par. At the 18th, Bryant two-putted from about 30 feet to close out the win.
'I hit the ball solidly all week, which in the wind is good,' said Bryant, who hit 30 of 36 greens in regulation in the final two rounds. 'I got the ball close to the hole starting out today. The front nine I think I had six good birdie putts and made four of them, that got me more focused.'
Crenshaw got within two of the lead thanks to birdies on nine, 11 and 13. At that point, he was 4 under. However, he wrapped bogeys at 15 and 17 around a birdie on 16 to get end at 3 under.
'We had a heck of a test of golf this week,' said Crenshaw. 'I played well for the most part today, but had a little bobble at the finish. I just didn't play quite well enough.'
Jay Haas, the reigning Champions Tour player of the year, closed with an even- par 72. He ended in a tie for fifth at 1-over-par 289 and was joined there by Sam Torrance, Denis Watson, Tom Purtzer, D.A. Weibring and Joe Ozaki.
Jim Woodward, Lonnie Nielsen, Vicente Fernandez, Larry Nelson and Mark O'Meara were one stroke further back at plus-2.
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    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."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    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.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    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.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    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. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    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.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “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.