Claxton Comes From Behind to Win in Louisiana
The 33-year-old Georgia native fired a 5-under 67 for a tournament total of 17-under-par 271 to finish one shot clear of Tim Petrovic, who shot 70, and third-round leader Steve Runge, who carded an even-par 72 at Le Triomphe Country Club.
'It's been a long time coming,' said Claxton, who collected $81,000 to jump from 51st to third on the season money list. 'I have been close a few times and I feel like my game has been getting better each year. It was a great day for me to come down the stretch, make the putts and finish the tournament the way I did.'
After sinking a 10-foot birdie putt at the 17th, Claxton knocked a 6-iron to within four feet at the 460-yard, par-4 closing hole to set up a final birdie. That moved him into a share of the lead with Petrovic, who made it to 17-under after matching birdies back at the 14th with playing partner Runge.
Petrovic bogeyed the 16th to drop back into second place at 16-under with Runge. The players had two holes remaining to at least force a playoff, but Runge missed a 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th and Petrovic's 12-footer was off the mark at 18.
'Two weeks in a row I placed second. I'm not going to complain,' said Petrovic, who also finished one shot out of first place at 16-under 272 in the Buy.Com Monterrey Open. 'I made some mistakes but I'm happy with the way I'm playing. I'm hanging in there not making too many mistakes so next time I get in position, hopefully I can pull off a victory.'
Petrovic's second runner-up showing in as many starts moved him into fourth place in earnings this year.
Petrovic, at 14-under and two back of Runge to start the day, took a one-shot lead with birdies at the first two holes and a Runge bogey at the first.
Petrovic bogeyed the fourth hole but made up for the lost shot with a two-putt for birdie at the par-5 5th. He was joined at the top of the leaderboard by Jeff Freeman, who surged to 16-under through eight holes on the strength of an opening eagle and three birdies.
Petrovic suffered a minor setback with a bogey at the eighth, but he returned to 16-under at the 10th after his approach left him with a foot for birdie. Runge fell to 2-over on the day with a bogey of his own at eight, then put himself in position to make a late run with the first of back-to-back birdies at the 13th.
Meanwhile, Claxton had made his way to 15-under with birdies from 20, eight, and 10 feet on the front nine, only to slip back a stroke after his tee shot found the water at the 12th. He rolled in a 12- footer to save par at the 13th, then two-putted from 30 feet for birdie at 14.
Freeman, who dropped out of contention with a double-bogey at the 13th, finished with a 69 for a share of 14-under 274 with Bob Gaus (65), Jody Bellflower (69), Jamie Rogers (69), Charles Raulerson (70) and Gene Sauers (70).
Monday qualifier David Lebeck, who fired a course-record 61 for the first-round lead, eagled the par-5 12th Sunday for a short-lived share of the top spot with Petrovic at 16-under. But Lebeck came back with a triple-bogey at 13 and finished in a four-way tie at 13-under par.
Michael Allen began the day in 60th place but turned in a final-round 63 that was made up of eight birdies, an eagle and a bogey at the last hole. He ended the event in joint 18th at 11-under.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18