Drummond Tops Els Clarke in England

By Sports NetworkMay 30, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Volvo PGA ChampionshipSURREY, England -- Scott Drummond fired an 8-under 64 on Sunday to hold off the competition for his maiden European Tour title at the Volvo PGA Championship. Drummond, who finished at 19-under-par 269, joined 2002 champion Anders Hansen as the only players to earn their first career titles at this event.
'I really can't comprehend it at the moment,' said Drummond, who also became the first player to win the Volvo PGA Championship in his first start at the event since Arnold Palmer accomplished the feat in 1975. 'I just got on my game and it is a dream.'
Angel Cabrera, who carried the lead into the final round, shot a 67 to come up two shots short at 17-under-par 271. Joakim Haeggman was one shot further back at 16-under-par 272.
Drummond, a Challenge Tour grad who welcomed in his first child last month, was as close to perfect as you can get Sunday at the Wentworth Club. The Scot, who also celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday, came into this week ranked 435th in the Official World Golf Rankings and walked away with one of the most prestigious crowns on the European Tour.
While Cabrera and Haeggman battled early on for the lead under rainy conditions on the West Course, Drummond kept pace with a birdie at the par-5 fourth and pulled within one of the top spot with back-to-back birdies starting at the par-4 seventh.
Drummond grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie at the par-3 10th and played his third shot to 4 feet for a birdie at the par-5 12th.
Cabrera persisted, however, and regained a one-stroke advantage with a 9-foot putt for eagle at the very same hole. Drummond then ran home a 40-footer for a birdie at the par-4 13th to regain a share of the lead alongside his Argentine playing partner.
'I played very well, felt very comfortable but Scott was playing very well,' said Cabrera.
Cabrera stumbled with a bogey at the 14th to fall one back putting Drummond in the lead for good. Drummond held off Cabrera with another lengthy birdie putt at the par-5 17th and hit his third shot to the par-5 18th within 7 feet of the hole.
'On the 18th I didn't look at the leaderboard but the cheer from the crowd told me and the look in my caddie's eyes as well,' said Drummond. 'I knew we had done it.'
The Scot converted the birdie try to clinch the biggest victory of his career.
Haeggman, who continued to improve his Ryder Cup standing with another solid performance, moved into the lead early with three consecutive birdies from the third to climb to 14 under.
The Swede's advantage was short-lived and he mixed birdies with bogeys until the closing par-5s. Haeggman tallied a birdie at the 17th and missed the green with his approach to the last.
Haeggman chipped his third to 4 feet and sank the birdie putt to take third place alone after a round of 67.
Hansen, who had the same winning score when he titled by five strokes over Eduardo Romero and Colin Montgomerie in 2002, shot a 64 to join Darren Clarke and Nick Faldo in a tie for fourth place at 15-under-par 273.
Faldo, the 1989 champion at Wentworth, opened with a bogey at the first but countered with birdies at the fourth and later at the seventh.
The legendary English golfer caught fire on the back half and gave the local galleries plenty to cheer for. Faldo ran off three straight birdies starting at the 12th and almost chipped in for an eagle at the 17th.
Faldo tapped in for birdie and closed with a birdie at the last for a round of 66.
First-round leader Ernie Els carded a 68 to finish alone in seventh place at 13-under-par 275. Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Levet and Darren Fichardt followed at 12-under-par 276.
Justin Rose, who held the 36-hole lead, posted his second straight 72 to join Retief Goosen, Adam Scott and Christopher Hanell at 11-under-par 277.
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.