Fasth Holds Off Garcia in Spain

By Sports NetworkOctober 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Mallorca ClassicMALLORCA, Spain -- Niclas Fasth cruised to a 2-under 68 Sunday to earn a three-stroke win at the Mallorca Classic.
Fasth completed the event at 5-under-par 275. It was his fifth career win on tour and second of the season. He was also victorious at the Andalucia Open, which was also played in Spain.
'I've had a somewhat average summer, but I felt the last few weeks that the game was starting to come together again,' stated Fasth. 'I'm having a bit more fun and relaxing a bit more. I played good this week. It was fantastic to win again.'
This was the first time a Spaniard did not win the crown. The former champions here included Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Garcia, the 2004 champion, finished second for the second straight year. Garcia closed with a 68 of his own to end at 2-under-par 278.
Spain's Jose Manuel Lara posted a Sunday 67 to end in a share of third at minus-1. He was joined there by Marc Warren (70). Peter O'Malley took fifth at even-par 280 after struggling to a 2-over 72 in the final round.
Gary Murphy, who entered the week holding onto the last spot to keep his tour card for next year, struggled badly on Sunday. Murphy, who shared the third-round lead with Fasth, closed with a 6-over 76 that dropped him into a tie for 13th. However, he easily retained his tour card for next season, moving to 104th on the Order of Merit.
Fasth opened with five straight pars before two-putting for birdie on the par-5 sixth. That got him to minus-4, where he shared the lead with Murphy. but it would be the last time there was a tie for the lead.
Murphy bogeyed the seventh and eighth at Pula Golf Club to fall two behind Fasth.
Fasth missed the green long at the ninth and was unable to get up and down to save his par. That bogey dropped him to minus-3, where his lead was one.
The Swede bounced right back with a 10-foot birdie putt on 10 to regain his two-stroke cushion. After three routine pars, Fasth pushed his drive into the right rough off the 14th tee.
He hit a solid shot that, after just clearing the water fronting the green, rolled to 14 feet. Fasth drained the birdie putt to get to minus-5, three shots clear of Garcia.
'Sometimes you feel really good about a shot and I did with that. I hit the same shot earlier in the round on seven and it ended up really well,' admitted Fasth. 'So that was the same shot again, it felt great and I'm really proud of that one. To follow up with the birdie there, that felt really good.'
Fasth didn't make it easy on himself down the stretch, but he closed with four straight pars to secure the win. He needed to get up and down for par on each of the last two holes and did just that.
'To be able to relax and enjoy the last hole, it's not often you get a chance to do that,' Fasth said. 'I was three shots clear and I shouldn't really mess that up.'
Garcia never threatened the lead, but was able to take second thanks to three birdies and a bogey.
Paul McGinley closed with a 3-under 67 to join Soren Kjeldsen (70) in a share of sixth place at 1-over-par 281. Ricardo Gonzalez, Gregory Havret, Robert Karlsson, Benn Barham and Robert-Jan Derksen finished one stroke further back at minus-2.
The other big battle at this event was for those trying to keep their tour card for next year. Ian Garbutt ended in a tie for 64th this week, but it was enough for him to move from 121st to 118th on the Order of Merit, meaning he was the last player to secure his card for next season.
That move meant David Drysdale was the last man out as he finished 119th for the second straight year. He does have a chance to secure his tour card for next year through the Challenge Tour. If Drysdale cannot do it there, he will need to go through Qualifying School to try for his 2007 tour card.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Mallorca Classic
  • Full Coverage - Mallorca Classic
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry