Forsyth Notches First Win in Malaysian Playoff

By Sports NetworkMarch 3, 2002, 5:00 pm
Scotland's Alastair Forsyth birdied the second extra hole of a playoff Sunday to defeat Australian Stephen Leaney and win the Malaysian Open at Royal Selangor Golf Club. The victory was the first on the European Tour for Forsyth, who lost his playing privileges after finishing one spot out of the top-115 on the 2001 Order of Merit.
 
The 26-year-old Forsyth, in the field this week thanks to a sponsor's invitation, moved to sixth on the current Order of Merit and earned a two-year exemption on tour.
 
'It feels fantastic, absolutely fantastic,' said Forsyth. 'I was pretty low at the end of last year and it is really hard for me to explain the winning feeling.'
 
Forsyth and Leaney finished 72 holes of regulation tied at 17-under 267, then returned to the par-4 18th for the playoff. They traded pars on the first extra hole, but Forsyth had the advantage the second time down the 18th in sudden death when he hit the fairway and Leaney drove into the right rough.
 
After Leaney's approach landed 50 feet from the hole, Forsyth knocked a 9-iron from 160 yards out to 15 feet. Leaney then failed to convert his long birdie attempt and Forsyth sank his putt to complete the wire-to-wire victory.
 
'The putt was just outside the right edge of the hole. I hit it perfectly,' Forsyth said. 'I couldn't believe it.'
 
Forsyth was atop the leaderboard since posting a course-record 63 in the first round and entered the final day with a two-stroke lead. Although he pushed his lead to three shots through nine holes Sunday, Forsyth bogeyed three of the first five holes on the back nine and found himself trailing for the first time with just four holes to play.
 
A birdie on the 15th hole gave Leaney a two-shot cushion, but Forsyth cut the lead in half with a three-foot birdie at the 16th. Then Leaney, who had missed a 12-foot birdie at 16 that would have kept him two ahead, watched Forsyth tie the lead with a birdie putt of 10 feet at the 17th.
 
Both players parred the 18th in regulation.
 
'I almost had it in the bag at one point when I was three shots ahead and felt I was nearly cruising,' Forsyth said. 'To lose it and win it again was unbelievable.'
 
Leaney fired a bogey-free, 4-under-par 67 in the final round -- his third 67 of the week to go with a third-round 66. Forsyth closed with 1-under 70.
 
Forsyth, who won the 1999 European Tour Qualifying School finals, collected five top-10s in his rookie season of 2000 to finish 46th on that year's Order of Merit. He plummeted to 116th in earnings a year later after reeling in only one top-10 finish.
 
For Leaney, who suffered just one bogey all week, all that was left was to mull over missed opportunities.
 
'I felt I had the tournament in my hands on the 16th green,' said Leaney, a three-time European Tour winner who also captured the Malaysian Amateur Championship in 1992.
 
'But [Forsyth] played well. He showed some guts coming down the stretch because he struggled mid round. He made a couple of mistakes but to his credit he came back with some good birdies and it was a good putt to win the title.'
 
It was more than a two-man race to the finish Sunday. Germany's Alex Cejka, six shots off the lead at the start of the day, birdied eight holes in the final round, including the 15th, 16th and 17th to reach 17-under.
 
He drove into the trees at No. 18, however, and was unable to hit the green in two. After chipping to within 10 feet, Cejka left his par-saving putt an inch short of the hole.
 
'I actually never thought I could be right up there,' said Cejka, who shot a 6-under 65 to finish alone in third place at 16-under 268. 'I thought the course was playing pretty easy and I was five or six shots behind. It was unlucky that final putt came up short.'
 
Spaniards Miguel Angel Martin and Ignacio Garrido tied for fourth at 14-under. Ian Woosnam of Wales, who celebrated his 44th birthday Saturday, rounded out the top-10 at 13-under 271 with England's John Bickerton, Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and Des Terblanche of South Africa.
 
Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who finished runner-up in the Malaysian Open the last two years, tied for 11th at 12-under.
 
Christian Pena of the U.S. finished eight shots back after turning in a flawless 63 made up of four birdies and two eagles.
 
Full-field scores from the Malaysian Open
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

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

Each week, GolfChannel.com 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

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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.

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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.

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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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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