Franco Cashes in at US Bank

By Sports NetworkJuly 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Carlos Franco shot a 3-under 67 Sunday to capture the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. He finished at 13-under-par 267 and won by two strokes over Brett Quigley and Fred Funk.
 
Patrick Sheehan, one of three 54-hole leaders, fell apart on the back nine Sunday. He only managed an even-par 70 and tied for third with Olin Browne and Billy Andrade, who posted matching rounds of 3-under-par 67. The trio came in at 10-under-par 270.
 
Franco began Sunday's final round tied with Sheehan and Quigley and with a spectacular approach at No. 9, Franco matched Sheehan atop the leaderboard at 12 under par.
 
Sheehan pulled ahead with an 8-footer for birdie at the ninth. Trouble loomed for Sheehan as he attempted to win his first tournament on the PGA Tour.
 
Sheehan missed the green at the par-3 11th and left with a bogey. Franco made a mess of the 12th to fall one behind Sheehan, but Sheehan had problems of his own at No. 12.
 
He drove right, then caught a flyer lie and knocked his second long and left. Sheehan faced a difficult, downhill chip with little green to work with, but he ran his ball through the other side of the green, into the fairway. Sheehan's fourth shot hit the stick and bounced 10 feet from the hole. He missed the bogey putt for a double-bogey 6.
 
Now with a two-stroke advantage, Franco played safely. He hit his approach 25 feet over the hole and two-putted for par at the 13th. At 14, Franco played his tee ball to 5 feet, but never seemed comfortable over the putt and missed right.
 
Franco took out his frustration from 14 on his ball at the par-5 15th. He smashed a drive into the first cut, then played his second on to the collar of the rough 20 feet from the hole. Franco chipped to 3 feet and ran home the birdie putt to go three ahead.
 
Funk was in the clubhouse at minus-11, while Quigley kept making pars. Franco made pars at 16 and 17, but Quigley inched within two with a birdie at the 17th after nearly holing his second shot. Sheehan also bogeyed 13 to fall off the pace.
 
Franco was up two when he waited on the par-5 18th tee. His drive went into the trees on the right side and he laid up short of the putting surface. Franco's second looked like it might be heading for the tall grass on the other side of the fairway, but stopped in the first cut.
 
Franco, the 1999 winner, pitched 30 feet past the flag, giving him a fast downhill putt. He flew it 3 feet past the hole, but converted for par. Now he watched to see if Quigley could make eagle and force a playoff.
 
Quigley drove into trees and hit his second down the fairway. He needed to hole out to force the sudden-death playoff, but missed right, allowing Franco his first win since 2000.
 
'I'm very happy because I waited almost five years for another win,' said Franco, who pocketed $630,000 for the win. 'I won here in 1999. This week is good for me.'
 
Franco is celebrating his 16th wedding anniversary this week and had his young daughter with him. This is a special place for Franco, who became the seventh multiple winner of this tournament. He now has four PGA Tour victories, two here and two in New Orleans.
 
Franco avoided the mistakes that plagued him in Saturday's third round. Several times on Saturday, Franco drove into terrible situations and he lost the outright lead with a bogey at 18.
 
On Sunday, he still had some miscues off the tee, but he played through it on his way to the winner's circle.
 
'Yesterday, I lost my focus on a couple of holes on the back nine,' said Franco. 'I did not lose my focus and I took a lot of confidence out of this. I was looking only for the trophy.'
 
Funk picked up more Ryder Cup points with his runner-up finish, as there is only three more weeks before the American team is finalized. He shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday.
 
Quigley posted a 1-under 69.
 
Defending champion Kenny Perry, who played in the penultimate group with Franco, tied for the lead briefly when he holed an 8-iron from 172 yards for an eagle at the eighth. He tallied three bogeys and one birdie the rest of the way for an even-par 70.
 
He tied for seventh with Bo Van Pelt (67) and Danny Briggs (68) at 9-under-par 271.
 
Scott Hoch took 10th at minus-8, while Scott Verplank narrowly missed out on Ryder Cup points. He tied for 11th with Jason Dufner at 7 under par and will not move up from his 12th position on the American list.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Bank Championship
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Bank Championship
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.