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:
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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.