Haeggman Goes Low for Victory

By Sports NetworkMarch 14, 2004, 5:00 pm
DOHA, Qatar -- Joakim Haeggman fired a final-round, 7-under 65 on Sunday to come from behind and win the Qatar Masters. He finished at 16-under-par 272 and won by a single shot over Nobuhito Sato at Doha Golf Club.
 
The victory was Haeggman's first since the 1997 Volvo Scandinavian Masters and his third on the European Tour. He is playing this season on a medical exemption after breaking his ankle in an ice hockey accident.
 
'I tripped over and sat on my ankle,' said Haeggman, who broke his ankle in two places. 'I am not so fast these days and the bone didn't hold. I spent a long time trying to walk again but it's fine now. The nearest I get to an ice rink is 400 yards away when I drive past.'
 
Sato, an overnight co-leader, needed an eagle on the final hole of regulation to force a playoff but only made birdie. He carded a 4-under 68 on Sunday to post his highest finish on the European Tour.
 
Raphael Jacquelin, the other co-leader with Sato after the third round, managed a 3-under 69 and tied for third place with Brian Davis and Jose Manuel Lara, who both shot rounds of 5-under 67. The trio came in at 14-under-par 274.
 
Haeggman, who began the final round two strokes behind the co-leaders, broke out quickly on Sunday with five birdies in his first seven holes. He took over sole possession of first place with a tap-in birdie at the par-5 10th to reach 15-under par.
 
The Swede birdied the par-3 13th to go two ahead but dropped a stroke to par at the very next hole. Haeggman parred holes 15-17 to remain one up on the field as he played the par-5 18th at Doha Golf Club.
 
Haeggman sank a 15-footer for birdie at the last to go two in front of Sato and Jacquelin, who both needed eagle at the final hole to force a playoff.
 
Sato landed in the fairway at 18 but realized he could not make the putting surface in two. He laid up then pitched his third to six feet and made the birdie putt to go to 15 under.
 
Jacquelin tried a driver off the fairway with his second at 18 and landed in a greenside bunker. His blast did not fall into the cup and he made par to stay in third place.
 
With the victory, Haeggman now has his sights set on making this year's Ryder Cup team, a team he has made only once in 1993. He was one of Sam Torrance's advisors at the European victory in 2002 but now the Swede wants to be a bigger part of the action this September.
 
'The hard practice has paid off and I would love to get back into the Ryder Cup Team again,' said Haeggman, who went 1-1 at the Belfry in '93. 'I enjoyed walking the fairways with Sam last time, but I couldn't see why I wasn't there playing. This is just one step on the road and I feel I can cope with pressure and play at the highest level again.'
 
For Sato, this finish was a step in an ongoing process. Sato, who turned 34 on Friday, earned his tour card this year through Q-School but with his second-place check this week, he moved to 18th on the Order of Merit and looks to be in solid shape for retaining his card next year.
 
'I am so happy,' said Sato. 'I never expected to play so well and to make only two bogeys all week was good. I am pleased with the birdie at the last because I have done so much to keep my card for next year.'
 
Martin Maritz shot a final-round 67 and took sixth at 13-under-par 275, Greg Owen finished a stroke back at minus-12 thanks to a 5-under 67 in Sunday's final round.
 
Roger Chapman (70), Robert-Jan Derksen (65), Stephen Gallacher (67) and David Howell (70) shared eighth place at 11-under-par 277.
 
Darren Fichardt, the 2003 champion, shot a 1-over 73 on Sunday and tied for 36th place at 5-under-par 283.
 
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  • Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

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    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

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    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

    Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

    Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

    Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

    With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

    Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

    “It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

    Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

    Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

    "It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."