Irwin Tops McCord at Turtle Bay
'It's nice to win a playoff,' said Irwin, who also won this tournament in 1997. 'I still have some goals to attain this year.'
Irwin and McCord finished regulation knotted at 8-under-par 208. The duo returned to the tee at the par-5 18th for the first, and only, extra hole. After McCord drove into the rough, Irwin was in the driver's seat with a clear view of the green.
Irwin carried the water in front of the putting surface with his second shot and his ball landed pin high in the rough. He chipped to eight feet and drained the putt for the win and a $225,000 first-place check.
The all-time winner on the Senior Tour has had tremendous success in Hawaii with his sixth victory in the Aloha State. However, the final round at the Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort on Sunday was a highly contested battle.
'I never felt like it was going to be anything but tough all day,' said Irwin, who carded a final-round 70. 'Trying to get through the day was the first order of business.'
Irwin was part of a four-way tie atop the leaderboard after the second round and fought hard to remain afoot as fellow overnight co-leaders Dick Mast, Mike Smith and Morris Hatalsky had intentions of their own.
Mast had the most success early and jumped into the lead with three birdies on the front nine that moved him to 9-under for the tournament. He had a two-shot lead at one point, but came back to the field with a bogey at the 13th.
Irwin was consistent throughout his round and started with a 20-foot birdie at the first. He later hit a 9-iron inside three feet for birdie at the ninth.
'I wasn't doing my thing early,' said Irwin, who secured the top spot in the race for the 2002 Charles Schwab Cup with the win. 'I made some great saves early on. My experience playing on Sunday helped me in the end.'
McCord put himself into the mix with a birdie at the third. Despite a bogey at the following hole, McCord ran home three consecutive birdies starting at the par-4 seventh.
Smith remained near the top of the leaderboard, but finished shy of the playoff after a round of 71. Smith was joined by Mast and John Bland at 7-under-par 209.
Hatalsky collected two birdies and two bogeys to finish alongside Isao Aoki and Steve Veriato at 6-under-par 210.
Sammy Rachels was one shot further back, followed by Andy North, who finished at 4-under-par 212.
Final results from the Turtle Bay Championship
Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.
Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.
As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.
Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.
This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.
The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.
Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders
PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.
Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.
Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.