Olazabal Finally Back in Winners Circle

By Sports NetworkOctober 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
European TourMALLORCA, Spain -- Jose Maria Olazabal cruised to a five-stroke win at the Mallorca Classic on Sunday for his first victory in almost three years.
Olazabal fired a 4-under 66 in his final round to end the tournament at 10-under-par 270, five shots better than three other players. It was Olazabal's first victory on any tour since he won the Hong Kong Open in December 2002.
Jose Maria Olazabal
Jose Maria Olazabal held off Sergio Garcia to become the third straight Spaniard to win the Mallorca Classic.
The 39-year-old continued a winning trend among Spaniards in the first three years of this event, following in the footsteps of countrymen Miguel Angel Jimenez and defending champion Sergio Garcia.
And the victory came at a special course for Olazabal, the Pula Golf Club, for which he is currently in the midst of a redesign.
'It took quite a long time, but I did it again,' said Olazabal, who ranks eighth all-time on the European Tour with 23 victories. 'I'm very happy because it [came] here in Mallorca on a golf course that I've been involved with.'
Garcia also finished with a 4-under 66 on Sunday to share second place with countryman Jose Manuel Lara (68) and England's Paul Broadhurst (70) at 5-under-par 275.
Miles Tunnicliff and Simon Wakefield of England shot matching 69's to finish tied for fifth place at minus-4 with Welshman Bradley Dredge (70). Jimenez shot a 67 in his final round and shared eighth place one stroke further back with Sweden's Mattias Eliasson (71) and Frenchman Jean van de Velde (70).
Olazabal held a one-shot lead over Broadhurst and Swede Soren Hansen entering the final round, but by the time he stepped on the 10th tee, he was well clear of the field.
In fact, when Garcia finished off his 66 he was Olazabal's closest competitor.
Six strokes back.
'[I was thinking] to play solid,' said Olazabal, describing his mindset in the midst of such a big lead. 'There were no gimmees on that back nine. You have to play very solid golf to get a decent score. I knew things were in my hands and I had to really play solid golf.'
If not solid, Olazabal was certainly steady throughout his four rounds. He collected 17 birdies to go along with seven bogeys, including just one in his final round.
His most important stretch during the final round was Nos. 4 through 9, during which he made four birdies to get to 10 under par around the turn. He added another birdie at 11 and dropped a stroke at 13, but by the time that happened, the title was all but his.
A perfect drive at the par-4 16th allowed Olazabal to enjoy the final three holes in relative comfort.
'Once I hit the tee shot on the fairway on 16, I thought very strange things would have to happen for me not to win,' said Olazabal, who now owns 30 overall career victories.
'The last couple of holes, it was very special.'
Related links:
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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.