OMeara Captures Dubai Desert Classic

By Sports NetworkMarch 7, 2004, 5:00 pm
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Mark O'Meara, sporting his new 'saw-like' putting grip, carded a 3-under 69 Sunday to win the Dubai Desert Classic. O'Meara completed the event at 17-under-par 271.
'Chalk one up for the old boys,' said O'Meara, whose last win came at the 1998 British Open. 'It's been a big day for me, it really has. It's been a long time.'
Paul McGinley battled O'Meara throughout the final round and had a chance to force a playoff, but missed his eagle putt on 18. McGinley, who closed with a 2-under 70, ended at 16-under-par 272. A pair of former winners of this event, Ernie Els and David Howell, shared third place at 13-under-par 275.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods was trying to make one of his patented Sunday comebacks as he was 5 under through 10 holes. However, he stumbled to a pair of bogeys down the stretch to finish at 12-under-par 276.
O'Meara and McGinley, who played together all four rounds, began the day three strokes clear of the field. The duo each parred the first two holes to remain three ahead.
O'Meara dropped his third shot to the par-5 third at Emirates Golf Club within one foot of the cup to set up birdie. McGinley knocked his second greenside and left his pitch within inches of the hole and tapped in for birdie. O'Meara took the lead with a birdie at the next hole.
McGinley tried to keep up with a birdie at the fifth, but O'Meara answered with a birdie of his own to remain one ahead. The 47-year-old American fell back into a share of the lead as he bogeyed the sixth.
The Irishman McGinley lost his share of the lead for the final time at the ninth. His second shot out of the rough bounced into the greenside pond and led to a bogey.
O'Meara extended his lead to two strokes when he dropped his tee shot within three feet of the cup at the par-3 11th. He sank the birdie try, while McGinley two-putted for par.
McGinley, who shared second place here in 2000, clawed back within one stroke at the 13th. He knocked his third shot to the par-5 within eight feet and drained the birdie putt. The 37-year-old nearly joined O'Meara atop the leaderboard at the 15th, but his birdie try slid by the left edge.
O'Meara, meanwhile, was playing steady golf he two-putted five straight holes from the 12th.
McGinley lost any real chance to win or force a playoff when he bogeyed the 16th. He pulled his drive left into the trees and had to pitch out. He was unable save his par and fell two shots back.
O'Meara continued his steady putting. He again two-putted for par on 17 from about 18 out feet. At the par-5 closing hole, O'Meara laid up with his second shot, while McGinley pounded his second shot on to the green.
The 1998 Masters champion calmly dropped his third shot within 12 feet of the cup. McGinley needed to sink a big breaking eagle attempt from over 70 feet to try to force extra holes. The putt slid by the left edge and he tapped in for birdie.
O'Meara, whose new saw-like putting grip resembles the claw grip of Chris DiMarco, rolled his birdie try past the left edge and tapped in for par and the win.
Woods tried to make a big comeback on the final day. He started six shots behind the leaders and quickly picked up three birdies over his first five holes. He rolled in a 12-footer for eagle at the 10th to get to 13 under and within three shots of the leaders.
Things went downhill from there though. He flew green at No. 14 and had a poor stance in a bunker. He blasted across the green and was unable to save par.
Woods tried to drive the green at the short par-4 17th, but hit his drive through the dogleg and into the trees. He took an unplayable lie penalty, then knocked his third on the green. His lengthy par try came up inches short. Woods closed in fine fashion, though, with an up-and-down birdie at the last.
'I figured I needed to keep making birdies,' said Woods. 'I tried my best to do that, but I just couldn't do it.'
He was joined at minus-12 by Brian Davis (71), Thongchai Jaidee (67) and Marcel Siem (66). Joakim Haeggman, Peter Lawrie and Greg Owen shared ninth place at 11-under-par 277.
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Dubai Desert Classic
  • Full Coverage - Dubai Desert Classic
  • Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

    Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

    Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    "I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

    But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

    With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

    Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

    The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

    "I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."