Parry Prevails in Playoff Els Stumbles

By Sports NetworkFebruary 6, 2005, 5:00 pm
VICTORIA, Australia -- Craig Parry birdied the fourth playoff hole Sunday to defeat third-round leader Nick O'Hern and win the Heineken Classic.
 
The end of regulation was a wild affair as four players were tied for the lead on the 18th tee with three-time defending champion Ernie Els one behind.

Simon Dyson (68) and Jarrod Lyle (71) bogeyed the 72nd hole to fall to 13-under-par 271. Els' ball found the grandstands at 18 and he left with a bogey to shoot 1-under 70. He finished at minus-12 for a solo fifth.
 
Parry and O'Hern parred the closing hole at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club to finish regulation knotted at 14-under-par 270. Parry shot a 1-under 70 while O'Hern managed an even-par 71 in the final round.

The playoff, the first in tournament history, began at the 18th and O'Hern had the advantage. He had a short putt for birdie, while Parry found a greenside bunker with his approach. Parry left himself with a long par putt, but drained it to put the pressure on O'Hern. The left-hander missed the birdie putt and it was back to No. 18 tee.
 
On the second playoff hole, O'Hern regained the upper hand as he was inside 10 feet for birdie. Once again Parry sank a par putt, but once again O'Hern was not able to close out his first victory on the European Tour.
 
The duo halved the 17th and returned to the 18th for the fourth time in almost an hour. O'Hern drove into the rough, but knocked his approach to 10 feet. Parry's second stopped 12 feet from the hole and he converted the birdie try. O'Hern missed for the third time in the playoff from inside 10 feet at 18 and Parry claimed his sixth win on the European Tour.
 
This is another memorable playoff victory for Parry. Last year at the Ford Championship at Doral on the PGA Tour, he holed a 6-iron from 176 yards for an eagle to defeat Scott Verplank on the first playoff hole.
 
The back nine on Sunday saw several lead changes, but Lyle and O'Hern shared a two-shot lead with five holes to play. O'Hern stumbled to a bogey at 14 to fall one back, then Lyle, a 23-year-old who turned professional last year, drove into the trees at 15 and also dipped to minus-14.

Dyson joined the group at 14-under par with a birdie at 16, then Parry, who bogeyed three of his first four holes on the back nine, got back into the mix with an 18-foot birdie putt at No. 17.
 
That set the stage for the par-4 closing hole, but it was more of a situation where players fell down the leaderboard and Parry and O'Hern survived.
 
Dyson, who played with Els in the group ahead of Parry, O'Hern and Lyle, dumped his approach at 18 into a greenside bunker and failed to get up and down for par.
 
Els, who could have become the sixth player in golf history to win the same event four consecutive times, knocked his approach into the gallery. He got a drop, but could not save par.

Lyle, who struggled with the driver on the back nine, found the rough on the left side with his tee ball at 18. He bogeyed the hole, but showed he will be ready to win in the near future.

'It was all pretty much a blur,' admitted Lyle. 'I was so happy I was able to take on the whole field for so long.'

That left the stage for Parry and O'Hern. O'Hern had a look at birdie, but missed by almost 5 feet. Parry's putt failed to find the bottom of the cup as his 28-footer came up 2 feet short. O'Hern made his and then Parry finished him off four holes later.

Trevor Immelman (69) and Henrik Stenson (70) tied for sixth place at 11-under par 273. Peter Lonard, who shared the second-round lead with Colin Montgomerie, shot a final-round, even-par 71 to join Simon Kahn (66) in eighth at minus-10.

Camilo Villegas posted a 1-under 70 and took 10th at 9-under-par 275.
 
Montgomerie carded an even-par 71 on Sunday and tied for 11th place at minus-8.
 
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.