Sandelin Captures Inaugural Asian Open

By Sports NetworkNovember 25, 2001, 5:00 pm
European TourJarmo Sandelin closed with a 4-under-par 68 Sunday to win the inaugural BMW Asian Open at the Ta Shee Golf and Country Club in Taiwan. The 34-year-old Swede posted a 72-hole total of 10-under 278 to finish one stroke ahead of Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.
Sandelin, who started one behind third-round leaders Carl Pettersson and Miguel Angel Jimenez, slipped two shots off the pace with an opening bogey. He quickly rebounded with four birdies over the next five holes to take over the top spot at 9-under-par, and he was soon joined there when Jimenez notched his second birdie of the day at the sixth.
A birdie just before the turn lifted Sandelin into double figures, while Jimenez backed up with a bogey at the eighth and a double-bogey at the ninth. At the par-3 11th, Sandelin pulled three clear of the field after knocking his tee shot to six feet to set up his sixth birdie in 10 holes.
Sandelin made it interesting down the stretch, blowing his approach over the 16th green en route to a bogey that dropped him to minus-10.
But Olazabal was already in the clubhouse at 9-under with a bogey-free 67, and Pettersson recorded back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16 to fall three shots back of Sandelin.
The victory was Sandelin's fifth on European Tour and his first since he captured the German Open title in a playoff two seasons ago. That marked his second win of 1999 and earned him a spot on the European Ryder Cup squad for the matches at Brookline.
'It's been two years of a lot of struggling,' Sandelin said. 'From now on I am going to take it one week at a time. Last season (2001) I finished 100th on the Volvo Order of Merit so this season I want to take the two zeroes off.'
He's off to a great start. The BMW Asian Open, which was co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Davidoff (Asian PGA) Tour, was the first event to count toward the 2002 European Tour Order of Merit.
Jaidee had chances to reach 10-under but came up short with birdie attempts at the last two holes. He finished alongside Olazabal at 279, after a 67 that included five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.
'Both putts were downhill so I didn't think I would leave them short,' said Jaidee of his missed opportunities. 'It was a little disappointing but it feels great to finish second.'
Sweden's Pettersson shot even-par 72 to tie for fourth place at 7-under 281 with Barry Lane of England, who carded a 3-under 69.
Spain's Jimenez, who like Sandelin was seeking his first win since 1999, turned in a 73 for a share of sixth place with New Zealand's Michael Campbell.
Campbell, whose 6-under 66 was the best round of the day, won the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic over this same Ta Shee Resort layout.
Vijay Singh, the winner of back-to-back titles in Asia earlier this year at the Malaysian Open and Singapore Masters, shot a final-round 70 to finish with Brian Davis and Stephen Dodd at minus-five.
Full-Field Scores from the BMW Asian Open
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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.