Stenson Tops Harrington Goosen in Playoff

By Sports NetworkSeptember 3, 2006, 4:00 pm
European TourMUNICH, Germany -- Henrik Stenson eagled the first playoff hole to defeat Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington on Sunday and win the BMW International Open.
 
The trio finished regulation tied at 15-under-par 273 and headed to the par- five 18th hole at Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried to begin the sudden-death playoff.
 
Goosen and Stenson both found the fairway off the tee, while Harrington drove into the left rough. Goosen, who eagled 18 in regulation, knocked his second 35 feet right of the hole. Stenson hit a 6-iron from over 235 yards that landed in the left rough, but bounced 3 feet from the hole. Harrington landed in a greenside bunker.
 
Harrington blasted out to two feet and Goosen lagged his eagle putt to tap-in range. Stenson calmly stroked home the eagle putt to collect his second win of the season and fourth on the European Tour.
 
'I thought I better put it away for good,' said Stenson, who won this year's Qatar Masters. 'Sometimes you need the right bounces. It feels great now.'
 
Stenson posted a 4-under 68 on Sunday to get into the playoff. Goosen fired a 5-under 67, while Harrington, who had a shot to win in regulation but only managed a par on 18, carded a 3-under 69.
 
David Howell, the overnight leader and 2005 champion, missed a 2-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to miss the playoff by a stroke. He shot an even-par 72 and tied for fourth place with Martin Erlandsson, who shot a two-under 70 on Sunday. The pair finished at 14-under-par 274.
 
Stenson began the final round three behind Howell, but made up ground on his front nine. He drained a 12-foot birdie putt at the fifth and made it two in a row with a birdie at six.
 
Stenson rolled in a 5-footer for birdie at the ninth, a hole he birdied all four rounds, and that tied him for the lead at 14-under par with Erlandsson, Goosen and Harrington.
 
Several players jockeyed for the lead on the back nine and Stenson held pat thanks to five consecutive pars.
 
Stenson reached 15-under par with a birdie at the 15th. Howell was already at that number thanks to birdies at six, nine and 11, but Harrington joined the mix thanks to a 25-foot birdie putt at the 15th.
 
Goosen joined the logjam with an 8-foot eagle putt at 18. Howell fell out of the tie when his 12-foot par putt at the par-4 16th missed left. Stenson missed a short par putt at 17 to fall one behind Goosen and Harrington.
 
Stenson two-putted for a birdie from 35 feet at the last to join Goosen in the clubhouse at minus-15. It would all come down to the final pairing of Harrington and Howell on the 18th.
 
Harrington hit his second into a greenside bunker and did well to stop his ball 12 feet past the hole. Howell hit nearly the same spot Stenson did in the playoff, but his ball died in the rough. He chipped to two feet and looked like he would make the playoff.
 
Harrington's birdie putt for the win stayed above ground, then shockingly, Howell, the Order of Merit leader, badly missed his short birdie putt so it was off to the playoff and Stenson's victory.
 
This is a good sign for Stenson, who will make his Ryder Cup debut later this month for the European side.
 
'It was great to be up in contention. It's been a while since I was right up there,' said Stenson. 'It's good practice for what's coming.'
 
The 10 players who came into the week as the automatic qualifiers for the European side made the team. The European team takes the top five players from the World Points List and the next available five from the European Points List.
 
Jose Maria Olazabal was fifth on the World Points List, but took the week off to rest. Colin Montgomerie tied for sixth place and moved into fifth on that list.
 
Luke Donald shared sixth with Montgomerie at 13-under-par 275 and qualified for the team along with Sergio Garcia, Stenson, Montgomerie and Howell. Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson, Harrington, Paul McGinley and Olazabal rounded out the team from the European Points List.
 
Captain Ian Woosnam will add two players Sunday afternoon.
 
Markus Brier (67), Robert-Jan Derksen (70), Peter Gustafsson (70), Alexandre Rocha (67) and Simon Wakefield (71) finished knotted in eighth place at minus-11.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.