Thorpe Watson Charity All Winners

By Sports NetworkOctober 26, 2003, 5:00 pm
SONOMA, Calif. -- Jim Thorpe eagled the 16th hole and birdied the 17th Sunday to hold off Tom Watson and win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Thorpe closed with a 4-under 68 to complete the event with a 72-hole record score of 20-under-par 268. Watson posted a 5-under 67 to finish second at 17-under-par 271.
'I think this week I probably pushed myself to the absolute limit,' said Thorpe, who earned $440,000 for the win. 'I don't think I could play any harder.'
Tom Kite, one of many who made a run at the leaders during the final round, finished alone in third place at 15-under-par 273 after closing with a 67.
Thorpe and Watson were close throughout the round. Watson, the 2002 champion, birdied the first and eighth to get within two of the leader, as Thorpe bogeyed No. 7 before birdieing the eighth at Sonoma Golf Club.
Thorpe, who also won the Long Island Classic earlier in the season, moved three clear of Watson with a birdie at the 11th. At the par-3 12th, Watson dropped his tee shot within a foot of the cup for a kick-in birdie to get back within two of Thorpe.
While those two were battling amongst themselves, Tom Jenkins and Gil Morgan quietly climbed to 14-under. However, neither of them would get any closer.
Watson lost his drive left off the 13th tee, but was able to find the front right corner of the green with his second to the par-5 hole. Thorpe laid his second shot up in the rough and only managed a par. Watson two-putted for birdie to get within one stroke.
Each man two-putted for par on Nos. 14 and 15 to remain at 17-under and 16- under respectively. Kite, meanwhile, ran home a lengthy eagle putt on the 16th to get to minus-15. He could only par in though.
The turning point came at the 16th. Watson and Thorpe both missed the green short. Watson's pitch from the rough ran past the hole. Thorpe stepped up and rolled in an eagle putt from over 65 feet out to jump to 19-under.
'No. 16 was a turning point,' said Thorpe, who hit all 18 greens in regulation on Sunday. 'I finally hit the fairway, but I didn't catch the drive solid. Now I know I can't get it home and I need to keep it left. I hit a 3-wood about a yard short of the green.
'Jenkins was in the left rough and Watson was just behind me in the left rough, so I got two nice reads from their chip shots. Putting like that, you want to lag it up. I hit a putt there, perfect line, perfect speed, and it went in.'
Watson, who won two majors this season, answered by converting his birdie putt, but still trailed by two strokes with two holes to play.
On the par-4 17th, Watson's birdie try went halfway down and popped out of the hole. He tapped in for par, but it was not enough. Thorpe converted a 12-foot birdie putt on the same hole to move three shots in front of Watson.
The duo both two-putted for par on the closing hole, giving Thorpe the winning score, 20 under, that he predicted earlier in the week.
'We talk about it all the time. You guys think we don't get nervous out there,' Thorpe said. 'You can feel it out there, believe me. To be playing with a guy like Tom Watson, I played the second shot on 18, I waited for him to walk up together, he said 'Thorpe you hung in there, the balls didn't fall early for you, but you made it when you had to and it was a great plan.'
'Coming from a player that's won 39 times on the PGA Tour, and eight majors and six times on the Champions Tour, and two majors this year, that's pretty good advice. He didn't have to say that.'
With the victory, Thorpe climbed to No. 2 on the Champions Tour money list and also finished second in the race for the Charles Schwab Cup.
Watson, who won the JELD-WEN Tradition and Senior British Open earlier in the year, claimed both the money title and the $1,000,000 annuity that comes with the Charles Schwab Cup.
'It looked as if Thorpe was going to leave the door open all day until he holed that putt on 16,' Watson said. 'He deserved to win because of the way he played today. He didn't putt very well, but they went in when it mattered.'
After the round, Watson gave out more than compliments to his fellow golfers.
He announced that the bulk of the annuity, which will be paid out over the next 10 years, will be donated to ALS research and patient services. Watson's longtime caddie, Bruce Edwards, is battling ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
'We're going to use it for ALS and the other charities I give to every year will also benefit, but we going to concentrate on finding a cure for this damn disease, and we're going to make it,' said Watson as he acknowledged Edwards.
'It basically shows how big Tom Watson's heart is,' said Thorpe of the classy gesture by Watson. 'I think we knew it was coming. Tom and Bruce are very, very close. Hopefully they can find some type of cure so Bruce can be with us for many, many more years to come. Sometimes a three-putt on a green, a bad shot just isn't the worst thing in the world.'
Jenkins, Hale Irwin and Morgan shared fourth place at 14-under-par 274. Larry Nelson and Tom Purtzer were one stroke farther back at minus-13.

Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Charles Schwab Cup Championship
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  • Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

    McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

    Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

    So much for easing into the new year.

    So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

    McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

    “It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

    McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

    If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

    After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

    “It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

    McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

    It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

    “When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

    A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

    A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

    Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

    To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

    Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

    McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

    “I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

    A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

    “I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

    A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

    Getty Images

    Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

    SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

    The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

    Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

    Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

    ''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

    The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

    ''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

    Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

    ''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

    Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

    He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

    Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

    Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

    He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

    Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, five shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

    Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''