Who Els but the Big Easy

By Sports NetworkFebruary 16, 2003, 5:00 pm
PERTH, Australia -- Ernie Els capped off a historical week with a 6-under 66 on Sunday to cruise to a 10-shot victory at the Johnnie Walker Classic at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
 
Els finished at 29-under-par 259 and established a new European Tour record for lowest score in relation to par. The former record of 27-under par belonged to Jerry Anderson when he turned the trick at the 1984 Ebel European Masters-Swiss Open. John Daly equaled the score in 2001 at the BMW International.
 
The reigning British Open champion nearly matched the European Tour record for low aggregate score but missed David Llewellyn and Ian Woosnam's record by a single stroke.
 
Els smashed Tiger Woods' tournament record from 2001 by four shots as the South African earned his fourth victory worldwide in 2003.
 
He opened the season by setting the PGA Tour's record for lowest score in relation to par at the Mercedes Championships. Els finished that tournament at 31-under par and followed the next week with a playoff victory over Aaron Baddeley at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
 
Els came to Singapore the week after the Sony Open and lost by a single stroke before successfully defending his title the following week at the Heineken Classic.
 
All totaled, Els now has won four of five starts in 2003, five of his last six dating back to last year's Nedbank Challenge and is first on both the PGA Tour money list and the European Tour Order of Merit.
 
'The way I'm playing now is some of the best golf I've ever played,' said Els, who captured this title in 1997. 'The whole package is pretty good at the moment.'
 
Stephen Leaney and Andre Stolz, both from Australia, shot matching rounds of 6-under 66 to finish tied for second place at 19-under par but neither got within seven shots of Els' lead on Sunday.
 
Els, who began the round with a nine-shot advantage, looked shaky to start the round as his second nearly found the water at the par-5 third. He took off his shoes and socks and chipped the ball into a greenside bunker, where his blast left him 15 feet to save par. Els rolled home the putt to answer any doubts that this tournament was his.
 
He hit a spectacular approach at the fourth that left him inches from the cup. He tapped that putt in for birdie then holed a seven-footer for birdie at the eighth to grab a nine-shot lead.
 
The Big Easy stumbled at the ninth when his second landed in a bunker. He played his third seven feet from the hole but missed the par-saving putt. That would be the last mistake of the round for Els.
 
He holed a seven-foot birdie putt at the 10th, two-putted for birdie from the fringe at No. 11 and sank a 30-footer for birdie at the 12th to reach 27-under par and take a nine-stroke advantage.
 
Els parred the 13th and caught a break at the short 14th. His tee ball bounced off a tree and left him with an open shot to the green, where he played his ball to 12 feet. Els made that putt and birdied the 15th to claim a 10-shot edge.
 
He had a chance for another birdie at No. 17 when his putt from the fringe hung on the hole but did not fall. Els parred the 18th to cap off his amazing week.
 
'This week everything went right,' he said. 'I had a great time. The greens are soft, the wind stayed away all week and I could just go out there and attack the golf course.'
 
Retief Goosen, the 2002 champion, tied for fourth with Robert Allenby, Justin Rose, David Smail and Jean-Francois Remesy. The group came in at 17-under-par 271.
 
Niclas Fasth and Craig Kamps shared ninth at minus-16.
 
Related Links
  • Final scores from the Johnnie Walker Classic
  • Full coverage of the Johnnie Walker Classic
  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: