Armour leads Calcavecchia Frost in Minnesota

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2010, 2:49 am

Champions TourBLAINE, Minn. – Tommy Armour III was the first player off the tee Friday. He’ll be the last one off Saturday.

Armour shot a 9-under 63 and has a one-stroke lead over Mark Calcavecchia and David Frost after one round of the 3M Championship. John Cook and Jeff Sluman are two shots back.

“Every day is a good day to shoot 63, but it’s a 54-hole tournament,” said Armour, who shot a 61 at The ACE Group Classic in February and a 63 at the Principal Charity Classic two months ago.

On a perfect day for golf – temperatures in the low-80s, partly cloudy skies and little wind – 45 of the 78 players finished under par.

“The course was there for the taking today,” Calcavecchia said. “The greens were soft.”

Armour, who had two victories in more than 20 years on the PGA Tour, has three second-place finishes in 12 previous starts during his rookie year on the Champions Tour. He was disappointed with his play the last two weeks, yet finished eighth at the Senior British Open and 11th at the U.S. Senior Open. His eight combined rounds in the tournaments ranged from 68-74.

“Out here you’ve got to play good every day,” he said.

Calcavecchia said that is especially true this week. The last three 3M Championship winners have finished between 16- and 23-under par.

“Unless the wind starts blowing like it did yesterday afternoon, 20-25 mph, and we get two more nice days, I’ve got to believe you’re going to have to get close to 20-under par to win,” he said. “That’s a lot under par for three days, I don’t care what tour you’re on. The hole’s the same size. That’s pretty good golf.”

The weekend forecast calls for hot and humid conditions with winds of no more than 10 mph.

Starting on the back side, Armour birdied three of his first four holes and added another at No. 18. Birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 got him to 6-under par, before he birdied his last three holes. Armour, who ranks 10th in tour putting average, one-putted for seven of his birdies.

“The Champions Tour is a momentum tour,” he said. “Tomorrow you got to start on the first hole and get after it, because if you don’t, somebody will.”

Calcavecchia, who also started on No. 10, was 2-under at the turn before finding his rhythm.

He birdied No. 2 from about 5 feet and eagled the par-5 third with a 15-foot putt. He also eagled the par-5 sixth by chipping in from a greenside bunker.

“It feels good. I hit a lot of good shots, made a lot of putts and a good bunker shot,” he said.

Playing in a group with Calcavecchia, Frost was 3 under at the turn, before four straight birdies on the front side. Frost, who switched back to his old putter before the round, made a 40-foot putt at No. 8 to get to 8 under.

“I made some good putts at times. I could have been one shot better or one shot worse,” said Frost, who has five top-10s in 14 events in his first full year on tour. “Putting is always the name of the game.”

His putting was especially accurate on the four par-3s. He birdied each of them – two from about 8 feet, one from 30 feet and another from about 40 feet. He also lipped out an eagle putt on the third hole.

Hal Sutton, who eagled the final hole, was among those shooting 66. Joining him were Tom Jenkins, Nick Price and David Peoples.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer – the winner of senior major tournaments the last two weeks – is one of nine players that are five shots back. No champion has defended his title in the event’s 18-year history.

Fred Couples and Minnesota-native Tom Lehman, second and third in the season-long points standings, are not in the field. Nor are Corey Pavin or Tom Watson, both also in the points top-10.

Getty Images

Davies headlines field at Senior LPGA at French Lick

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 14, 2018, 10:40 pm

Laura Davies will be looking to win her second senior major championship this year when she tees it up in Monday’s start of the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Davies, who won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July, will join a field that includes fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, who was announced last week with Peggy Kirk Bell as the Hall’s newest members. Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy are also in the 54-hole event.

Trish Johnson is back to defend her title after winning the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship a year ago. Brandi Burton, Jane Geddes, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann are also in the field of 81 players who will compete for a $600,000 purse, with $90,000 going to the winner.

Golf Channel will televise all three rounds live from 4-6 p.m. ET on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Getty Images

Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 10:07 pm

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs

Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale.

''I just played very solid all day long,'' Langer said. ''Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.''

The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60.

''I don't have anything to prove, but I still have golf,'' Langer said. ''I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don't think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you're going to see me out here.''

Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers.


Full-field scores from the SAS Championship


''The 10 under was amazing,'' Langer said. ''I couldn't believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.''

The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012.

''It's always fun to go back to where you've won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you're somewhat comfortable and that's certainly the case here,'' Langer said. ''I've been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.''

Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65.

''Bernhard is just in his own world this week,'' Parel said.

Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71.

Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under.

The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.

Getty Images

Pepperell captures British Masters, eyes Augusta

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 5:29 pm

WALTON HEATH, England -- Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title with a two-shot victory at the British Masters on Sunday and likely secured the even bigger prize of a place in next year's Masters at Augusta National.

The Englishman shot an even-par 72 and held off his playing partner, Sweden's Alexander Bjork (71), as the pair went to the 72nd hole at a wet and windy Walton Heath with Pepperell just a stroke in front.

Pepperell finished on 9-under 279.

Herbert Lucas (69) and Jordan Smith (73) were tied for third, another two shots behind Bjork.

English pair Sam Horsfield (69) and Tom Lewis (70) along with American Julian Suri (74) tied for fifth, one shot in front of tournament host Justin Rose (70).

The victory takes Pepperell into the world's top 35 and almost certainly secures a first appearance at Augusta in 2019. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year in April.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood (72) finished 2 under in a seven-way tie for ninth.


Full-field scores from the British Masters


A top-two finish on Sunday would have seen Rose reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No. 1 in September

Pepperell was ranked outside the top 500 as recently as May last year, but won the Qatar Masters in February and followed a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open with a tie for sixth in the British Open seven days later, carding a closing 67 at Carnoustie despite saying he had a hangover.

His three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke on Sunday when Bjork covered the front nine in 34 and Pepperell three-putted the ninth, the same hole where he enjoyed a spectacular hole-in-one on Thursday.

However, the 27-year-old Pepperell promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and a par save from off the green on the 14th looked to have sealed the win.

There was still time for some late drama, though, as Pepperell dropped shots on Nos. 15 and 16 to see his lead cut to a single shot, but Bjork bogeyed the 18th after driving into the heather and Pepperell saved par from a greenside bunker.

Getty Images

Disappointed Sharma fades to T-10 at CIMB

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2018, 1:46 pm

For the second time this year, India's Shubankhar Sharma watched an opportunity for a breakthrough win turn into a learning experience.

Sharma burst onto the scene in March, taking a two-shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship only to fade to a tie for ninth. It was a similar story Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where Sharma started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead but struggled to an even-par 72 that dropped him into a tie for 10th.

"Disappointing, not really happy with the way I finished," Sharma told reporters.


Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos


The 22-year-old was 1 over for his first six holes, but he battled back with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10 to get within three shots of eventual winner Marc Leishman. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th found the water, leading to the first of three straight bogeys that ended any hopes of victory.

"That was probably one of the worst swings of the day," Sharma said. "That 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way, and I probably could have made more birdies after that."

Sharma remained optimistic this spring following his final-round fade in Mexico, and he retained a positive mindset despite a rough afternoon as he eyes upcoming starts at both the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

"Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA Tour, so that's a good way of looking at it," he said. "Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour, and I've given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now."