From Brain Surgery Back to PGA TOUR

By Associated PressMay 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
One week on the PGA TOUR was enough to remind Todd Demsey where he wants to be -- not only because of the perks and the prize money, but also because of the players he once called his peers.
 
Demsey walked past Tiger Woods on his way to sign his scorecard after the third round of the Wachovia Championship. They were teammates at the 1994 World Amateur Team Championship in France, where the United States won by 11 shots.
 
'It was good to catch up with him,' Woods said. 'He was one of the best putters.'
 
As he stood on the steps of the Quail Hollow clubhouse, Phil Mickelson saw the 34-year-old Demsey and came over to bump fists. They played one year together at Arizona State. Mickelson won the NCAA title as a senior, Demsey won it the next year as a sophomore.
 
'Very talented golfer,' Mickelson said.
 
Also playing that week was Justin Leonard, one of Demsey's teammates at the 1993 Walker Cup, where the United States set a record for the largest margin of victory (19-5) against a Great Britain & Ireland team that included Padraig Harrington.

'He had the best-looking swing of anyone,' Leonard said. 'He had a pretty sweet motion.'
 
They all went on to win majors and play in the Ryder Cup.
 
Demsey had brain surgery twice to remove a tumor the size of a golf ball.
 
'It puts things in perspective,' Demsey said. 'I used to live and die on every shot. It's still my job. It's what I love to do. It's not quite as important to me as it was before all this. But I feel real lucky to be able to play golf for a living, especially
after back problems and a brain tumor. I have nothing to complain about.'
 
Back injuries slowed his momentum out of college. The real jolt came five years ago when he missed the cut in half his starts on the Nationwide Tour while coping with constant pressure in his left sinus. An MRI revealed a large tumor going into his brain, requiring two operations to remove it.
 
A month ago, he found out the tumor had returned. All indications are that it is benign.
 
'I'll have to go in for radiation at some point,' Demsey said. 'It's a slow-growing tumor. It just needs to be managed.'
 
He continues a slow road back to the PGA TOUR, where everyone figured he would be all along.
 
Demsey tied for 23rd at the Henrico County Open in Virginia, then decided it was too far to drive to the next Nationwide Tour stop in Arkansas. Instead, he stopped off in Charlotte, N.C., to try to qualify for the Wachovia Championship, and earned a spot in a playoff.
 
It was his first time on the PGA TOUR in 10 years.
 
His previous start came at the Las Vegas Invitational in 1997, his final event of his only year in the big leagues. Demsey was four shots off the lead until shooting 81 in the third round to miss the cut by one shot in the 90-hole event.
 
'I took this for granted,' he said. 'I didn't think it was that big of a deal. But after playing the Nationwide Tour, and being away from this, it was a reminder that this is where you want to be.'
 
Through it all, Demsey never complained about why his career took such a hairpin turn. The back injuries were one thing. Demsey won't forget the voice mail his doctor left on his cell phone after the '02 season.
 
'He said there was a very large tumor behind my left sinus going to my brain,' Demsey said. 'That was tough to hear.'
 
He got married 24 days before the first surgery in January 2003, and doctors had to go back in at the end of the year to remove the remaining 20 percent of the tumor. He still feels numbness in his face, although he doesn't think it affects his game. Next up is Cyberknife treatment, a powerful radiation that attacks tumors without having to cut open his skull for a third time.
 
Demsey doesn't look different from other golfers, at 6-foot-2 with a fluid swing. The only difference is when the temperatures dip below 65 degrees, and he pulls a ski cap over his head. It leads to some peculiar stares.
 
'I've got some titanium in my head, so my head still gets cold,' he said. 'People give me a hard time.'
 
He doesn't take time to tell them his story, that he was one of those can't-miss kids who never anticipated brain surgery, and who refuses to give up his dream even as his peers are enjoying success he figured would belong to him.
 
He doesn't waste time wondering how his career might have turned out, if not for the brain tumor.
 
'I just have faith it's going to work out,' he said. 'I guess there's a chance it can still cause problems, but I feel like I'm in good hands.'
 
Demsey now is back on the Nationwide Tour, playing this week in the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C. He probably won't try another Monday qualifying on the PGA TOUR, preferring instead to concentrate on getting his card. He is 34th on the Nationwide money list, and the top 25 are exempt to the big leagues next year.
 
He used to see Mickelson quite a bit when they belonged to the same golf club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Mickelson has moved back to San Diego, but he still tries to keep in touch.
 
'He's a great player,' Mickelson said. 'His day will come.'
 
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

He said his game has long been unpredictable.

''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''