Calcavecchia wins Champions event in Iowa by one

By Associated PressJune 7, 2015, 11:52 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa - Wearing bacon-themed pants and using a putter he bought from an Iowa sporting goods store, Mark Calcavecchia broke through for one of his most satisfying wins.

Calcavecchia won the Principal Charity Classic on Sunday for his third career Champions Tour title, closing with a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Joe Durant and Brian Henninger.

Calcavecchia, who missed the cut in the Senior PGA Championship two weeks ago, never trailed during the final round at the Wakonda Club. The 13-time PGA Tour winner finished at 12-under 204.

''It's kind of out of nowhere. I'm kind of in a little state of shock right now,'' said Calcavecchia, the 1989 British Open champion.

Durant shot a 69, missing a long birdie putt on the 18th hole. Henninger had a 68.

Rod Spittle was fourth at 10 under after a 68.

Davis Love III had a 68 to top the group at 9 under. He was making his fourth Champions Tour start since turning 50 in April 2014.

But the weekend was all about Calcavecchia - who picked up his first win since a gruesome injury to his right hand in November that left him wondering if his career was finished.

''It still bothers me. I wake up and these fingers hurt,'' Calcavecchia said. ''But I get out there and start playing. ... I kind of get over the pain and forget about it.''

After missing the cut at the Senior PGA in French Lick, Indiana, Calcavecchia took in the Indianapolis 500 before driving to Des Moines. In his second-round 77 in Indiana, Calcavecchia had a bit of a tantrum, breaking two clubs on the par-5 ninth hole. He broke the first over his knee after a bad second shot. After missing the green with his third, he snapped the shaft on that club by slamming it into the ground.

Calcavecchia stopped by a local golf shop earlier in the week, grabbed a putter he liked and drilled a dozen in a row on the store's putting green. The new putter was a hit on the course as well, helping Calcavecchia pick up his first Champions Tour win since 2012.

The player who appeared to have the best shot at overtaking Calcavecchia was Love - but he fell apart down the stretch.

Love, playing in just his second senior event of the year, birdied four out of five holes and pulled within a shot of Calcavecchia with three holes to play.

But Love bogeyed the par-4 16th after a chip try barely went a few feet.

Love then sent his tee shot on No. 17 into some rocks and had to take a penalty. He wound up with a double bogey.

''I got a little bit going on the back nine, obviously, and gave myself a chance,'' Love said. ''I just needed to keep getting birdie putts. Missing the green at 16 and 17 just killed me.''

Love's collapse helped clear the way for Calcavecchia - though his can't-miss trousers seemed to be a good luck charm as well.

Calcavecchia first wore the pants, which he got from the organizers of an annual bacon-themed festival in Des Moines, on Friday.

Calcavecchia went back to traditional pants Saturday.

But once he moved into first place, Calcavecchia knew he needed them for the final 18 holes.

''All of a sudden I grabbed the lead and I'm like, 'I've got to wear them. I'll give them one more shot,''' Calcavecchia said.

 

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.