Chambers Bay hosting US Amateur five years before US Open

By Associated PressAugust 22, 2010, 11:04 pm
2010 U.S. AmateurUNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – As Boris Stantchev dropped golf balls all over the 18th green and watched the crazy rolls caused by the contours, his playing companions tried to find an adequate comparison for what they just experienced playing Chambers Bay for the first time.

As he rolled yet another putt over a huge, brown mound on the green, Stantchev came up with perhaps the most appropriate comparison.

“This is straight out of St. Andrews,” he yelled.

The links-style course that sits on the shores of Puget Sound has a long way to go to even be considered on the same driving range as the Scottish birthplace of golf. But this week serves as Chambers Bay’s formal introduction to the golf world as host course for the U.S. Amateur.

With all due respect to the talented players in this week’s tournament – including defending champ Byeong-Hun An, current British Amateur champ Jin Jeong and eight players who qualified for the U.S. Open two months ago at Pebble Beac – they are just a backdrop to the real story.

Travel editor Erik Peterson visited Chambers Bay to see why the U.S. Golf Association believes a links course near Seattle deserves to host not one, but two of golf's most prestigious championships.

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In many regards they will be considered a test study, to be re-examined five years from now when Chambers Bay serves as host for the U.S. Open.

“It was the same thing at Marion in 2005 and it’s great. It’s a privilege to be the test cases for the (Open),” said Morgan Hoffman, having just finished his sophomore season at Oklahoma State but playing in his fifth U.S. Amateur.

The tournament begins Monday with two rounds of stroke play to determine the 64 players that qualify for match play. One round will be played at Chambers Bay and one round will be played at The Home Course. All of match play will be contested at Chambers Bay.

And over the course of the next seven days, the United States Golf Association will learn all the ways Chambers Bay can be tricked out to get it ready for 2015.

While it’s been lauded by reviewers and players alike, Chambers Bay has yet to face a formal test in tournament conditions. It’s a little bit of a trip for those not used to a course with a heavy brown tint, hard and tight fairways and a reminiscent look of the British Isles.

“It just doesn’t compare. Out there it’s parkland courses that are tree-lined, relatively flat and the grass is obviously softer,” said Stantchev, about to begin his sophomore year at Loyola Marymount. “I’ve never played on fescue grass like this before. Most of the grass we play out there is creeping and it’s just different. You really can’t compare it honestly.”

Already, the course is set to be the longest for any U.S. Golf Association event. It will play nearly 7,750 yards, although with hard, slightly burned out fairways, it will seem substantially less.

Still, it’s long – more than six miles just to walk the 18 holes. And the unique nature of Chambers Bay’s fescue add another dynamic that players must adjust to on top of the length.

Built atop an abandoned gravel quarry, the sandy base made creating a links course with a fecuse base an option. Designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. ran with that idea, using bulldozers to move earth and create massive dunes that frame many of the holes.

While most courses create tidy clumps of grass and earth when divots are created, shots at Chambers Bay turn into sandy dust clouds. Especially this week, when the fairways are being choked of water to make them concrete hard. The course also features uneven, rolling teeing grounds, sandy waste areas the size of housing developments and massive elevation changes that can give views of the entire course from the highest point.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the course: In an area flooded with foliage, there stands just one tree.

“Where great land meets great water, great golf can happen,” Jones said. “And in my view it did happen.”

While the course provides panoramic postcard views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains in the distance, there are concerns about the layout, especially the greens. Fescue greens are rare in the United States and the condition of those at Chambers Bay have come under question, to the point of continual rumors that the greens need to be replaced or the Open moved.

USGA director of rules and competitions Mike Davis tried to put those rumors to rest during the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in June, saying there was no chance the national championship would be moved from Chambers Bay.

“The one good thing about having the Amateur here,” Davis said, “I’m expecting to learn a lot this coming August about June of 2015 on how the course is going to play.”
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."