Day wins World Cup at Royal Melbourne

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2013, 6:30 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jason Day made an emotional return to golf at the World Cup to win his first tournament in more than three years at Royal Melbourne on Sunday.

His 7-foot putt to save par on the 16th hole held off a faltering Thomas Bjorn. Day had a 70 for a 10-under total of 274, two strokes ahead of Denmark's Bjorn, who finished with a 71 after two late bogeys.

Day's last victory came at the Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA Tour in 2010, although he's had four top-five finishes in majors since 2011.

The World Cup was Day's first tournament in five weeks and came less than two weeks after he learned that eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, died in the devastating Nov. 9 typhoon in the Philippines.

His mother, who migrated to Australia from the Philippines 30 years ago, and sister were just off the green on 18 at Royal Melbourne. They both hugged him as he walked to the scoring tent to sign his card.

''It's just been an amazing tournament for me,'' Day said. ''My mother, my family, coming down to support me. I'm just so happy the hard work has paid off, and I'm glad it happened in Melbourne.''

Day's situation wasn't lost on Bjorn.

''Obviously a fraction disappointed, I didn't play that great today,'' Bjorn said. ''But I couldn't be happier for Jason winning. He has gone through a rough time of late and for him to even be here is a big thing and then to go and win a golf tournament ... that's what you want to see.''

Masters champion Adam Scott finished third after a 66, three strokes behind. Scott, who was trying to win his third tournament in a row, shot a 75 on the opening day, including a 9 on the 12th hole, and spent the rest of the tournament trying to catch up.

Day earned $1.2 million for winning the individual title and helped Australia win the team portion of the World Cup. Day and Scott, who each holed approach shots for eagles Sunday, shared the $600,000 first-place team prize.

American Matt Kuchar shot a 71 to finish fourth in individual stroke play, three behind Day.

Ryo Ishikawa of Japan (69) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (70) finished tied for fifth, seven behind the winner.

Day led by four strokes after nine holes thanks to a big swing on the fifth and sixth. Day bogeyed the par-3 fifth after going into a bunker and Bjorn birdied, leaving them tied for the lead.

But on the sixth, Day's gap wedge from about 80 yards hit the green once and rolled into the cup for eagle. Bjorn, who was in the rough with his tee shot, made bogey and the three-shot swing put the Australian back in the lead.

On the next hole, Day increased his lead to four over Bjorn when the Danish player three-putted for bogey.

After making the turn with the four-shot lead, thanks to a 12-foot par-saving putt on nine, Day ran into big problems on the 10th when his tee shot went into the left rough. Trying to advance it up the fairway instead of chipping out sideways, he sent the ball back into the rough.

He chipped back out to the fairway with his third shot, put his fourth on the green and two-putted for double bogey. That reduced his lead to two shots over Scott and Bjorn, and birdies by Bjorn on 11 and 13 put both players level again until Bjorn's bogey on 16.

Scott, who holed out for eagle with his approach on the first hole Sunday, won the Australian PGA and Australian Masters in his first trip back home since winning at Augusta in April. He'll try to complete the Australian 'Triple Crown' of majors next week at Royal Sydney.

''It's been an incredible day,'' Scott said. ''Thanks Jason, you played so well this week.''

The last time the World Cup was captured by a host country was in 1996 when the South African team of Ernie Els and Wayne Westner won at Cape Town.

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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.