Despite loss Couples loves coming home

By Associated PressAugust 2, 2010, 6:16 am

2010 U.S. Senior OpenSAMMAMISH, Wash. – Fred Couples joked that most of his fans probably left after he took a triple-bogey eight on the second hole Sunday.

They stuck around, giving the Seattle native a rousing ovation at every hole during Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Senior Open, even though he finished as a disappointed runner up.

“It was a lot of fun to be here, I can tell you that much. It was great,” Couples said. “I’m kind of an emotional guy. I’m not really an emotional player, I don’t get out there and go crazy. But I can hear them, and it was fun.”

Couples served as the honorary chairman for the event, lending his name to just the second major championship contended in the region in his generation. He thrilled organizers by surging into contention with a 65 on Saturday, entering the final round as the co-leader with eventual champion Bernhard Langer.

But his quest for victory at the U.S. Senior Open came down to a wrong decision at the second hole.

Couples hit a solid drive but it rolled into the first cut of rough on the right side. He had 200 yards to the front of the green and 225 to the pin. He pulled his hybrid to go for the green, then put it back.

“I had never hit it (hybrid) in a spot like that,” Couples said. “I thought if it’s a cut shot, if I don’t cut it, I’m going to rip it over the green. And as it turned out, where the pin was, it might not have been that bad.”

His layup shot was fine, but his third shot was chunked into the greenside pond, leaving everyone in a bit of shock.

“You know I’ve done it,” Langer said. “It happens to most of us. They’re pretty tight fairways out there, certain areas there’s not a whole lot of grass there and it doesn’t take much to when you only have five yards to work with and that’s about what he had, and it’s easily done.”

Couples said it took him a while to get that hole out of his head. He concern was not so much over his chunk but his decision to lay up.

“If I could walk out there tomorrow, I would go for the green, no matter where I hit it,” Couples said. “I think I would beat 8, that’s for sure.”


PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF: Javier Sanchez says he’s just persistent.

Sanchez, who finished in a tie for 32nd at 11 over par in Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Senior Open, is originally from Taistan, Mexico. He lived in a one-room farm house with his parents and nine siblings. There was no electricity and no running water. Whatever critter they could shoot or catch, that was dinner.

He saw the opportunity to leave in the early 1980s when relatives in Redwood City, Calif., told him he could get a job there and send money back to help his parents. He did it, obtaining a fake green card and crossing the border at Tijuana.

“I didn’t speak a word of English. I was illegal,” Sanchez said. “Every time the immigration came, everyone just scattered. I got caught a couple times. Each time I came back and tried again. I am persistent. That’s why I’m here.”

He didn’t take up golf until his mid-20s, while working as a dishwasher on a golf course. The game came naturally to him as he went on win local tournaments, play for a junior college team then on several mini tours. Five times, he qualified to play in the U.S. Open. He made the cut once, in 1996, and finished 90th.

Eventually, he married an American woman. After three years together, he was allowed to take a test to gain his citizenship. The couple moved to Georgia, where there were more golf tour opportunities.

He was never in the mix to win this tournament but he can cash check for $15,892 to continue to live the dream.

“You get this tournament once a year. It’s so hard to qualify,” he said. “Anytime you do something like this, it’s special. It brings chills to your skin.”
QUIET MOVE:
With most of the attention on the final pairing, Olin Browne quietly put together the best round of the day. Browne made five birdies on his front nine and shot 65. The 30 on the front was the best nine-hole score of the week and vaulted Browne into a tie for third. He was one of four golfers to finish under par.

“I wanted to make as many birdies as I could, and when I turned in 30, I thought ‘here we go,”’ Browne said. “And then I just couldn’t get any putts to go in on the last nine. I hit a lot of really good putts, obviously. I made a couple of great saves on 16 and 18. But once I looked up in the middle of the round and saw that Bernhard was at 8-under, there’s no hope.”

If not for his first round, Browne likely would have been contending on Sunday. He put together even-par rounds of 70 on Friday and Saturday, but wasn’t able to overcome a 73 on the first day.

“I’m glad I strung together three nice rounds. I wish I would have played better the first day, so I could have been more relevant today, but it’s definitely positive for me.”
CHIP SHOTS:
Tom Kite had a chance to finish in the top five until the 16th, where he made a quadruple bogey 9. Kite finished at 3 over and in a tie for eighth. … Sunday’s crowd was 31,444, the largest of the week. … Tim Jackson was the low amateur for the second straight year. He finished at 11 over.

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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."