Flesch Red Hot at Reno-Tahoe

By Associated PressAugust 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
Reno-Tahoe OpenRENO, Nev. -- Steve Flesch overcame windy conditions Saturday with five birdies for his second straight 69 and a five-stroke lead after the third round of the Reno-Tahoe Open.
 
Flesch, who birdied the last two holes to finish at 15-under 201, also had two bogeys in winds that gusted up to 30 mph and swirled through towering pines on the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf & Country Club on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada.
 
He opened the $3 million tournament with a 9-under 63 in search of his third career victory on the PGA TOUR.
 
'Anytime you can birdie the last two holes I think you'll be hard to beat,' said Flesch, whose five-stroke lead is the biggest through 54 holes at any PGA event this year. The biggest previous lead was Tiger Woods' four-stroke advantage at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship.
 
'It was a lot like playing yesterday afternoon to be honest with you,' said Flesch, a 40-year-old left-hander from Kentucky who has earned more than $13 million in 11 years on tour. 'I think today I was a little more conservative because of the wind. I picked my spots out there where I tried to be aggressive.'
 
PGA TOUR rookie John Merrick had six birdies and two bogeys in a round of 68 to get to 10-under 206 and a tie for second with Australian Steve Allan (69) and Todd Fischer (69), who has a home on the golf course.
 
Charles Warren, who shot a 63 on Friday and opened the day at 10-under, double bogeyed the second hole en route to a 73 to fall back to 9-under 207.
 
Kevin Stadler (67), Steve Elkington (69) and Jose Conceres (72) were next at 9-under 208. Jeff Maggert (67) and Shaun Micheel (71) were in a group another stroke back at 8-under par.
 
Merrick, a former all-Pac 10 golfer at UCLA who is 141st on the money list with $362,000, had three top-25 finishes in the middle of the season but has missed the cut five of his last seven outings.
 
'It's nice to see your name on the leaderboard. Mine hasn't been up there much this year,' he said. 'I've been trying a little bit too hard I think. This week I've been trying not to put too much pressure on myself.'
 
Merrick said the winds added to the difficulty of deciding which clubs to use given the nearly 10 percent farther the ball travels at the high elevation.
 
'I hit 6-iron into No. 9 today and it's a 615-yard, par 5,' Merrick said. 'The winds all over the place. ... One second it's downwind. The next second it's into the wind.'
 
Allan agreed.
 
'There's an element of luck out there because the way the wind swirls it's impossible to pick (clubs) sometimes,' he said. 'You can be penalized for some shots that aren't bad shots.'
 
Fischer, who missed the cut in his only two PGA outings this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach and the U.S. Open, is playing on a sponsor's exemption. He said he treats this tournament as his 'No. 1 major.'
 
'It was the only one I was looking forward to all year because I knew I was in it,' he said.
 
Flesch said his wedge play has kept him out of trouble all week. He missed the par-3 second hole long Saturday but chipped up to 4 feet and made the putt to save par. He missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the next hole, then made one from 9 feet for a birdie on the par-4 fifth.
 
Flesch gave the stroke back on the 220-yard seventh when he hit 3 feet past the green into the rough, chipped to 9 feet and missed his par putt. He had a chance for a birdie on the ninth, but his 3-footer went 180 degrees around the cup before lipping out.
 
'Whenever you are putting and the wind is blowing that hard it's hard to keep a good rhythm. I hit it hard and spun it around. Those things happen,' he said.
 
Flesch opened the back nine with consecutive birdies from 3 feet and 9 feet, but had a 3-putt bogey on the par-3 12th before closing with 5-foot birdie putts on each of the last two holes.
 
Two years ago at Reno, Allan led by two heading to the final hole but missed a 4-foot bogey putt for the victory. He said it will be difficult to catch the leader on Sunday.
 
'For him, I think a par round would be pretty good and make it tough on us,' Allan said.
 
Flesch, for one, hopes the wind blows just as hard.
 
'If I go out there tomorrow and the wind doesn't blow, it brings a whole lot more guys back into it,' he said.
 
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    M. Jutanugarn finally joins sister in LPGA winner's circle

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 1:42 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn won the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open by two shots for her first victory in six years on the LPGA Tour, joining sister Ariya as the second siblings to win on the tour.

    The 23-year-old from Thailand shot a 3-under 68 for a 12-under 272 total Sunday at Wilshire Country Club in the tour's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

    Jutanugarn won in her 156th start after three career runner-up finishes, including at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She had 21 top-10 finishes before winning.

    Seven-time winner Ariya tied for 24th after a 70. She joined the predominantly Asian crowd to follow her older sister's final holes, crying as Moriya two-putted to close out the win.

    Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to win on the LPGA Tour.

    Hall of Famer Inbee Park shot a 68 to tie for second with Jin Young Ko (70).

    Park had opportunities, but she wasn't able to put pressure on Jutanugarn playing in the final threesome. However, Park will return to No. 1 in the world when the rankings come out Monday, knocking off top-ranked Shenshen Fang, who tied for 12th.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    Jutanugarn began the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered in fulfilling the potential she first displayed as the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. After a birdie at the second hole, she reeled off nine consecutive pars before sinking birdie putts at 12 and 13.

    She overcame a tee shot that narrowly missed going out of bounds for another birdie at 15 to lead by three.

    Jutanugarn ran into trouble on the par-4 16th. Her approach landed on the green and rolled off it, stopping inches from dropping into a bunker. Her chip shot ran well past the hole and her par putt just missed catching the edge of the cup. That left her with a short putt for bogey, her first in her previous 28 holes, trimming her lead to two shots.

    Ko's tee shot on 18 landed about 4 feet from the hole, giving her a chance to cut Jutanugarn's lead to one shot with the Thai facing a long birdie attempt.

    But Ko missed, leaving Jutanugarn room to maneuver. Her birdie putt came up a couple feet short, but she calmly parred the hole to win. Ariya rushed onto the green and joined others in emptying water bottles on her sister before they embraced.

    So Yeon Ryu (68) finished fourth at 7 under. American Emma Talley (67) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) tied for fifth at 6 under, making Ji one of four South Koreans to place in the top five.

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    After Further Review: Tour players embracing new ideas

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 1:26 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On players embracing new ideas on the PGA Tour ...

    PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new.

    In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions. It’s the first time all four have been in the same field since the Tour Championship. If the laid-back event offered world-ranking points – it doesn’t, and that’s part of the appeal – the winner would have received 62 points. That’s the same as the Genesis Open.

    Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it. - Ryan Lavner


    On Moriya Jutanugarn's breakthrough win ...

    As much love as there is between the Jutanugarn sisters, it couldn’t have been easy for Moriya, watching her baby sister, Ariya, soar past her as one of the LPGA’s dominant stars the last few years. Mo, though, never betrayed an inkling of frustration or envy.

    That’s what made Mo’s breakthrough LPGA victory Sunday at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open especially meaningful for everyone who has admired Mo’s devotion to her sister. Mo was always a fixture, waiting in the wings to celebrate whenever Ariya hoisted a trophy.

    So emotions were high late Sunday, with Ariya waiting in the wings this time, with Ariya sobbing in Mo’s arms after the victory was secured. It was heartwarming for more than Apple, the mother who raised these talented, loving sisters. As always, Apple was there, too, soaking both her daughters in tears of joy. – Randall Mell


    On the tough scheduling decisions facing the PGA Tour ...

    According to multiple sources, officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation on Monday.

    While this is good news for the folks in Fort Worth, Texas, who were in danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of timing, there remain some tough decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

    If the PGA Tour’s plan is to end its season before Labor Day beginning in 2019, something must give. Currently, the Houston Open, a staple on Tour since 1946, and The National are without sponsors. When the music stops in a few weeks and the circuit announces the ’19 schedule, there’s a good chance one, or both, of those events will be the victims of bad timing. – Rex Hoggard

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    Triplett hole-out wins Legends of Golf playoff

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 12:12 am

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Kirk Triplett holed out from a bunker for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf to lift himself and partner Paul Broadhurst past Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.

    ''Well, you're trying to make it, but you know realistically it doesn't go in very often,'' Triplett said. ''You're trying to give your partner a free run at it. You don't want to hit it up there 20 feet past or do something silly. I'm just trying to hit it the right distance and get it on the right line.''

    Langer and Lehman took it in stride.

    ''You kind of learn to expect it,'' Lehman said. ''These guys out here are so good and Kirk Triplett is a magician around the greens. The odds of making that shot are probably not good, but you certainly expect him to hit a great shot and he did and it went in.''

    Lehman and Langer missed birdie putts after Triplett holed out.

    ''I kind of felt like we both hit pretty good putts, misread them, both of them,'' Lehman said. ''I hit mine probably too hard and Bernhard's was too soft, but you have to hand it to the guys who hit the shot when they have to hit it.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Broadhurst and Triplett closed with a 6-under 48 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to match Langer and Lehman at 24 under. Langer and Lehman had a 47, playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

    The 56-year-old Triplett won his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

    ''That's a big roller-coaster - three good shots and mine, right?'' Triplett said. ''I'm feeling a little dejected walking down that fairway there, a little sheepish. To knock it in it just reminds you, this game, you know, crazy stuff.''

    Broadhurst claimed his third senior victory.

    ''I don't get too emotional, but that was something special,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said.

    Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal had a 48 to tie for third with 2017 winners Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco. Singh and Franco, the third-round leaders, shot 50.

    Mark Calcavecchia-Woody Austin (48), John Daly-Michael Allen (49), Steve Stricker-Jerry Kelly (50) and David Toms-Steve Flesch (52) tied for fifth at 20 under.

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    Mullinax (T-2) comes up short of maiden win

    By Will GrayApril 23, 2018, 12:06 am

    The Valero Texas Open saw an unheralded player break through to earn a maiden victory, but unfortunately for Trey Mullinax his day will have to wait.

    Mullinax started the final round within a shot of the lead, having fired a course-record 62 during the final round. He trailed Andrew Landry by one shot for much of the final round while racking up six birdies over his first 11 holes, but a pair of late miscues meant the former Alabama standout had to settle for a share of second place, two shots behind Landry.

    A final-round 69 marked a career-best finish for Mullinax, who is playing this season on conditional status and whose lone prior top-10 this season came after he Monday qualified for the Valspar Championship.

    "I know my game's there, I'm playing really well," Mullinax told reporters. "Give all credit to Andrew, he played really well today, rocksteady. He was putting great, hitting great shots."


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Given time to reflect, the 26-year-old will likely look back on the final two holes where nerves appeared to get the best of him. Looking to put some pressure on Landry, Mullinax chunked his pitch on the short 17th hole into a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course.

    Then Mullinax was unable to convert a 9-foot birdie putt on the final green, which would have forced Landry to make his 8-foot par putt to avoid a playoff. Afforded the luxury of two putts for the win, Landry rolled in his par save to cement a two-shot win.

    "Made a bad bogey on 17, but just you've got to hit some bad shots," Mullinax said. "Would have liked to have got the putt on 18 to fall to put a little bit of heat on him, but this experience that I'm gaining right now is just going to help me down the road."