Garcia among qualifiers for U.S. Open

By Associated PressJune 7, 2011, 12:16 pm

COLMBUS, Ohio – Sergio Garcia’s long streak of appearances in majors looks set to continue after surviving a seven-man playoff in Monday’s qualifying for the U.S. Open while Vijay Singh’s even longer streak ended.

Garcia, who has fallen to No. 75 in the world, said only last month that he wouldn’t go through qualifying, but he changed his mind and had rounds of 68-67 at Tunica National in Memphis, Tennessee, claiming one of the four spots shared between the seven men in the playoff.

His appearance at Congressional this month for the U.S. Open will extend his streak in the majors to 47 straight. This was the first time since turning pro in 1999 that Garcia had to qualify.

Singh also changed his mind about qualifying, and elected not to take part. His run of 67 consecutive majors – dating to the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont – is over.

His only other chance of getting into the major was via a top finish in the St. Jude Classic this week, but the PGA Tour website said he was no longer in that field.

Those were the two biggest developments on a day of big hopes, with 11 sectional qualifiers in 10 states. No other major fills half its field with anyone willing to give it a try. Among those who got into the U.S. Open, which starts June 16, were:

Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, who made it through a playoff and is going to the U.S. Open for the first time. His grandfather won in 1960, and Palmer tied for fifth in 1964 when the Open first went to Congressional.

Steve Irwin, the son of three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, was among four qualifiers in California.

Fred Funk, who will be 55 on Tuesday of the U.S. Open.

Just as noteworthy were some of the players who failed to qualify. The list included a trio of U.S. Open champions – Steve Jones, Lee Janzen and Tom Kite – and a trio of British Open champions: Justin Leonard, David Duval and Ben Curtis.

“It’s entirely worth it,” Duval said. “You can’t win the golf tournament if you’re not in it. So I guess I’m not going to win it this year.”

College freshman Patrick Cantlay was among the 16 qualifiers in Columbus, which offered the most spots because it had the biggest field that was filled mostly with PGA Tour players. Cantlay, who wrapped up a sensational first season that earned him the Jack Nicklaus Award as the top college player, had rounds of 65-70.

Brandt Jobe, a runner-up by one shot at the Memorial on Sunday, joined Chez Reavie as co-medalists in Columbus.

Others who qualified in Columbus were Robert Garrigus, Marc Turnesa, John Senden, D.A. Points, Marc Leishman, Kevin Chappell, Adam Long, Justin Hicks, Nick O’Hern and Chris Wilson. Tim Petrovic, Scott Hend and Webb Simpson were part of a six-man playoff for three spots. Among those who got bumped out of the playoff were former Ryder Cup players J.J. Henry and Brett Wetterich.

Gary Woodland called officials to withdraw. He moved up to No. 41 in the world ranking after his sixth-place finish at the Memorial, and is sure to stay in the top 50 next week to get into the U.S. Open.

Others who failed to earn spots out of Columbus were Rocco Mediate, Sean O’Hair and Bob Hope winner Jhonattan Vegas.

Several other Tour players were in Memphis, where amateur Bill Cauley shared medalist honors with Sunghoon Kang, a tour rookie from South Korea.

Chad Campbell appeared to be safe until a bogey on the final hole dropped him into a seven-man playoff for four spots. He still won a spot, however, along with Brian Gay, Briny Baird and Garcia.

Among those who didn’t qualify in Memphis were former PGA champion Rich Beem, Stephen Ames, Chris DiMarco and Boo Weekley, who withdrew after his first 18 holes.

This was the second time in three years that Funk has qualified. Among the other nine players who qualified in Rockville, Maryland were Ty Tryon, three-time Tour winner Kirk Triplett and former U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson.

S.Y. Noh of South Korea, a rising star on the Asian Tour, earned one of two spots from Springfield, Ohio.

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Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

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Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.