Gay wins Humana in playoff over Howell, Lingmerth

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2013, 1:13 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Brian Gay won the Humana Challenge on Sunday, beating Charles Howell III with a 5 1/2-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff after front-running Scott Stallings gave away a large lead.

Gay closed with a 9-under 63 on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course to match Howell and Swedish rookie David Lingmerth at 25-under 263.

Howell shot a 64, and Lingmerth had a 62. Stallings, five strokes ahead entering the round, bogeyed the final hole for a 70 to miss the playoff by a stroke.


Video: Gay takes Humana Challenge in playoff


The 41-year-old Gay began the round six strokes behind Stallings.

''The thoughts were, 'Just be aggressive, shoot as low as you can,''' Gay said. ''I knew Scott was five ahead. Even with a great round, a really low round, it would be tough to catch him, if at all. I played great on the front, just tried to stay aggressive and shoot low.''

Gay and Howell opened the playoff with birdies on the par-5 18th, and Lingmerth dropped out with a bogey after hitting his approach into the left-side water.

Gay won on the par-4 10th, hitting a perfect drive and putting his 9-iron second shot in good position below the hole. Howell drove into the right rough, hit his second into the back bunker, blasted out to 15 feet and two-putted for bogey.

''I'm still in a little bit of shock,'' Gay said. ''It kind of happened so fast there at the end the way things went down. Last year was a struggle. It was a long year, a lot of work. I just wanted to come out this year kind of refocused, recharged, and believing in myself.''

Howell tied for second a week after opening the season with a third-place tie in Hawaii in the Sony Open. He won the last of his two Tour titles in 2007.

''Anybody that says that that golf is fun or whatever, has really not done it for a living,'' Howell said. ''I would never characterize this as fun. It's different than that. It's awfully challenging mentally and the chances to win are what we want.''

After birdieing nine of the first 13 holes, Gay finished regulation with five straight pars. On the 18th, he missed the green to the right and failed to hole an 8-foot birdie try.

''I felt like I gave one back with a par on 18 there,'' Gay said. ''Was fortunate enough to feel like I had a second chance with two guys left that didn't birdie the hole. Kind of a second chance, if you will. I was happy to be in the playoff at that point.''

Given that second chance, he outlasted Howell for his fourth PGA Tour title. He won the Verizon Heritage and St. Jude Classic in 2009 and the Mayakoba Golf Classic in 2008.

Playing in the second-to-last group, Howell had a chance to pull ahead on the final hole of regulation, but left his approach about 85 feet short and three-putted for par. His 5-foot birdie try made a sharp left turn inches from hole.

''Quite honestly, going into the day, I didn't really think that anybody had a chance apart from Scott,'' Howell said. ''He's won before, he hits it long enough to take advantage of the par 5s. At 22 under, I figured if he shoots 6, 7 under, he's really not catchable. So, then to have a chance there in regulation, that's where I really would like that one back, that three-putt there. But it happens and once you get a playoff, anything can happen.''

Stallings hit a 315-yard drive on the 18th to set up a 6-iron approach from 220 yards. The ball landed in the left rough, bounced into rocks and finished in the water. After a penalty drop, he chipped to 10 feet and missed his par try.

''I felt great. There wasn't any nerves or anything like that going into it,'' Stallings said. ''Just hit a bad shot. Same thing that happened on 14. Felt like I made a good swing, just ball came off a little right and got a bad kick and went in the water.

''Coming down the stretch on the 72nd hole, you can't make mistakes like that. And it stinks, but it's something that I'll definitely learn from.''

The two-time tour winner saved par on the par-5 14th after hitting his into the All-American Canal on the right side, but dropped a stroke on the par-4 16th after his 4-iron tee shot went farther than he expected and ended up in the lip of a fairway bunker.

''You're going to have your good days and your bad days, but if you live and die with every shot out there, your career is not going to last very long out there,'' Stallings said.

Making his second career PGA Tour start, Lingmerth hit his 4-iron approach way left into the water in the playoff. He had an awkward stance on the shot with the ball above his feet.

''I didn't feel that comfortable over it, obviously,'' Lingmerth said. ''I just hit a bad shot. I wish I could have it back. ... I was fortunate to have a chance here, and I'm sure I'll learn from it looking forward to the next opportunity.''

Phil Mickelson had a 66 to tie for 37th at 17 under in his season debut. He was making his start since the HSBC Champions in early November in China.

''I was rusty starting the year,'' Mickelson said. ''I had a great four days here where I can work on my game with perfect weather and wonderful golf courses, where I could build some momentum. Heading into San Diego, I feel a lot more confident in my game. I feel like I'm starting to play well, hit some putts on line.''

DIVOTS: James Hahn eagled the last for a 62 to tie for fourth with Stallings. ... Russell Henley, the Sony Open winner last week in his first start as a PGA Tour member, tied for 56th at 15 under after a 69. ... FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker shot a 67 to tie for 23rd at 19 under. He was the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 8.

Getty Images

Ryu wins Meijer Classic by 2 shots

By Associated PressJune 17, 2018, 9:46 pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - So Yeon Ryu won the Meijer LPGA Classic on Sunday for her first victory of the season and sixth overall, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke margin.

The 29-year-old South Korean player birdied the par-5 16th and par-4 17th and parred the par-4 18th to finish at 21-under 267 at Blythefield Country Club.

Two strokes behind Anna Nordqvist and Lee-Anne Pace entering the round, Ryu had six birdies and a bogey in the final round.


Full-field scores from the Meijer LPGA Classic


Caroline Masson was second after a 68. Lydia Ko shot a 67 to finish third at 18 under.

Nordqvist and Pace each shot 73 - after each had a 64 on Saturday - to tie for fourth at 17 under with Jacqui Concolino (66), Azahara Munoz (68) and Angela Stanford (70).

U.S. Women's Open winner Ariya Jutanugarn shot a tournament-record 62. She birdied five of the first seven holes, eagled No. 8 and added three more birdies to finish 12th at 15 under.

Getty Images

Fleetwood fires 63, waits to see if score is enough

By Rex HoggardJune 17, 2018, 8:52 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Tommy Fleetwood became the sixth player to shoot 63 at the U.S. Open, and just the second to do it in the final round. Now he waits.

Fleetwood teed off almost 2 ½ hours before – and six strokes behind – the leaders at Shinnecock Hills on Sunday, but stormed into the hunt thanks to four consecutive birdies starting at the 12th hole. The Englishman’s round was even more impressive considering he didn’t birdie either of the layout’s par 5s.


U.S. Open: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


Fleetwood finished at 2 over par – after missing a 9-foot putt for birdie and 62 at the 18th – which was tied for second place and one stroke off the lead held by Brooks Koepka when he completed his round.

After speaking with the media, Fleetwood went to the locker room to await a possible playoff, which was changed this year from an 18-hole overtime to just two holes of aggregate play.

“We'll go and relax a little bit and just see,” said Fleetwood, who rolled in 159 feet of birdies putts. “Only time will tell what's going to happen today at the course. If it was like yesterday, I'd feel a little more comfortable than now.”

Getty Images

Fowler follows 84 with 65, praises Shinnecock setup

By Rex HoggardJune 17, 2018, 5:44 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – As promised, the USGA dialed back Shinnecock Hills for Sunday’s final round, watering the greens overnight and deferring to more user-friendly hole locations.

The evidence of this was on the leaderboard, with four early finishers having shot under-par rounds, including Rickie Fowler, who closed with a round-of-the-week 65. There were just three under-par cards on Saturday.

“That's the golf course I enjoy playing. Obviously, pin placements were a lot safer,” said Fowler, who had just one bogey on Sunday and opened his day with a 4-under 31 on his opening nine. “The pins today will definitely allow for the greens to firm up and get fast, and we'll see how much they dry out. It was definitely more receptive this morning than yesterday, that's for sure.”


U.S. Open: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


It was a 19-stroke turnaround for Fowler, who ballooned to a third-round 84 on Day 3 during what most contend were the week’s toughest conditions. Fowler had put himself into contention going into the weekend thanks to a second-round 69, but struggled on Saturday afternoon like much of the field.

Fowler said the setup was vastly different to what players faced on Saturday and that even if the winds increase for the afternoon tee times the course will remain playable, unlike Round 3 when many players said the USGA “lost” the golf course.

“They did a good job of staying safe,” Fowler said, “because if it does dry out, it will still be very playable.”

Getty Images

Phil celebrates par on 13, ducks media after round

By Ryan LavnerJune 17, 2018, 5:35 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Phil Mickelson didn’t have another meltdown at the U.S. Open.

Back on the 13th green Sunday – less than 24 hours after taking a two-shot penalty for hitting a moving ball and recording a sextuple-bogey 10 – Mickelson poured in a 10-footer and raised his arms in mock triumph, as if he’d finally won that elusive major title.

Not quite.

He’d simply made par.

“It looked like he won the Masters,” said playing partner Rickie Fowler. “He didn’t jump, but he had a little celebration there.”


U.S. Open: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


The par save and the final-round 69 were one of the lone bright spots during what was an adventurous week for Lefty, even by his unpredictable standards. Mickelson’s shocking swat was still the talk of this Open, especially after USGA executive director Mike Davis revealed Saturday night that Mickelson had called him to ask for more clarification on the rule he said that he knew he’d broken.

Despite some calls for him to withdraw from the tournament, Mickelson displayed his usual cheerful demeanor inside the ropes with Fowler.

“He joked about it right as we went down the first hole,” Fowler said.

Fowler said that he didn’t know “if I would have had the wits like Phil to run after it” on 13, but added that it never should have come to that in the first place.

“He could have saved himself a shot by just letting it go and taking unplayable, but then that would still look pretty funny too,” he said. “The course shouldn’t play that way.”

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”