Hanson wins Czech Open playoff keeps Ryder Cup hopes alive
The Swede won the playoff at the $2.56 million European Tour event when he birdied the second extra hole – the par 4 18th – with his putt from 18 feet.
Hanson needed a victory to have a chance of making Colin Montgomerie’s European team for the Ryder Cup.
“Today was really hard,” Hanson said. “I was lucky in the end, after I got off to a bad start. It feels fantastic.”
The overnight leader by four strokes, Hanson had a disastrous front nine that included three straight bogeys and he added a double bogey on the 12th.
But birdies on 5th, 10th and 16th brought him back into contention and Hanson closed with a fourth round 74 to finish with a 10-under 278 total at the Prosper Golf Resort.
“I put myself in a great position yesterday and I’m feeling absolutely great that I managed to do it,” Hanson said.
Irishman Lawrie, who started eight shots behind Hanson, produced an eagle on the 10th and closed with a 6-under 66, while English rookie Boyd ended with 68.
Englishman Simon Dyson – another Ryder Cup hopeful who needed a win to qualify – carded 70 and dropped to a share of fifth from second overnight.
Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, who co-designed the 7,155-yard course at the northeastern Czech town, shot a disappointing 73 to finish tied at seventh.
Jimenez was eighth in the standings before Celadna and close to automatically making the Ryder Cup.
Next week’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Scotland, is the final event in the race for the nine automatic Europe Ryder Cup spots. Jimenez won’t be playing there.
“It means so much to get in the top nine,” Hanson said. “It turned out in the end that both me, Miguel and Simon Dyson, who had so much to play for, didn’t play our best in the end. But I managed to scrape it round the back nine and make that birdie on 16 to get into the playoff.”
The tour returned to the Czech Republic last year for the first time since 1997.
Sweden’s Oskar Henningsson won in Celadna in 2009.
Koepka has his chance to earn his way to No. 1
There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).
No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.
On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.
The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.
"It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."
It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, given how his career has unfolded, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major.
"My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."
Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's grasp
Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.
Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)
What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One behind overnight leader Scott Piercy to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.
Round of the day: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.
Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.
Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.
Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.
Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green
It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.
Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.
The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.
... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?
Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match
Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.
This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:
Players Caddies— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 19, 2018
The biggest football derby in golf. pic.twitter.com/nplylmVJeE
The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:
"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."
Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain.
"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.