Harrington tops Norman for claret jug - COPIED

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England --Turns out Padraig Harringtons wrist was strong enough to hit all the right shots in the British Open. Better yet, it was strong enough to lift the silver claret jug.
 
Harrington became the first European in more than a century to win golfs oldest championship two years is a row, smashing a pair of fairway metals into the par 5s Sunday that allowed him to pull away from mistake-prone Greg Norman and hold off a late charge by Ian Poulter for a four-shot victory.
 
I enjoyed the claret jug so much I didnt want to give it back, Harrington said.
 
Even in the relentless wind, Harrington managed to shoot 32 on the back nine to close with a 1-under 69.
 
And to think he gave himself only a 75 percent chance of teeing off on Thursday, and only a 50 percent chance of finishing.
 
No one bothered asking him the odds of winning.
 
The 36-year-old Irishman injured his right wrist eight days ago, and it was so sore when he arrived at Royal Birkdale that he stopped practice after nine holes on Tuesday and three swings on Wednesday.
 
But he was at full strength in gusts up to 40 mph off the Irish Sea, especially down the stretch. He ripped a 3-wood into the wind to about 40 feet on the par-5 15th and got down in two putts for birdie to build a two-shot lead. Then came a 5-wood that bounded up the green on the par-5 17th and settled 4 feet away for eagle.
 
Theres no doubt it helped me this week, Harrington said, referring to his wrist. It helped take all the pressure, all the stress, all the expectations away from me.
 
A year ago, Harrington was an emotional wreck at Carnoustie after making double bogey on the final hole and beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff. Backed by a four-shot lead after his eagle on the 17th, he was afforded a pleasurable walk along the dunes toward the final green, the only suspense his margin of victory.
 
He finished at 3-over 283, becoming the first European since James Braid in 1905-06 to win the Open in successive years.
 
It was his first victory since the British Open last year, and it could not have come at a better time. Harrington moved to the top of Europes Ryder Cup standings, and the victory moved him to No. 3 in the world ranking behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
 
Im quite enjoying this, Harrington said, cradling the claret jug. I dont think Ill get down off the stage.
 
Norman played a familiar role as the tragic figure.
 
This had all the elements of a fairy tale like few others in golf. Norman, 53, married tennis great Chris Evert three weeks ago and was on the tail end of his honeymoon when he wound up with a two-shot lead going into the final round and a chance to become the oldest major champion. Instead, it ended like so many other majors when he was in his prime.
 
The Shark lost his two-shot lead after the third hole. He still had a one-shot lead going to the back nine, but bogeyed three of the next four holes and had to settle for a 77 and a tie for third with Henrik Stenson (71).
 
I walk away from here disappointed, but with my head held high, because I hung in there, Norman said.
 
Poulter thought he could bring England its first British Open since Nick Faldo in 1992, playing bogey-free over his final 15 holes and making a 15-foot par on the 18th hole to finish off a 69. He went to the practice range in case of a playoff, but put his clubs away when he saw that Harrington made eagle on the 17th hole.
 
Norman tried to keep alive his hopes with a 35-foot par putt on the 14th, and a shot from a pot bunker that made him spin backward, turning to see the ball land 4 feet away for a birdie. Harrington, however, didnt back down.
 
Padraig played brilliantly today, even though he tried to let it get away in the middle of the round, Norman said. He came back and performed brilliantly, and he finished like a true champion.
 
Harrington walked off the 18th green with his children, Patrick and Cairan, and sat atop a pot bunker to pose with the jug.
 
The leaderboard featured a familiar name, missing an s.
 
Chris Wood, a 20-year-old amateur from England, closed in on the lead until three straight bogeys on the back nine. He finished with a 72 and tied for fifth at 10-over 290 with Jim Furyk (71).
 
Its been the best week of my life, Wood said.
 
Norman felt much the same, except for the final day.
 
What an amazing week for the Shark'spending his honeymoon in Skibo Castle, showing up at Royal Birkdale to tune up for the Senior British Open and Senior U.S. Open, then finding himself with a two-shot lead going into the final round.
 
Fans perched themselves atop every sand dune to see if Norman could pull off a victory that would have ranked among the most stunning in golf, from Jack Nicklaus winning the Masters at age 46 to Ben Hogan returning from a life-threatening car crash to win the U.S. Open.
 
But instead of a fairy-tale ending, he delivered a rerun of opportunties lost in the majors.
 
Where does it rank in those? Probably not as high as some of the other ones, said Norman, who now is 1-7 when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead in majors. Quite honestly, Im sure I surprised a lot of people.
 
Norman hit into a pot bunker on the first hole and made bogey. He missed the green left on the second hole and made bogey. His tee shot buried in the right rough on the third hole for another bogey. And he had to make an 8-foot to save bogey on the sixth.
 
Just like that, a two-shot lead over Harrington turned into a two-shot deficit.
 
Even quicker, momentum swung back in Normans favor.
 
Flawless over the first six holes, Harrington ran off three straight bogeys, and Norman stood on the 10th tee of the British Open with a one-shot lead and nine holes to play.
 
But he pulled his tee shot into the left rough and made bogey, losing the lead for good. The end for Norman was a tee shot into the pot bunker on the 13th, and a third shot that came up woefully short of the green. He scrambled for bogey, but only after Harrington made his first birdie of the round from 12 feet.
 
The only duel was between Harrington and Poulter, who came on strong in his pink pants and fist pumps.
 
Poulter had the look of an English winner over the home stretch with steady shots and a birdie on the 16th that fell into the cup sideways on its last turn. What ultimately cost him, however, was failing to birdie the par 5s from good positions, the last one a three-putt par from below the ridge.
 
I can only do what I can do, Poulter said. And I done my best.
 
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    Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

    By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

    Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

    Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

    "I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


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    Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

    While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

    "I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

    Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

    Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

    By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

    Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

    In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

    Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

    Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

    Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    “I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

    On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

    Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

    Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

    Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

    “The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

    Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

    Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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    D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

    By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

    ''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

    The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

    Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

    Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

    ''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

    Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

    Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

    Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

    The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

    Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

    ''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

    Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

    Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

    She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

    If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

    ''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

    Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

    Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

    ''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

    Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

    ''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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    Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

    By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith admitted sleeping on the lead of the biggest tournament available to him might be a problem.

    ''I can't say, 'Oh, it won't bother me.' But to me, it's fun,'' Smith said after shooting a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

    Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

    One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.

    ''To see my name on the board out there, it's not like I'm blind to the leaderboard, that was cool,'' said Smith, who is playing in his fourth Senior PGA and third at Harbor Shores - where he has made the 36-hole cut the previous two times.

    ''All my members are taking pictures and I know at home my members are pulling up that screen and like I tell them, going to the middle and looking down. So it probably took them a while to find my name today."

    Petrovic, who was among the leaders in the Regions Tradition last week before a poor final round, said it was a little bit of a surprise when he heard Smith was at 7 under through 17 holes.

    ''There was a little bit of buzz, we were talking about it,'' he said. ''I heard somebody say 7 under and I said 'who is it? And we looked up, but we didn't know who the player was. In a tournament like this, you know how it is, there's always one guy, one smart-alec that shoots 7, 8 under in the first round.''

    Smith, who birdied five consecutive holes starting at the seventh, played college golf at UCLA and knocked around the mini tours and South Africa for several years without ever gaining his tour card. He was college teammates with some of the players in the field, including Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf and Steve Pate, but said he no longer seeks the tour life.


    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


    ''It's just not me anymore,'' he said. ''So that's why maybe I do have an advantage this week because it's just fun to me. It's like my wife said - just enjoy the ride.''

    Petrovic had seven birdies in his round while McCarron and Lonard played bogey-free rounds. Short holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par 4 12th and made eagle on the par 5 ninth hole, his last hole of the day.

    McCarron is the only one of the six leaders with a major on his resume. He won the Senior Players Championship last year, and played The Players Championship recently.

    ''It was a lot of fun being on that stage, of course being at The Players with the best players in the world playing one of the best golf courses in the world,'' he said. ''I think the preparation there and just being on that stage helped me going into last week in Alabama, and certainly this week.''

    The top two money winners on the PGA Tour Champions are not in Benton Harbor. Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.

    Paul Goydos, a five-time senior winner including the 2016 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and Chris Williams of South Africa shot 67. Joe Durant, David Toms, Kenny Perry, Jerry Pate and Fred Funk were among 15 players at 68.

    Colin Montgomerie, who won the first of consecutive Senior PGA titles here in 2014, shot 69, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off a win last week in the first major of the year at the Regions Tradition, opened with a 70.