Harrington tops Norman for claret jug

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.
 
Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington put his stamp on the Open Championship with an eagle on the 71st hole.
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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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.


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    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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    Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

    Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

    When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

    It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

    Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

    Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.


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    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


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


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.