Horschel wins BMW Championship by 2

By Associated PressSeptember 7, 2014, 10:27 pm

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. - The bad swing a week ago is a distant memory. The blown lead Sunday - that wasn't enough to derail Billy Horschel, either.

Horschel let a three-shot lead drop to nothing early in the final round of the BMW Championship before rebounding for a two-stroke victory over Bubba Watson. Horschel shot a 1-under 69 and finished at 14-under 266 to put himself in prime position for the FedEx Cup title and its $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship next week.

''If I were a betting man, I'd put some money on me,'' said Horschel, who made $1.44 million for his second career PGA Tour victory.

Horschel heads into the final week of the playoff chase in second place in the points standings thanks to the victory and his tie for second a week ago - when he chunked a 6-iron well short on the final hole at TPC Boston, squandering a chance to win or force extra holes with playoff leader Chris Kirk.

This time, nursing a two-shot lead, the 27-year-old from Grant, Florida, smoothed a 9-iron into the middle of the 18th green and the only drama was whether he'd have time for a quick pit stop before he had to putt. Horschel sprinted up the fairway, ducked under the ropes and was back in plenty of time to two-putt and close out the victory.

''Obviously, after last week, a lot of people on Twitter were calling me a choker,'' Horschel said. ''I didn't choke. I made one bad swing at a bad time. To start with a three-shot lead today and hold on means a lot.''


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About an hour earlier, it was another chunked shot that drastically altered the course of the tournament.

Ryan Palmer erased his opening three-shot deficit to Horschel and was tied after six holes, then again after 11.

Palmer was one behind as the final threesome walked down the 13th fairway, with Horschel buried in the right rough and Palmer buried in the left. Horschel hit his second shot safely on the green. Palmer shanked his into a small creek that runs in front of the green. He made double bogey to fall three behind.

''A shank? (Doesn't happen) very often,'' Palmer said. ''But I'm doing with the downhill, down in the rough, I'm blaming it on that. But it happens. It's a fickle game.''

That left Sergio Garcia, who cut a seven-shot deficit to two, as the last true threat, but his chance imploded on the par-5 17th - when he laid up, cooked his third shot over the green, then chipped into the water. He made a triple-bogey 8 - sullying a round of 67. He finished at 9 under, tied for fourth with Palmer (71), Rickie Fowler (68) and Jim Furyk (66).

''It's what happens when you're not mentally sharp,'' Garcia said about the decision not to go for the green in two. ''Then, just a mistake after another mistake.''

Horschel said losing the lead early didn't bother him much.

''That's why you have a three-shot lead. To have a little wiggle room,'' he said.

Unlike Palmer and Garcia, Watson, who shot 66, never truly threatened to take the lead, but he didn't blow up, either. He missed a 25-foot birdie putt on 18 that would've drawn him within one of Horschel, who was behind him in the fairway.

But Watson didn't make much all week. He finished 42nd in putting over four rounds. Still, he'll go to Atlanta third in the standings, joining Kirk, Horschel, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan among the top five, all of whom control their destiny - meaning a win will give them the playoff title, as well.

''Maybe that's when I make my putts,'' Watson said.

Palmer's fourth-place finish moved him from 37th to 23rd in the standings.

But outside of Horschel, Sunday's biggest winner was third-place finisher Morgan Hoffman, who turned the old-school, mile-high layout at Cherry Hills into his personal pitch and putt over the weekend. He shot 7-under 63 on Sunday to go with his course-record 62 on Saturday and vaulted from 68th to 21st in the standings. He started the playoffs 124th, matching the worst starting ranking to make the 30-player Tour Championship in the eight-year history of the playoffs.

''That's the perfect way of putting it - 'nothing to lose,''' Hoffman said. ''Carefree and just go out and fire at pins.''

McIlroy finished tied for eighth after a 66 that included a replay of the worst kind - a four-putt on the 12th green for the second straight day. Still, he's comfortably in the mix for next week.

Not so for Stuart Appleby, who missed an 18-foot birdie try on his last hole to end up in 31st. And Keegan Bradley's decision to withdraw Saturday because of a question over a drop he took in the opening round left him in 33rd, a five-spot drop.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).


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Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

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Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”