Irwin co-leads Senior PGA Championship

By Associated PressMay 29, 2011, 2:20 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was a day of dramatic reversals at Valhalla Golf Club.

Hale Irwin overcame a four-shot deficit to grab the lead, then frittered it away with a double bogey on the last hole to drop into a tie with Japan’s Kiyoshi Murota on Saturday in the Senior PGA Championship.

Seeking a victory that would make him the oldest winner of a senior major, Irwin – who will be 66 next week – shot a 2-under 70 that could have been better if not for the finish.

Irwin and Murota, who battled back pain to shoot a 74, were at 9-under 207.

Hall of Famer Tom Watson, the 2007 Senior PGA champion, shot a 68 and was just one shot back, with Trevor Dodds (67) at 7 under and Nick Price (73) at 6 under.

Irwin and Murota slugged it out on the back nine head-to-head in the same group.

Murota, a 55-year-old Japanese touring pro and golf teacher who has seldom played in the United States, grabbed his back after hitting his tee shot on the 15th hole. But he was able to par in the rest of the way while wincing during shots and stretching in between them.

Irwin, who grabbed a two-stroke lead when Murota double-bogeyed the 12th hole, had a seemingly comfortable two-stroke lead in hand on the last hole. But from the middle of the fairway he spun his approach shot on the par-5 hole back into the gaping bunker in front. From there he blasted out to 15 feet and rolled his par putt 3 feet past. Then he missed the bogey putt to give away the lead.

Defending champion Tom Lehman, riding a string of six straight birdies, shot a 68 that got him into a tie for sixth place at 5 under with Loren Roberts (73) and David Eger (69).

Former British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia (71) and Mark O’Meara (72), a past winner of both the British Open and Masters, were among those at 4 under.

The late collapse dimmed what had been a dramatic turnaround for Irwin. A win would make Irwin – who turns 66 next Friday – the oldest Senior PGA champion ever, surpassing Jock Hutchinson, who was 62 when he won in 1947.

Before the tournament began, Irwin had talked about the end of his career. He spoke wistfully about whether his playing days would taper off or fall off a “cliff.” He said it was a “transition time” for him.

Then he went out and shot rounds of 69 and 68 in the first two rounds.

Murota, who led after rounds of 66 and 67 in the first two rounds, began the day with a four-shot lead on Irwin and Price.

But everything unraveled for Murota at the dogleg 12th. He pulled his drive into the right rough and then dubbed a wedge shot when he tried to chip to the fairway, barely advancing the ball 10 feet. From there he hit an iron short of the green, chipped 15 feet by and missed the bogey putt.

The 2005 winner of the Japan PGA Senior Championship, had just two bogeys in the first two rounds but along with a bogey at the 11th gave back three shots to par in a 15-minute span.

The shocking part of Irwin’s closing hole is he has proven he knows how to hold onto a lead. After all, he’s won 20 times on the PGA Tour, including victories in the 1974, ’79 and ’90 U.S. Opens. Since turning 50, he’s racked up more Champions Tour wins than anyone, with 45 including four in the Senior PGA Championship – including one in 2004 when it was last played at Valhalla.

Watson, winner of five British Opens, two Masters and a U.S. Open, played solid if unspectacular golf, making the most of his chances. He was 4 under through 15 before making bogey at the next hole. But he closed with a birdie – from that same deep bunker fronting the green – and is lurking just a shot back.

Dodds, in second after the opening round, has sandwiched 67s around a 75.

Price birdied the first two holes but couldn’t get anything going after that, playing the last 16 holes in 3 over.

That was typical. On a warm and sunny day with little wind, consistency was hard to find.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."