Jay Haas blows past Tom Watson to win Senior Players

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2009, 2:09 am
Champions Tour

TIMONIUM, Md. – Jay Haas took advantage of Tom Watson’s uncharacteristic bogeys and passive play to steal the final Champions Tour major of the year.

Haas charged past Watson to win the Senior Players Championship by a stroke, birdieing the 18th hole Sunday to match the course record with a 6-under 64.

“All day, I was right there,” Haas said. “I missed some very makable putts on the front nine, and I was very disappointed in that. But I felt like I was going to get some more, the way I was hitting it and the way I felt today. I had a nice calm about me and Tom didn’t go nuts behind me and shoot 3 or 4 or 5 under himself.”

The 60-year-old Watson was tying to become the oldest major winner on the 50-and-over tour. But after making only one bogey in the first three rounds at Baltimore Country Club, he had three in the final round en route to a 70.

“I didn’t play with the type of aggressiveness I needed to play today,” Watson said. “I played tentative golf. I made a couple of putts, but I hit some wayward shots and didn’t have a feel for the distance today.

Haas finished at 13-under 267 for his third senior major title. He has 14 career Champions Tour victories, also winning the Greater Hickory Classic two weeks ago.

“From tee to green, I could not play better,” he said. “Under the conditions and under the circumstances, a major tournament on a championship golf course, that was the best I got.”

Wearing a brace on his left arm to combat a lingering case of tendinitis, Haas marveled at the progress he’s made in the past month since a cortisone shot.

“I’m still a little apprehensive about my arm – is it going to come back, what does the future hold? A month ago, when I was in Seattle, I thought my year was done.”

Haas took advantage of a well-placed 6-iron from 195 yards on his second shot on the par-4 18th hole. His shot dropped on the right side of the green, then rolled within 3 feet of the cup for an easy birdie.

Watson missed the fairway on 18, ending any hopes he could catch Haas. Mark Wiebe (71) and Loren Roberts (71) tied for third at 7 under, and Bernhard Langer (68) and John Cook (72) followed at 6 under.

The two-time Masters winner and runner-up in this year’s British Open, Watson pulled ahead by a stroke with a masterful, downhill birdie putt on No. 15. With 35 feet to the hole, he used a five-iron to send a slow roller that briefly broke right before curling left and dropping in to put him at 12 under.

He groaned as the ball went right, successfully pleading for a better fate.

“It decide to go in; I don’t know what happened,” Watson said. “When I made that putt, I figured if Jay didn’t birdie 16, which he didn’t, I’d be kind of in the catbird’s seat if I just played par golf in.”

But Haas birdied 17, converting a 12-foot putt for his 20th birdie of the tournament, to force a tie atop the leaderboard.

A gusty breeze and soft, wet conditions made difficult putting on the sloping greens at the Five Farms East course even more challenging. Watson wasn’t able to replicate the 64 he shot Saturday to move into the lead after three rounds.

Haas believed the conditions favored Watson.

“What I thought when I got out here today was what a nice day this was for Tom Watson,” Haas said. “Cool and breezy, a tough golf course and coming off a 64 himself.”

Instead, Watson allowed Haas to stay close through the front nine and Haas’ occasional putting problems – he missed four putts from short distance in the final round – weren’t a dealbreaker.

“Your lead’s not safe unless you do something and I didn’t do that something,” Watson said.

Watson began the day at 12 under with a four-stroke lead over Roberts, Cook and Wiebe. The leader bogeyed the first hole, and Haas climbed within two strokes with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, before Watson birdied the fifth hole to lead by three strokes.

“With a four-shot lead, the best thing to do is just make it five and six and seven,” Watson said. “But I got off to a bogey start and kind of struggled that hole. … It got me kind of off on the wrong foot.”

But Watson closed the front nine by bogeying Nos. 7 and 9 and Haas’ birdie on the 10th hole pulled him within a stroke at 10 under.

Haas missed opportunities to pull into a share of the lead, pushing a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 12 past the cup and failing to covert a long putt on No. 13. But he knocked in a 5-footer for a birdie on No. 14 to pull even with Watson.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.