Johnson wins US Bank Perry sixth

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Richard S. Johnson knows there was one shot that gave him the confidence to win his first tournament on the PGA Tour.
It all started out with that first day. I made that hole-in-one and all of a sudden I felt like I could make some birdies. I havent had that feeling for a while, said Johnson, who had struggled the last few years on tour.
Johnson birdied three of his last four holes Sunday to shoot 6-under par 64 and win the U. S. Bank Championship by a stroke over Ken Duke. He finished 16-under par on the 6,759-yard Brown Deer Park Golf Course to win the $720,000 first prize.
Johnson, the sixth golfer from Sweden to win on tour and seventh first-time winner this season, had to go through qualifying school last fall to get his tour card back and he had only made the cut in three of ten events this season before coming here.
His ace linked him with Tiger Woods, who was the last player to make a hole-in-one there in his professional debut in 1996.
Johnson got the birdies when he needed them the most, first sinking a birdie putt of about 12 feet on the par-4 17th-hole to break away from a tie with Duke at 14-under. He then birdied the par-5 18th from less than 2 feet.
The birdie putt came after Johnson hit a great second shot to reach the green.
I hit a three wood just straight at the pin and it rolled up to 20 feet and I two-putted for birdie, he said.
That final birdie was vital to his victory because Duke, playing in his threesome, also birdied the final hole.
Duke, who shot a 5-under 65, birdied the hole even though his second shot landed in a greenside bunker. It was a disappointing finish because Duke has never won a tournament, but he felt good that he stayed with Johnson to the end.
I holed a couple of putts on him early, but he holed a couple back on me, Duke said. I had a great week. Shoot 5-under on Sunday and just get beat by one. You got to take your hat off to him.
Dean Wilson (65), Chad Campbell (65) and Chris Riley (66) tied for third at 13-under.
Kenny Perry closed brilliantly with a 64 to get to 12-under and finish tied for sixth. He had been criticized for skipping the British Open to play here after winning three of his last five tournaments including last weeks John Deere Classic.
Perry had chosen to play in Milwaukee because he felt he had the best chance of picking up points so he can make this years Ryder Cup team, which is played in his native Kentucky. He said his finish vindicated that decision.
I accomplished my goal, Perry said. I wanted to top 10 it. I told my people, I told my friends. I said, If I can just go there and have a good top 10, Ive accomplished my mission.
However, defending champion Joe Ogilive failed in his bid to become the first player to win back-to-back titles in the tournament, which began in 1968. The Bank Championship and the Players Championship, which began in 1974, have gone longer than any other tourneys without a repeat winner.
Johnson started the day at 10-under, a shot back of third-round leaders Gavin Coles and Nick Flanagan. Like fellow Australian Greg Norman at the British Open, they failed to follow up their third-round lead with a victory. Coles and Flanagan each shot even-par-70 to finish tied for 11th.
The Swedish golfer struggled early with bogeys on two of his first four holes but made the turn only one shot back of Troy Matteson, Duke and Campbell, who were all at 12-under.
His bad day turned around after a bad shot on the par-5 sixth hole. After hitting his tee shot in the rough, he miss-hit the ball and it hit a tree and stayed in the rough. His next shot, however, found the green and he made a 15-footer for birdie.
Then all of a sudden (I) just went, OK, I can do this. From there on I played unbelievable, he said.
He birdied the next hole, a par-3, and got two more to start the back nine and begin his run to victory.
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    Woods on firing shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

    His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

    “I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.

    “I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

    Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

    It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

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    Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

    Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

    But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    “It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

    Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

    “It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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    After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

    In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

    No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

    Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

    “I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

    Let it go.

    Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

    “I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

    It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

    During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

    Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

    “It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

    McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

    It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

    “I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

    The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

    Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

    The only thing left to do?

    Let it go.