Knox edges Kelly to win Travelers

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2016, 10:39 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. - Russell Knox nicknamed himself ''The Beast'' after playing two good rounds at the Travelers Championship.

He doubled down on that Sunday after sinking a 12-foot putt on the final hole to save par and beat hometown favorite Jerry Kelly by a stroke, hours after Jim Furyk shot the first 58 in PGA Tour history.

''I felt like the Incredible Hulk when it went in,'' Knox said. ''I could have ripped my shirt off.''

Knox closed with a 2-under 68 for a 14-under 266 total at TPC River Highlands. The 31-year-old Scot won for the second time on the tour, following his breakthrough victory in China in November in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

Kelly, the 49-year-old former University of Hartford player, finished with a 64.

Furyk tied for fifth at 11 under. He opened with rounds of 73, 66 and 72.

Knox opened with consecutive 67s and had a 64 on Saturday. He took the lead with birdies at 13 and 14. He bogeyed the par-3 16th, and missed a chance to seal it on the par-3 17th when his 20-foot birdie putt stopped an inch right of the hole.

The Scot hit his tee shot on the par-4 18th right and into the crowd, and his second shot into a green-side bunker below the hole. He pitched out short of the hole, setting up a putt that went straight into the hole. He didn't tear his shirt off, but did send his hat flying in celebration.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


''Everybody dreams of making a putt on the last hole to win a tournament,'' he said. ''I just kept telling myself, this is your chance to make a putt to have a great celebration and hear the roars. I'm glad it went in.''

Justin Thomas was almost an afterthought despite shooting a 62 and stringing together five straight birdies to close out the front nine. He finished with nine birdies on the day and at 12 under for the tournament, tied with Patrick Rodgers for third place. Rodgers shot a 68.

Furyk, already one of six PGA Tour players to shoot 59, took advantage of soft, clean greens during the morning after Saturday afternoon rains.

The 46-year-old American bounced in an eagle from 135 yards on his third hole, ran off seven straight birdies around the turn and picked up his final birdie on the 16th hole with a putt from just inside 24 feet.

He rolled in a short par putt on the final hole, thrust his arms in the air and waved his cap to salute thousands of fans who had rushed to the amphitheater around the 18th green to catch a stunning slice of history.

''No one else can say they've done that out here on the PGA Tour,'' he said. ''It's really special.

It was tougher for the leaders in the afternoon.

Daniel Berger, who shot a 62 on Saturday, began the day at 15 under with a three-stroke lead. But he struggled, making four consecutive bogeys to start his back nine. He finished with a 74 to tie with Furyk, Robert Garrigus and Tyrone Van Aswegen at 11 under.

Kelly began the day at 7 under. He shot 32 on the front nine, then went to 5 under for the day when his second shot on the 13th hole found the cup for an eagle from 113 yards. Headed to the PGA Tour Champions in November, he acknowledged the fans were chanting ''Jerry! Jerry!'' by pounding his heart with his fist as he walked up the 18th fairway.

''The love that they showed me this week, that's about the best of any year,'' he said about the fans. ''But, this is about the best I've played of any year too.''

Kelly won the last of his three PGA Tour titles in 2009.

Knox made back-to-back birdie putts inside 7 feet after great approach shots on 13 and 14. After a par on 15, he just missed the water by a few inches with his tee shot on 16. He bounced his next shot over the hole and had to settle for a bogey, before surviving the final two holes.

Irish Olympian Padraig Harrington shot a 75, finished at 1 under. He's 131st in the FedEx Cup standings, putting him in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. He won't have a chance to earn points next week in Rio.

Patrick Reed had the best tournament of the three members of the U.S. Olympic team, shooting a 66 on Sunday to finish at 9 under. Matt Kuchar finished with a 65 and was 8 under, and defending champion Bubba Watson followed at 7 under after a 68.

''It was one of those weeks where you could easily see playing great next week or the week after,'' Watson said, before getting on a plane for Rio de Janeiro. ''Next week might help me get even further in the right direction or it could happen next week.''

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.