Lonard defends as Allenby tries to win one for Mom

By Associated PressDecember 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
COOLUM, Australia ' Defending champion Peter Lonard didnt quite look the part Wednesday a day ahead of the start of the Australian PGA Championship, hanging around the front of the clubhouse barefoot, in a T-shirt and shorts.
 
Just on my way back from the gym ' honest, Lonard said. Im not playing the pro-am till the afternoon, so thought Id better get serious about a workout.
 
Lonard has won the Australian PGA title at Coolum three times in the last six years ' sharing the championship with Australian countryman Jarrod Moseley in 2002 when darkness ended a playoff, in 2004 and again last year ' all of them on the par-72 Hyatt Regency resort course on Queensland states Sunshine Coast.
 
Why he plays so well here is a mystery to him ' considering his lack of preparation.
 
Its just a pretty relaxed sort of atmosphere, Lonard said. Its a great place to stay and I usually have a few friends hanging around. I probably do everything wrong ' I barely go to the gym, I eat pizza, drink beer and dont really think much about golf. Maybe I should do that all year.
 
The 41-year-old Lonards only win on the PGA Tour came at the 2005 MCI Heritage, and his best finish this year was second at the Zurich Classic at New Orleans. Last year, a final-round 65 gave Lonard the win at Coolum, his ninth in Australia.
 
Lonard and a field that includes American John Daly, South African Tim Clark, Robert Allenby and last weeks Australian Masters champion Rod Pampling will find a vastly different course when play begins Thursday. Recent heavy rainfall has left the greens slower than usual, fairways with less run and the creeks full.
 
With the rain weve had and the washouts, on 4, 5, 7, 8, there is water right to the edge, Pampling said. You can be as aggressive as you like with this course, but be prepared to drop shots if you dont hit the fairways.
 
Allenby nearly joined his compatriot Adam Scott ' who withdrew Monday because of a surfing-related right knee injury ' on the sidelines this week. Allenby, who was in contention at the Masters at Huntingdale last week until a late double-bogey, considered staying at home with his ailing mother, Sylvia, who has stopped all treatment for lung and kidney cancer.
 
I didnt think I was ready, mentally and emotionally, to play this week, Allenby said Wednesday. But I spoke to my mom on Tuesday morning and she said: Id love you to win the tournament, but if you dont, dont worry about it.
 
Its a pretty tough time for all of us. Were a close family, Im the youngest of four and weve never had to go through this before. We know whats going to happen
 
Daly is making his first appearance at Coolum since 2002, when he threw his putter and ball into the pond on the 18th hole after his second round. He was later disqualified for not signing his scorecard.
 
The 42-year-old Daly missed the cut at last weeks Australian Masters but had a final-round 62 at the Hong Kong Open and tied for 17th the week before. Hes also playing next weeks Australian Open at Royal Sydney.
 
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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”