Norman looks to rebound at Senior British

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2008, 4:00 pm
Senior Open ChampionshipTROON, Scotland'Greg Norman used last weeks British Open as a warmup and almost made history. The warmup over, he is now setting his sights on the Senior British Open.
 
Leading the tournament at Royal Birkdale with nine holes to play, the 53-year-old Australian was on course to become the oldest winner of a major, but finished six shots behind Padraig Harrington in a tie for third.
 
Now, my expectations are good, Norman said Wednesday. I like the golf course. Remember my comment last week: I was using the British Open for a warmup to the British Senior Open'should have been the other way round.
 
Greg Norman
Greg Norman practices Wednesday on the eve of the Senior Open Championship. (Getty Images)
So now Ive warmed up, basically. OK, so now Ive got to step up and, hopefully, I can do that over the next four or five days.
 
For the first two rounds Thursday and Friday at Troon, Norman will play in the same group as Tom Watson, winner of five Opens and three of the past five Senior British Opens, and Sandy Lyle as he bids for his first seniors title.
 
Lyle also has an Open title, as well as the 1988 Masters, but he was lambasted by the media at Royal Birkdale last week when he walked off the course after completing half of the opening round at 11 over.
 
Because of his various business interests, plus playing tennis for fun with new wife Chris Evert, Norman picks and chooses his seniors events and this is just his fourth. He finished third at this tournament three years ago at Royal Aberdeen, and tied for sixth at this years Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill, Rochester.
 
Norman said he shouldnt have any problems coming back from Sundays letdown, where he led into the final round by two strokes yet knew the title was gone when he walked up to the 17th green at Birkdale.
 
As Norman and Harrington walked up the 18th to receive a standing ovation, he let the Irishman'about to win the title for the second year in a row'have the spotlight.
 
I had to respect Padraig and the situation, Norman said. You had to let him absorb the moment.
 
But the Australian who has had tough defeats in majors before'most notably in the 1996 Masters to Nick Faldo'still felt the pain of losing.
 
Yeah, it hurts. Deep down inside, it hurts, no question, he said. When youre a sportsman in the arena, no matter how old or how young you are, and you give yourself an opportunity and it doesnt eventuate, you do feel it.
 
Im a human being too and I love to play the game.
 
Norman said he has different priorities now compared with when he was the worlds top player in the days before Tiger Woods. But he still wants to do well on the golf course without the routine of daily practice.
 
Its totally different nowadays with your expectations then when you are the No. 1 and people expect you to perform, he said. Nowadays, my practice routine and my happiness and where I want to be in my life, its totally different for me.
 
So I can waltz in there like (I did) at Birkdale and I can be realistically honest with myself. Deep down inside, do you want to perform well. Always, you want to perform well.
 
Lyle will be happy if he can just complete the first two rounds.
 
The Scot on Wednesday explained his early exit from the Open last week, saying a sore and numb left hand forced him to retire after just 10 holes.
 
Last week was not a thing I like to do on a regular basis. But youll know from talking to my previous caddies Ive had sore hands and knuckles for a couple of years now. I was playing with a sort of numb knuckle in my left hand and I couldnt let it continue.
 
Apart from Watson and Lyle, Norman has familiar rivals who have won tournaments this year.
 
Seniors newcomers Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer have each won two events. But Jay Haas, who won his second Senior PGA title in three years, has pulled out after the death of his sister-in-law.
 
Watson also has a Champions Tour victory this season and could complete his third Open double. He has won both the Open and Seniors Open at Turnberry and Muirfield, and another of his five Open triumphs was at Troon in 1982.
 
It doesnt look like theyre taking much pity on us old people as far as the length of the golf course is concerned, Watson said of the 7,064-yard, par-71 links course that will have most of the same tee placements as for the Open.
 
Its going to be a very long and difficult golf course at Troon here.
 
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    Watch: Strong start, rough finish for Koepka

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 4:45 pm

    U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

    Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.


    And here is the capper at the 14th

    Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.


    After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.


    A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead. That, however, sparked a wild ride to the finish line as he also bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 9, and birdied the sixth. It totaled to a second-nine, 2-over 37 and an overall score of 2-under 68.

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    Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

    Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

    ''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on jarrodlylegolf.com. ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

    ''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

    Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

    Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

    He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

    Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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    Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

    SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

    The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

    The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

    Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.


    Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship


    Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

    McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

    David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

    Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”