Notes Funk falters coming down the stretch

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGACOLORADO SPRINGS, Co. ' Fred Funks strategy for Sunday was to make a charge on the front nine and play even on the back nine.
He did neither, and it cost him the U.S. Senior Open championship.
Funk entered the final round at The Broadmoors East Course two shots behind leader and eventual champion Eduardo Romero. Funk bogeyed No. 1, recovered to shoot par on the front nine and stay two behind heading to the 10th tee.
Things fell apart after that. He bogeyed No. 11, triple-bogeyed No. 13 and bogeyed 14 to go from 7-under to 2-under. He birdied 17 before finishing with a bogey.
He salvaged second place thanks to other players struggling, including John Cook, who started the day three shots behind but shot a 7-over 77 Sunday.
Funk said the triple bogey at the 13th put him out of contention. He put his drive into the left rough, and he hit his second shot less than 20 yards and stayed in the rough.
If I had just made a bogey, Im OK, he said. I was trying to force an issue a little bit too much with that lie. I hit a horrible shot and then tried something to get it up there far enough, and turned that into a triple, and the tournaments over.
Things didnt get much better after the 13th.
I thought maybe if I made that putt on 14 for par and maybe I can get a little momentum back, but I missed that, and the doors closed at that point, he said.
Funk was in contention all weekend, and even held the lead after the second round. He was disappointed he couldnt stay on top, but he was happy overall with the tournament.
Everything was a positive, except for my back nine yesterday and today, he said. Thats just the way it goes.
NEAR MISSES: For the second straight weekend, Cook knew he let a major championship get away.
Last week, he lost a three-shot lead with eight holes to go and then lost to Bruce Vaughan in a playoff at the British Open at Troon, Scotland. On Sunday, he needed only to shoot par to stay near the top of the leaderboard, but he started out with a bogey at No. 1 and never recovered.
Those two missed chances bothered the 50-year-old Cook.
Could have been a great run for sure, he said. Im disappointed right now, and I havent closed the deal yet this year, and that upsets me more than anything. Ive been in position now five or six times to win and havent come away with it, and theres some things I need to do. Ill figure it out.
WORTH THE PAIN: R.W. Eaks may have done more damage to his aching knees by playing the final round, but he doesnt regret teeing it up Sunday in his hometown.
I probably really shouldnt have played, he said after shooting a 72 to finish 5 over and tied for 18th. I think I damaged my knees a little more.
Eaks said his knees began to bother him during the last nine holes of the third round. His knees hurt so badly Saturday night he considered pulling out of Sundays final round, but with a lot of relatives in attendance, and with a chance to move up the leaderboard, the Colorado Springs native decided to play.
I was considering last night not playing, but I decided because I had so much family here, wed give it a try, said Eaks, who needs replacement surgery on both knees. Hopefully I can recover in a couple of weeks. Plus its hometown; you gotta play.
Eaks had to withdraw from two events this year because he couldnt get out of his cart, which is allowed in Champions Tour events but not in the USGA-run Senior Open. He said he is seeing a doctor Monday morning about his knees, and he wants to keep playing this year.
Well, I need to probably make another $130,000 to get in the top 30 so Im exempt for next year, he said. Im probably going to do that. Id like to play every one of them, and Ill definitely play all the ones we can ride.
PASSING THE TORCH: 2007 Senior Open winner Brad Bryant shot a final round 71 to finish tied for 14th Sunday. The defending champion said he enjoyed his yearlong reign, and he complimented The Broadmoors East Course.
Its a tremendous place to have a Senior Open, Bryant said. This was a venue for our age group that was right on, just spot-on perfect. They could probably use a couple of new tees to stretch out a couple of holes that are a little too short.
I think that the course is a touch short for the (PGA TOUR), but for the Senior Tour, it was fantastic.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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 ''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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “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.”