Notes Last-second trip worth it for Vaccaro

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2010, 4:34 am

2010 U.S. Senior OpenSAMMAMISH, Wash. – Walking up the final hole at Sahalee Country Club on Thursday in the U.S. Senior Open, John Vaccaro didn’t really care that he was 10-over par, 15 strokes behind the leader after 18 holes.

What mattered was he was inside the ropes soaking in the polite applause.

“It’s a lifetime achievement,” Vaccaro said. “If I had to rent a jet I would be here.”

His achievement was getting here. Two alternates had to pass up the spot before he got the call, Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in his office in Albany, N.Y. He had to get to Seattle the next morning for an 8:45 a.m. tee time.

“I’m 100 percent all the way,” Vaccaro said. “I got to make my best effort to get my butt out there. How many people get to play in this thing? It’s such an honor.”

He made it to the airport just in time to catch the last flight out, but the plane was delayed for two hours. He reached Chicago at 8:15 p.m., five minutes before his scheduled connection. Fortunately, that was delayed, too.

He arrived in Seattle at 1:30 a.m. and got to his hotel at 3 a.m., but never slept.

During the same time, his younger brother, Joe, was making his way from Sarasota, Fla., to Seattle to serve as his caddie.

“He called me and said, ‘You going?’ I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ It’s emotional, I tell you,” said Joe, eyes tearing up. “This is big for us. We’ve dreamed about this.”

John Vaccaro had to use his 30-year-old Ping irons stored in his garage because his regular clubs are noncompliant. He couldn’t remember the last time he played with the clubs.

He also had never played Sahalee before and had no practice on it. The only thing he could do “just to hit some balls on the range to see how far I could hit the old clubs—and which direction.”

“You’re coming to a USGA event and you’re saying, ‘I’m pulling an old set out of the garage.’ That’s the way it was,” Joe Vaccaro said.

He was paired with Bruce Vaughn, the first-round leader at 4-under 66.

John started fine, with a birdie on his second hole and was even par after five. Then a double-bogey led to his decline. He finished with an 80 and is highly unlikely to make the cut.

“I’m going to soak it all in (Friday),” John Vaccaro added. “I m going to enjoy the heck out of it. I don’t care if I shoot 90 or 70. I just going do my best, hit some good shots and have fun.”


JACKSON AGAIN: For the second year in a row, amateur Tim Jackson found himself in the hunt after day one of the U.S. Senior Open. Jackson fired a 2-under 68, leaving him two shots behind first-day leader Bruce Vaughn.

“My whole golf schedule this year was set around this one week,” Jackson said. “So I know it’s just another event for these guys but for me, this is a big deal for me.”

Jackson kept his ball out of trouble off the tee on the tree-lined course and put himself in good positions most of the day. Jackson only missed one fairway, the par-4 12th hole, when his drive leaked into the trees.

“We didn’t get a signal so I hit a provisional and luckily it was just 2 feet clear of one of those big trees and I could just kind of hit a 4-iron and bleed it down the fairway, kind of down there to get a good number for a wedge,” Jackson said.

He made the putt to save his par and keep him at 2 under.

“It’s really the first good putt I hit all day,” Jackson said. “My speed was sort of off. I was giving the greens a little more credit as far as the speed goes, but that was a big pick me up for sure.”

The Germantown, Tenn., player played in just two amateur events leading up to his second go at the Senior Open.

A year ago, with his son on the bag, Jackson was the surprise co-leader after opening with a 66 at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind. He followed it up with a 67 to take the outright lead into the weekend.

“Having some experience before, it doesn’t change anything,” Jackson said. “I’ll be nervous. I’ll be antsy and that’s the way it is.”


CHIP SHOTS: Tom Kite, who shot a 2-over 72, had a flash of brilliance over two holes. He made a 25-foot putt from off the green for par on No. 6, then holed out from 141 yards on the seventh for an eagle. … South Smith withdrew because of a back injury. He was 9 over after 10 holes. … Pat Diesu had the worst round of the day, a 21-over 91.

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Davies headlines field at Senior LPGA at French Lick

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 14, 2018, 10:40 pm

Laura Davies will be looking to win her second senior major championship this year when she tees it up in Monday’s start of the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Davies, who won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July, will join a field that includes fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, who was announced last week with Peggy Kirk Bell as the Hall’s newest members. Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy are also in the 54-hole event.

Trish Johnson is back to defend her title after winning the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship a year ago. Brandi Burton, Jane Geddes, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann are also in the field of 81 players who will compete for a $600,000 purse, with $90,000 going to the winner.

Golf Channel will televise all three rounds live from 4-6 p.m. ET on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 10:07 pm

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs

Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale.

''I just played very solid all day long,'' Langer said. ''Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.''

The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60.

''I don't have anything to prove, but I still have golf,'' Langer said. ''I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don't think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you're going to see me out here.''

Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers.

Full-field scores from the SAS Championship

''The 10 under was amazing,'' Langer said. ''I couldn't believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.''

The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012.

''It's always fun to go back to where you've won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you're somewhat comfortable and that's certainly the case here,'' Langer said. ''I've been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.''

Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65.

''Bernhard is just in his own world this week,'' Parel said.

Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71.

Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under.

The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.

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Pepperell captures British Masters, eyes Augusta

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 5:29 pm

WALTON HEATH, England -- Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title with a two-shot victory at the British Masters on Sunday and likely secured the even bigger prize of a place in next year's Masters at Augusta National.

The Englishman shot an even-par 72 and held off his playing partner, Sweden's Alexander Bjork (71), as the pair went to the 72nd hole at a wet and windy Walton Heath with Pepperell just a stroke in front.

Pepperell finished on 9-under 279.

Herbert Lucas (69) and Jordan Smith (73) were tied for third, another two shots behind Bjork.

English pair Sam Horsfield (69) and Tom Lewis (70) along with American Julian Suri (74) tied for fifth, one shot in front of tournament host Justin Rose (70).

The victory takes Pepperell into the world's top 35 and almost certainly secures a first appearance at Augusta in 2019. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year in April.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood (72) finished 2 under in a seven-way tie for ninth.

Full-field scores from the British Masters

A top-two finish on Sunday would have seen Rose reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No. 1 in September

Pepperell was ranked outside the top 500 as recently as May last year, but won the Qatar Masters in February and followed a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open with a tie for sixth in the British Open seven days later, carding a closing 67 at Carnoustie despite saying he had a hangover.

His three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke on Sunday when Bjork covered the front nine in 34 and Pepperell three-putted the ninth, the same hole where he enjoyed a spectacular hole-in-one on Thursday.

However, the 27-year-old Pepperell promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and a par save from off the green on the 14th looked to have sealed the win.

There was still time for some late drama, though, as Pepperell dropped shots on Nos. 15 and 16 to see his lead cut to a single shot, but Bjork bogeyed the 18th after driving into the heather and Pepperell saved par from a greenside bunker.

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Disappointed Sharma fades to T-10 at CIMB

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2018, 1:46 pm

For the second time this year, India's Shubankhar Sharma watched an opportunity for a breakthrough win turn into a learning experience.

Sharma burst onto the scene in March, taking a two-shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship only to fade to a tie for ninth. It was a similar story Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where Sharma started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead but struggled to an even-par 72 that dropped him into a tie for 10th.

"Disappointing, not really happy with the way I finished," Sharma told reporters.

Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos

The 22-year-old was 1 over for his first six holes, but he battled back with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10 to get within three shots of eventual winner Marc Leishman. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th found the water, leading to the first of three straight bogeys that ended any hopes of victory.

"That was probably one of the worst swings of the day," Sharma said. "That 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way, and I probably could have made more birdies after that."

Sharma remained optimistic this spring following his final-round fade in Mexico, and he retained a positive mindset despite a rough afternoon as he eyes upcoming starts at both the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

"Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA Tour, so that's a good way of looking at it," he said. "Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour, and I've given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now."