Notes Leonard Lifts Heavy Burden

By Associated PressNovember 21, 2003, 5:00 pm
GEORGE, South Africa -- Justin Leonard won the first Presidents Cup match he ever played in 1996. He had to wait seven years for the next one.
His record in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup was 1-9-5 coming into these matches, and it began to weigh on him when he and Jim Furyk went from a 2-up lead to a shocking loss over the final three holes in the first round at Fancourt.
He finally got his redemption Friday.
'That was a huge burden,'' Leonard said after teaming with Chris DiMarco in the morning (better-ball) and Furyk in the afternoon (alternate shot) for two victories.
'I was pretty down yesterday,'' he said. 'To finally win a match, that freed me up for the afternoon.''
It wasn't easy.
Leonard and DiMarco were 3-up with four holes to play when Vijay Singh and Nick Price won two of the next three, setting the stage for more disappointment on the 18th.
DiMarco came through with a second shot of 60 feet on the par-5 closing hole, and a lag to within inches for birdie. When Singh failed to chip in for eagle, Leonard had his victory.
The afternoon match was far less stressful.
Leonard and Furyk won three straight holes on the front nine and picked up another point without having to play the final four holes against Singh and Mike Weir.
Phil Mickelson, coming off his worst season since he started playing a full schedule on the PGA Tour, has been making his share of putts this week, but continues to his struggle off the tee.
U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus still sent him out in the alternate-shot match Friday which is best-suited for guys who keep the ball in play.
Nicklaus was asked he had seen much of Mickelson this week.
'He's been hard to find,'' Nicklaus said as the room erupted in laughter.
'He'll do fine,'' Nicklaus added. 'He's so anxious to play, and play well. I've had Phil on teams before, and I've never seen him so enthused to want to play well.''
Mickelson certainly tried, holing a key birdie putt on the 17th to stay in the match. He and Chris DiMarco lost, 1-up, when Ernie Els holed an eagle chip off the green.
Mickelson is the only American who has not won a point.
The International team has five Australians, all of whom will be playing in the alternate-shot matches Saturday.
That means they will miss the Australia-England final in the World Cup Rugby, which starts at 11 AM locally, about 30 minutes before the matches begin.
South Africa was eliminated two weeks ago, but has an intense rivalry with Australia.
'With rugby and golf, I'm hugging them one day and booting them the next,'' captain Gary Player said.
Adam Scott jokingly said his future was on the line Saturday.
'They had better win or I'll not be going back to Europe,'' the young Aussie said. 'I can barely show my face in London. I'll be in the States.''
The two oldest players for the United States - 49-year-old Jay Haas and 47-year-old Fred Funk - have each sat out a session.
Nicklaus said Haas asked for the break Friday afternoon, the only day of two matches.
Also asking for a break was Davis Love III, who suffered a migraine earlier in the week and also has nagging back and neck problems.
'I told Jack that I'd prefer to sit out, but not if he wanted to keep me out there. I mean, it's only really half of a match,'' Love said, referring to the alternate-shot format.
Nicklaus decided to sit him. Love also sat out during one of the four team sessions at the Ryder Cup last year.
'As you know, Davis had a little probem with his neck earlier in the week and he just said, 'If you can rest me, I'd like to. If not, I'll play,''' Nicklaus said. 'And we just felt Davis wanted to rest, so let him rest.''
DIVOTS: Five International team members have played all three matches with different partners - Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, Retief Goosen, Tim Clark and K.J. Choi. No American has had more than two partners so far, while Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III are the only team to play three matches together. ... Ernie Els said he had intended to invite the Americans to his beach house for a barbecue Friday night, but that his house was too small. ``Maybe Sunday,'' he said with a grin. ... Nicklaus and International captain Gary Player skipped their press conference Friday night so they wouldn't be late to the gala dinner, attended by former President Bush and South African president Thabo Mbeki.
Related Links:
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    Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech

    By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 12:50 am

    INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas matched the Brickyard Crossing record with a 10-under 62 on Thursday in the Indy Women in Tech Championship, making birdie on the final three holes for a two-stroke lead over fast-starting Angel Yin and Japan's Nasa Hataoka.

    Yin birdied eight of the first nine holes in her morning round for a front-nine 8-under 28 - one short of the LPGA Tour's nine-hole record. It matched the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.

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    Salas eagled the par-5 second in the afternoon and added three straight birdies on Nos. 4-6. She birdied Nos. 12 and 14 before reeling off three more in a row to close, waiting out a late 77-minute suspension for an approaching storm.

    Salas matched the course record set by Mike McCullough in the PGA Tour Champions' 1999 Comfort Classic.

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    Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

    By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

    GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

    Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

    The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

    Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

    Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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    Peterson confirms plans to play Finals

    By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

    After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Tour Finals.

    Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.

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    But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

    Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

    The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.

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    Lyle honored with sand sculpture at Wyndham

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 9:00 pm

    Jarrod Lyle passed away last week at the age of 36 after losing his third battle with cancer.

    And after a PGA Championship filled with tributes to the Australian, the Wyndham Championship found its own way to keep his legacy alive at the North Carolina Tour stop.

    Next to the Wyndham Championship and PGA Tour logos carved into the sand on site at Sedgefield Country Club is Lyle's name and the "Leuk the Duck" mascot. The duck has become synonymous with Challenge, an organization that supports kids with cancer.

    Fellow Aussie Stuart Appleby posted the display on social media:

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    (Pic update) Brighter is better

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    Lyle was also remembered in a more traditional manner on the first tee, where his bag and trademark yellow bucket hat were prominently displayed.