Notes Surprise in the Ryder Cup rankings

By Associated PressAugust 5, 2010, 1:31 am

AKRON, Ohio – Even avid golf fans might be surprised to see who is No. 4 in the U.S. Ryder Cup team rankings this week.

Tiger Woods? Nope. He’s ninth. Stewart Cink? He’s at No. 13.

Try Jeff Overton, hardly the name that comes to mind when you consider the best American players in 2010.

“It’s not like I’m Tiger Woods,” he said. “Maybe if we could ever win instead of finish second, maybe we’d have a little better chance of (being known).”

Overton is listed so high among U.S. golfers for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor because he’s played consistently well all year. He’s had three seconds and two thirds, barely missing out on his first career win several times.

On Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic, it took Stewart Appleby’s stirring 59 in the final round to beat him. The 27-year-old Indiana University graduate also was runner-up at the Zurich Classic and the Byron Nelson.

“This year I’ve been able to get inside the top three a lot, but I haven’t been able to get that win,” he said Wednesday, the day before the start of the Bridgestone Invitational. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep plugging along. Like (former British Open champion) Ian Baker-Finch said, ‘You keep knocking on the door enough times, eventually something is going to happen.”’

Overton’s scoring average is 69.81, third best on the PGA Tour. He is 12th on the money list with more than $2.4 million. He’s up to No. 47 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 186.

A native of Illinois, he is the son of a former baseball player and quarterback at Indiana State. He said he gets his competitive fire from his dad.

He also dates an opera singer.

Asked where they met, he laughed and said, “Bloomington, Ind., the No. 1 opera school in America.”

Overton said he knows about as much about opera as his girlfriend knows about golf.

For instance, his girlfriend’s mother came out to see him play once. He made a bogey and she said, “What did he do? He made a bogus?”

So far this year, he’s been anything but bogus when climbing those Ryder Cup charts.

“(Making the team) would be half the goal, and then the next half of the goal would be to figure out a way to go win the USA some points,” he said.


 

BY ANY OTHER NAME: Sometimes a golfer needs to not be so concerned about winning in order to win.

That was perhaps the case for Justin Rose for his first decade as a professional. In six full years (and parts of four or five others), he never won on American soil. Second-place finishes at the Texas Open in ’06, Bridgestone in ’07 and Memorial in ’08 not only whetted his appetite for winning, but also increased the questions about why he wasn’t winning.

Rose turned 30 last week but he’s been celebrating all year in the U.S.

Wins at the Memorial and AT&T National have pushed him up the charts in the world rankings. He was 70th to start the year but is now 19th. After years of promise mixed with disappointment, he is considered a threat to win every tournament.

“I said before I started winning that my game was in great shape,” he said on Wednesday. “I didn’t need to do anything different; I didn’t need to work on anything. I guess it was the patience factor of just letting it happen.”

Rose was born in South Africa and raised in England. He now has homes in London and Orlando, Fla.

Some athletes begin to press when they don’t meet their own or others’ expectations. The difference for Rose was letting go.

“The switch for me was … just letting it come out on the golf course, just letting my game sort of go to the first tee, not getting in my own way,” he said. “It’s a very simple mindset to talk about, much harder to do.”


 

59 FALLOUT: It’s difficult for the typical once-a-week golfer to even contemplate how someone shoots 59.

Stuart Appleby became the fifth player to shoot a 59 in a PGA Tour event when he won the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday by going 11-under over the last 18 holes.

Appleby, set to tee it off in Thursday’s opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational, turned the front side in 6 under. The thought immediately came to him that if he maintained that he might just win the tournament.

“Then I eagled 12 and I thought, ‘I’m on record pace,”’ he said. “I thought there’s nothing at the end of the round that’s going to stand out to be a real test if I’m playing any good. There’s no 500-yard, par-4s; there’s birdie opportunities there. The course was very benign.”

Still, he needed to continue to not just play well but to make birdies. As he traversed the back nine at the Old White, the word spread about what he had within his grasp. The pressure grew, because Appleby also knew.

“I thought, well, just got to keep hitting it close and see if I can make putts – and the putts just seemed to come to me,” he said.

Always, his primary incentive was catching, then staying ahead of Jeff Overton.

“I sort of had two motivating forces,” Appleby said. “One was to try and chase, and one was to also do something a bit unique.”


 

WHO’S NO. 1? Tiger Woods has been No. 1 in the world golf rankings for the past 270 weeks. But he could fall from that perch this weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.

If Woods wins, he stays No. 1. If second-ranked Phil Mickelson wins, he takes over the top spot. If third-ranked Lee Westwood wins, and Tiger finishes third or worse, he could be the world’s top player.

Mickelson or Westwood could also take over No. 1 if they were to finish high and Woods were well back in the pack.


 

DIVOTS: The top 50 players in the world rankings are scheduled to play in the Bridgestone which has a purse of $8.5 million and pays $1.4 million to the winner. … An older woman stood by the first tee on Wednesday wearing a pink T-shirt that said, “You Thrill Me, Phil.” … Spectators who spend $75 on tournament merchandise receive a free ticket to Sunday’s round. … Appleby met his wife, Ashley, at a nearby restaurant 10 years ago during the Bridgestone. They’ve been married eight years.

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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."