Pavin a Winner Once Again

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2006, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Corey Pavin found the winning formula again: precise putting, a lucky bounce and his old caddie to show him the way.
 
The 46-year-old Pavin won his first PGA Tour title in 10 years Sunday, closing with a 3-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over Madison native Jerry Kelly in the U.S. Bank Championship.
 
Corey Pavin
Corey Pavin hit 18 of 18 greens in regulation Sunday.
Pavin, whose last win came in the 1996 Colonial, earned his 15th tour victory by averaging just 26.5 putts per round and getting a timely eagle on the par-4 eighth. He finished with a 20-under 260 total.
 
Kelly also closed with a 67. Jeff Sluman (64) was 17 under, Frank Lickliter (69) and D.J. Trahan (69) followed at 15 under and Woody Austin (65), Joey Sindelar (67) and Billy Andrade (68) were 14 under.
 
Pavin, who also won the tournament 20 years ago, became the eighth two-time champion in Milwaukee and received $720,000. He reunited with longtime caddie Eric Schwarz earlier this month in Connecticut at the Buick Championship, and his once accurate putting stroke returned.
 
'In Hartford, his alignment was real bad,' Schwarz said. 'It took about two, three hours to get him straightened out.'
 
Did it ever.
 
While Kelly said he wanted to go head-to-head with the leader in the final round, Pavin seemed like an unlikely candidate, ranking 194th in driving distance and 175th in putting on tour.
 
But the 1995 U.S. Open winner scorched the short 6,759-yard Brown Deer Park Golf Course early with a PGA Tour-record 26 on the par-34 front nine Thursday with just 10 putts. He finished the first round with a 61 and shot a 64 in the second to reach 15 under and tie the tour scoring record for the first 36 holes at 125.
 
'Corey had success because he kept it in play,' Sluman said. 'I think after three rounds, he had 17 less putts than me. If you putt like that, you can't hit it bad enough not to have a great tournament.'
 
Kelly had the backing of the partisan crowd expecting the Wisconsinite who lost in a playoff here in 1996 to finally win the tournament he calls a 'major.'
 
The gallery and even those outside the course loudly urged Kelly on as he tried to pump them up by waving his arms for more noise during his final round, especially down the stretch. Walking up one fairway, a man riding a bicycle in the subdivision across the street began shouting for Kelly hysterically.
 
But Pavin relished the chance to be the outsider and spoil everyone's fun.
 
Kelly, who started play Sunday two shots behind Pavin, spoiled his own chances.
 
He did not make a bogey, but missed 13 birdie putts, the closest from 7 feet, and did not make a putt longer than 5 feet.
 
After an eagle attempt on No. 15, Kelly birdied to move to 18 under, two strokes behind Pavin. But he again missed birdie putts on Nos. 16, 17 and 18.
 
'My speed was just a little off on my putting, and I didn't adjust very well throughout the day,' Kelly said. 'I started out with a whole bunch of downhillers that I had to protect and when I got to the uphillers, I felt like I was going to hammer it by and I never did.'
 
Meanwhile, Pavin's biggest shot wasn't a putt at all.
 
It came on the par-4 eighth hole, when he opened a four-stroke lead over Kelly. Pavin hit a drive 270 yards to the center of the fairway, and his second shot, a 6-iron from 172 yards, bounced three times and rolled into the cup for an eagle.
 
'That was huge, I was playing real solidly and hitting a lot of greens, but I couldn't seem to get a putt to go in,' Pavin said. 'Then I hole a shot and that gave me a nice cushion.'
 
The first person to congratulate him? Kelly.
 
'I respect him and I really like him a lot, he's a good friend,' Kelly said. 'And I'm really mad at him when he did that. It's a great shot. You want to beat a guy at his best.'
 
It was all Kelly could do because of his lousy putting, and Pavin said he struggled to contain his emotions just before his last putt.
 
'I've never given up on myself,' Pavin said. 'I felt good that I could prove it to myself that I could win again.'
 
Divots:
Pavin became the third wire-to-wire winner in Milwaukee, joining Ed Sneed in 1974 and Ben Crane in 2005. Pavin also became the third wire-to-wire winner this season, joining Phil Mickelson (BellSouth Classic) and Stuart Appleby (Houston Open). ... Pavin's 1986 win was worth $72,000. ... Fans without cable missed the end of the tournament. CBS decided to return to regular programming and The Golf Channel picked up live coverage with the leaders at No. 11. A tour spokesman said CBS consulted the PGA Tour before the decision. Inclement weather forced the tee times to be moved back two hours.
 
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.