Perry birdies final hole to win 3M Championship

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2014, 9:38 pm

BLAINE, Minn. - Kenny Perry got the ''warmup'' he was looking for heading into the PGA Championship in his home state of Kentucky.

Capped by a 15-foot putt, Perry scrambled for a birdie on the 18th hole Sunday to beat hard-charging Bernhard Langer by a stroke in the Champions Tour's 3M Championship.

The 53-year-old Perry closed with a 7-under 65 for his second victory of the year and seventh overall on the 50-and-over tour. He finished at 23-under 193 at TPC Twin Cities.

''This was a warmup week for me to work on my short game,'' Perry said. ''From 100 yards and in this week I was better than I ever can remember in my career. I was hitting it around the pin and I was converting. I was making putts.''

But, to be successful at Valhalla, Perry knows he'll have to drive it exceptionally well and successfully hit his hybrids.

''It's going to be a great challenge,'' Perry said. ''Hopefully, I can carry some of this momentum over.''

Perry lost a playoff to Mark Brooks in the 1996 PGA at Valhalla, and helped the United States win the 2008 Ryder Cup at the course.

Langer, the Senior British Open winner last week by a tour-record 13 shots, shot 63. He overcame a four-shot deficit on the back nine and was tied with Perry going to the par-5 18th.

In the second-to-last group, Langer's second shot just cleared the water hazard and landed in the tall grass. He chipped on from an awkward stance and two-putted for par.

''My goal today was to shoot 8 under thinking 21 under should have a chance to win. I shot 9 under, outdid myself, and still didn't win,'' he said. ''What Kenny did this week is pretty exceptional.''

One group behind, Perry hit his second shot into the grandstand behind the green. After a drop, he pitched to about 15 feet and made the putt.

''It was an easy putt for me,'' he said. ''I don't always make them, but I feel like I should make them and I knocked it right in the middle.''

Jeff Maggert, Gene Sauers and Marco Dawson tied for third at 20 under. Maggert and Sauers shot 65, and Dawson had a 67.

It was the eighth straight year the tournament's winning score was at least 15 under, including three totals of better than 20 under. David Frost set the record at 25-under 191 in 2010. The scoring average of 69.609 is the lowest in the tournament's 22-year history.

Perry, who also won the Regions Tradition in May, birdied four of six holes around the turn for a four-shot lead over Langer, Maggert, Dawson and Sauers.

But Langer, who won the event in 2009 and 2012, birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine, including a lengthy putt on No. 14, to get within one.

''I was just trying to make birdies, just trying to go deeper and deeper,'' Langer said. ''I looked at the leaderboard somewhere around the eighth hole and saw that I was four behind or whatever and I figured I got to go really low here if I want to have any hope.''

A birdie putt at 17 moved Langer into a tie less than a minute before Perry, who hadn't been scoreboard watching on the back nine, made a par putt on No. 16.

''I was just cruising, thinking pars were good. I'm thinking if I par in it's over, and then I look up on 17 and we're tied,'' said Perry, who finished second, third and seventh in the event the past three years.

He began the day with a one-stroke lead over Dawson. While Perry birdied Nos. 7 and 8 and made par on the par-4 ninth, Dawson went par-par-bogey to give Perry a three-shot cushion. Dawson's tee shot on No. 9 found the weeds, forcing him to hit back into the fairway on his second shot.

Sixty-nine-year-old Hale Irwin bettered his age for the third straight day with a 68 to tie for ninth at 14 under. The last player to better his age three times in an event was Gary Player at the 2009 Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Wes Short Jr., who shot a 62 to miss the course record by a stroke, matched Irwin at 14 under.

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1

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Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 7:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.

“Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”

It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”

Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.

For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.

“It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”