Rejuvenated Monty Ready for AmEx

By Associated PressOctober 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- Colin Montgomerie would have preferred to take a week off and celebrate a European tour victory he calls the most important of his career.
But there's no time to stop now.
The American Express Championship starts Thursday, a $7.5 million tournament that Montgomerie didn't count on playing when his year began. It's a huge opportunity for him to make up ground on U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell on the European tour money list, another situation the Scot could not have fathomed.
And it's another chance to end his dubious record of never winning an official event in America.
``Never look back, always look forward and just got to keep going,'' Montgomerie said Wednesday. ``I look forward to competing here and trying to do well through the end of the year. I have just got to keep going.''
Suddenly, Montgomerie likes his chances against the best players assembled at this World Golf Championship, especially since renovated Harding Park -- a municipal gem on the western fringe of San Francisco -- is not overly long at 7,060 yards (par 70) and requires accuracy and position along the tree-lined fairways.
Confidence helps, too, and Monty's has rarely been this high.
He's coming off a dramatic victory last week in the Dunhill Links Championship, the European tour's version of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in that it is played over three links courses, with everyone playing St. Andrews twice. It was on the Old Course that Montgomerie made up a five-shot deficit, birdied the last hole and won by a stroke.
And it was his first victory in Europe in 19 months, which adds to the significance.
``I said the next win would be the most important of my career, and it is,'' Monty said after he won at St. Andrews.
He used to win with such regularity and he compiled a record seven straight Order of Merits. Then he stopped, and the downward spiral was unstoppable. In the midst of his woes on the golf course, Montgomerie went through a very public divorce that made his life miserable.
But in a year that was turned upside-down, he landed on his feet.
Montgomerie fell as low as No. 83 in the world ranking. His victory last week pushed him up to No. 16, with an opportunity to soar back into the top 10.
That allowed him to get into the American Express Championship, and he's now assured of playing in all the WGC events, The Players Championship and all four majors, where world ranking points are the highest.
The biggest surprise of all? He just might capture another Order of Merit.
Thanks primarily to two great performances at St. Andrews -- runner-up to Tiger Woods at the British Open and his victory last week -- Montgomerie trails Campbell by $140,325 on the money list with four tournaments left. Monty needs to finish at least seventh at Harding Park to surpass him, but all he wants is to be in range of the Kiwi when the season-ending Volvo Masters rolls around.
Of course, Campbell will have a say in that.
``It makes it very interesting for the next couple of weeks coming up, with this week and the Volvo Masters,'' Campbell said. ``There's three or four guys in the running.''
Along with holding off Woods to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, he captured the World Match Play Championship in England last month to win $1.8 million, the richest prize in golf among official tournaments.
Next on his agenda is a World Golf Championship, which usually are played in America and have been dominated by American tour players -- particularly those named Woods.
``I've won a major. I want to win more majors, and also I want to win a world event, which I haven't done yet,'' Campbell said. ``So that's my goal. To achieve that, I need to play to a very high standard, and all the past champions as you see in the records ... they've all been great champions. So, it would be nice to be a part of history.''
That history starts with Woods, who has won nine of the 18 WGC events he has played that count toward official money, including the NEC Invitational last month at Firestone. He already has won the American Express three times in three countries -- Spain, Ireland and the United States (north of Atlanta).
Whether he's a factor at Harding Park might depend on how sharp he is, especially off the tee. Woods believe this golf course is all about position, allowing him and other players to attack flags from the right angles.
Campbell doesn't view it as all that dire.
``He can play on a telephone book and still be good,'' he said of Woods. ``He can adjust his game to any golf course we play, whether it's long, short, straight or bent or whatever. He can do anything with a golf ball, so he's always favored coming into a golf tournament.''
Campbell and Montgomerie have their work cut out for them. Only two European tour members have won WGC events -- Darren Clarke at the '00 Match Play Championship and '03 NEC Invitational, and Ernie Els last year at the American Express Championship in Ireland.
Els is unable to defend his title while recovering from knee surgery, one less player for Campbell and Monty to worry about.
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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.

    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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    Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

    Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

    When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

    It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

    Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

    Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.