Retief Goosen ends winless drought at Transitions

By Associated PressMarch 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
PALM HARBOR, Fla. ' The greens were so crusty, firm and scary fast that Retief Goosen felt as though he was back at Shinnecock Hills, where his putting carried him to victory in the U.S. Open.
 
Needing only two putts from 25 feet to win Sunday, he was thankful it didnt turn out like Southern Hills.
 
Goosen ran his putt 5 feet past the hole, steadied his nerves and curled in the par putt for a one-shot victory at the Transitions Championship, his first victory on the PGA Tour in nearly four years.
 
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen won for the second time at Innisbrook (2003). (Getty Images)
It was great to see that putt go in, Goosen said. The greens got scary. Down those last few holes, they were definitely getting like Shinnecock was. You just cannot hit them soft enough. It was really tough.
 
Goosen closed with 1-under 70 to avoid a playoff with Brett Quigley and Charles Howell III, an Augusta, Ga., native who can only return to the Masters with a victory.
 
Both had a birdie putt in the groups ahead of Goosen to catch him. Both ran it well past the hole and made it coming back.
 
Youre in the back of the tub trying to stop it short of the drain, Quigley said describing the putt they all had.
 
Equally famous in Goosens career was a three-putt bogey from 12 feet on the final hole at Southern Hills, which nearly cost him the 2001 U.S. Open until he won it the next day in an 18-hole playoff.
 
It was disappointing to hit it that far past. I didnt want to have another U.S. Open there, Goosen said. I felt good with my putting, and there wasnt too much indecision with the one coming back. It was nice to see it go in.
 
Howell was tied for the lead with four holes to play, but made two straight bogeys and shot a 69 for his best finish since he won at Riviera two years ago. He will have to win at Bay Hill or the Shell Houston Open to avoid missing the Masters for the first time since 2002.
 
If Retiefs 5-footer lipped out, I wouldnt have cried, Howell said. That golf tournament means more to me than anything.
 
Quigley, now 0-for-342 in his 13 years on the PGA Tour, was bogey-free on the back nine and shot 68 for his second runner-up finish in as many weeks.
 
Former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, trying to become the seventh player in his 50s to win on the PGA Tour, did not make a birdie until a long putt on the 17th hole, and he shot a 75 to tie for eighth.
 
Goosen won twice in the fall in South Africa and Asia, but this was his first PGA Tour victory since he won the now-defunct International in August 2005.
 
Eventually, you wonder if you can still do it, Goosen said.
 
He did it the way he usually does ' with a pure putter on the toughest greens.
 
One of the biggest came early in his round, when he holed a 15-foot par putt that kept him from sliding out of contention. He chipped in from behind the ninth green to get back in the mix, then took the outright lead with an 18-foot eagle putt at No. 11.
 
What won him the tournament, though, was a series of nervy par putts along the back nine that kept him in front, and a splendid chip from behind the 17th green to save par and give him a cushion going to the last hole.
 
When greens get so crusty and fast, I just tend to be able to control my stroke better on these quicker putts, Goosen said. I think if I putted on greens like this all year long, Ill enjoy it.
 
Goosen finished at 8-under 276 and won for the seventh time on the PGA Tour. It was his second victory at Innisbrook, having won in 2003 when it was played in the fall.
 
This looked more like June with greens that had patches of brown and developed a yellow sheen going into the weekend.
 
It definitely got like Shinnecock, he said. You couldnt hit them soft enough.
 
Lehman, who turned 50 two weeks ago, had a one-shot lead going into the final round as he tried to become the first ex-Ryder Cup captain since Tom Watson in 1998 to win on the PGA Tour.
 
He hit a poor chip on the second hole that led to bogey and cost him the lead. That led to a revolving door of challengers, with five players atop the leaderboard at various points during the final round.
 
But the back nine was more about hanging on than forging ahead.
 
And for so many, it was about falling apart.
 
Steve Stricker rallied from a four-shot deficit to tie for the lead, but he couldnt sustain it. After two solid par saves, he flew the green from a bunker on the par-3 17th for bogey, then missed the green from the middle of the 18th fairway and made another bogey. He closed with a 69 and tied for fourth.
 
It was the third time this year Stricker had the lead on the back nine and failed to win.
 
Charlie Wi chipped in twice on the front nine and made the turn with the outright lead, reaching 9 under until he was undone on the par 3s. He shot a 69 and tied for fourth with Stricker and Mathew Goggin (67).
 
You ride on such a thin line on a track like this, where you just know every bogey hurts more than most, because you know its so much harder to make up, Howell said.
 
Divots: Alvaro Quiros had eight drives over 300 yards in the final round, including one at 325 yards when he tried to clear the water on the 12th hole, and barely did. It didnt help on the card, though. He closed with a 72. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber walked the final round with Howell, a close friend. A sign hanging from the bleachers behind the 17th green said, We miss you JD. Get back soon. That would be John Daly, who was seen having a few beers and signing autographs next to the 17th green after missing the cut last year. He is serving a six-month suspension.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Transitions Championship
  • Full Coverage - Transitions Championship
  • Getty Images

    Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

    Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

    ''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

    Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

    Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

    Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

    ''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

    ''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

    Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

    ''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

    Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

    Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

    Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

    ''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

    In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

    Getty Images

    Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

    ''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

    McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

    Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

    ''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

    Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

    ''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

    Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


    McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

    ''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

    McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

    McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

    McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

    Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

    ''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

    Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

    ''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

    Getty Images

    Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

    The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

    Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

    Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

    Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

    This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

    Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

    Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

    By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

    Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

    Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

    “You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

    It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

    Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

     “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”