Sabbatini wins Honda by 1 shot

By Associated PressMarch 7, 2011, 8:55 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP)—Rory Sabbatini ’s shot barely beat thebuzzer.

Holding a two-stroke lead at the Honda Classic, the South African stepped tothe tee at the treacherous par-three 17th hole and lofted his drive to themiddle of the green, avoiding the lake that had been collecting balls all week.

Moments later a horn sounded, signaling a suspension of play because oflightning. As rain began falling harder, Sabbatini walked briskly to his balland happily marked it before finding refuge in a van.

Rory Sabbatini reacts as he mi…
AP - Mar 6, 1:20 pm EST

“I was pretty content to have it on the green at that time,” he said.

The tee shot left Sabbatini significantly closer to victory, and after a28-minute delay he completed his march to the title, shooting an even-par 70Sunday for a one-stroke win.

Y.E. Yang made it close, cutting a five-shot deficit to one in the span ofseven holes. But Sabbatini birdied No. 16, then came through with a clutch paron 17.

While spectators wondered if Sabbatini would fold, Yang said he was actuallythe shakier player down the stretch.

“Usually if you’re in front, if you’re running away from somebody, you tendto be a bit nervous,” Yang said through an interpreter. “But in Rory’s case,apart from No. 14, he seemed really calm. I commend him for being I guess soemotionally stable. I wasn’t.”

Sabbatini sealed the title with a 2-foot par putt on No. 18 for a 72-holetotal of 9-under 271. The resident of Fort Worth, Texas, earned his sixth PGATour victory and his first since the 2009 Byron Nelson Championship.

Yang, Honda’s 2009 winner, birdied the final hole for a closing 66 to finish8 under. Jerry Kelly , who played with Sabbatini and Yang in the last threesome,shot a 67 and took third at 7 under.

“Rory did what he had to do to hold us off,” Kelly said, “and we justdidn’t hit it good enough to make enough birdies.”

Lee Westwood shot a 70 for a 284 total and tied for 29th place, meaningMartin Kaymer will remain ranked No. 1. Westwood fell to No. 2 on Feb. 28 andneeded a top-three finish to regain the top spot Monday.

Sabbatini is known for his fiery personality, outspoken nature andoccasional digs at Tiger Woods , who skipped the event. But Sabbatini’s demeanorwas even-keel from time he took the lead to stay on the front nine Saturday.

“I’m a passionate golfer,” he said. “I love the game of golf, and I’vehad my moments. I’m not proud of everything I’ve done out here, but I’m tryingto learn. I’m trying to be a role model for my children, and I know as my wifehas said to me, I wouldn’t want my son doing some of the things that I’ve donein the past.”

The Sabbatinis have three children ranging in age from 7 years to 5 1/2 months.

Kelly said he and Sabbatini are alike in that they’re hard on themselveswhen things aren’t going well.

“Rory gets in his own way an awful lot and rubs some people the wrongway,” Kelly said. “But he usually has the best intentions for everybody elsearound him.”

Sabbatini started the final round up by five shots, and after No. 8 the leadremained the same. But Yang closed to within one stroke thanks to birdies onNos. 12 and 14 and two bogeys by Sabbatini.

Then came Nos. 15-17, the challenging water-laden stretch known as the BearTrap. But there would be no collapse by the leader.

A change in putters before the tournament gave Sabbatini’s game a lift, andthe new club came through again on No. 16. He sank a 16-foot birdie putt to goback up by two.

Sabbatini averaged 27 putts per rounds, which tied for second-best in thetournament.

“It’s actually quite bizarre—I’ve never quite had as much confidence in anew putter as I have in this one,” he said. “It was probably one of thesmartest decisions I’ve ever made in my golf game.”

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Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.



Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

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Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

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Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."