Sluman-Funk, Colbert-Thorpe win Legends of Golf

By Associated PressJune 9, 2014, 12:33 am

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk teamed to win the Champions Tour's Legends of Golf on Sunday, and Jim Colbert and Jim Thorpe topped the Legends Division for players 65 and older.

Sluman and Funk finished with a 6-under 48 at rainy Top of the Rock, the first par-3 course used in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, to beat Jay Haas and Peter Jacobsen by a stroke.

Sluman holed a 6-foot par putt for the victory on the final hole.

''For some reason I've always done well in these team-type events,'' Sluman said. ''I don't know what it is.''

The winners finished at 20-under 159. They opened with an 11-under 61 in better-ball play on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course and had a 50 on Saturday on the par-3 layout.

Sluman also won last year, teaming with Brad Faxon in Savannah, Georgia.

''Maybe I've got a good eye for partners,'' Sluman said.

Funk was quick to return the compliment.

''He's the common denominator,'' Funk said.



Sluman won for the sixth time on the Champions Tour, and Funk for the ninth.

Haas and Jacobsen, the second-round leaders, shot 50. Haas missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole of the day.

''I'm disappointed because I hit a beautiful iron in there and it was as easy a putt as you can get, straight up the hill, and I just pulled it a little bit,'' Haas said. ''We're mixed emotions right now. We're very happy to have finished second, but we had an opportunity. You just don't get that many, so it's nice to take advantage of them when you do.

Sluman and Funk had a 1-under 26 in the opening alternate-shot nine and closed with a 5-under 22 in the best-ball nine.

''It seemed like they kept hitting it to three feet. The first five or six holes they hit it to three feet and made birdie,'' Jacobsen said. ''You're not going to get more clutch than those two guys.''

Craig Stadler and Kirk Triplett closed with a 52 to finish third at 14 under, the Kentucky duo of Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry was 13 under after a 49.

In the nine-hole Legends finale, Colbert and Thorpe had a 4-under 23 in better-ball play for a three-stroke victory over Bruce Fleisher and Larry Nelson. Colbert and Thorpe finished at 11 under for 45 holes.

Colbert won the then-Demaret Division for players 70 and older, teaming with Bob Murphy.

''I couldn't ask for a better partner because I know he's a fighter,'' Thorpe said. ''This guy's got so much fire, so much fight in him.''

Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were fifth at 5 under.

''I think Gary played reasonably well. I didn't,'' Nicklaus said. ''I got worn out yesterday and I didn't play very well and I played very poorly today. I don't think we played particularly well in total. We felt like we could both play better than that, but we just didn't.''

Sluman and Funk each earned $230,000, and Colbert and Thorpe got $60,000 each.

''The tournament was a lot of fun,'' Funk said. ''It was just a real treat. It turned out to be really fun and a real treat to play this par 3. And it is a little nerve-wracking, like yesterday, with the alternate shot because it just seems to put more pressure on you.''

 

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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.