South African media hail Schwartzels win

By Associated PressApril 11, 2011, 5:47 pm

JOHANNESBURG – South African newspapers hailed Charl Schwartzel’s “masterclass” on Monday after he marked the 50th anniversary of Gary Player’s breakthrough first international win in the Masters with another victory for their country at Augusta National.

South African fans had to stay up late to watch it.

It was 12:48 a.m. in Schwartzel’s hometown of Johannesburg when he made the last of his four straight birdies to finish off a two-stroke victory over Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott. His 6-under 66 was the best final round by a winner in 22 years.

“Charl’s Masterclass,” said The Star, alongside a full page photo of a victorious Schwartzel waving to the galleries on the 18th green.

The Afrikaans-language Beeld called Schwartzel’s performance – which also included a chip-in for birdie on the first hole and an eagle on No. 3 – “Masterful.”

Online, The Citizen said “Schwartzel wins Masters with birdie blitz,” adding “No Masters champion had finished with such a run” following Schwartzel’s clutch of late birdies.

Earlier, South Africa’s Sunshine Tour quickly proclaimed “Schwartzel steamrollers opposition to win Masters” on its website and said Schwartzel “pulled off an extraordinary victory in one of the most thrilling Masters ever.”

Schwartzel won 50 years to the day after Player became the first non-American to wear the green jacket, and seven of the top 10 finishers were from outside the U.S.

“I am absolutely delighted for Charl and South Africa. Congratulations and very well done to him. That is how you finish like a champion!” Player wrote on Twitter.

Trevor Immelman, the 2008 champion, also congratulated Schwartzel on Twitter.

“Really happy for Charl!!!” Immelman wrote.

“Going to be nice to have some South African food at the Champions Dinner again next year,” he added, in reference to the tradition of the defending champion choosing the menu for the Masters champions’ dinner.

After waiting 25 years for a first international winner, foreigners have won three of the last four Masters titles. But it remains the only major never won by an Australian.

In Australia, it was Monday morning. From sun-drenched beaches to office workers glued to television sets in coffee shops, Australians felt a degree of collective pain when Scott and Day fell short.

Websites of major Australian newspapers were quick to report on yet another Masters opportunity lost.

“Schwartzel shatters Aussie Masters dream” reported national daily The Australian, while the Sydney Morning Herald said “Australia’s long history of heartache at Augusta National has continued.”

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney said “Australia has suffered its share of Masters heartbreak, but today will rank with one of the most agonizing.

“Just as their mutual hero Greg Norman did three times previously, Adam Scott and Jason Day have been relegated to joint second place by another freaky back-nine performance.”

Peter Thomson, who won five British Opens and remains Australia’s most prolific major champion, said he got up early in Melbourne to watch the telecast.

“I’m thrilled about it,” Thomson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “Our younger generation is showing what they can do, particularly Day.

“I just wish one of them would win the British Open, that’s the real world championship,” he added, tongue in cheek.

Swimmers at Sunrise Beach north of Brisbane, Australia had gathered at a surf lifesaving hut to watch the televised proceedings with the lifeguards, groaning their way back to the ocean when the South African won.

There was a special interest in this part of Australia – Scott grew up in Queensland state, living at times north and south of Brisbane. Day was born in Beaudesert, just southwest of the city.

Also vying for Australia’s first green jacket as Masters champion was 2006 U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy, who finished with 67 and was tied for fourth with Tiger Woods and England’s Luke Donald.

One interested observer Down Under was Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles for Australia on the tennis court. Her husband, Roger Cawley, got up at 4:30 a.m. to watch most of the final round, Goolagong Cawley about an hour later.

Their son, Morgan, went to school with Scott and the two played doubles tennis together.

“We were pulling for Adam but anytime a guy shoots four birdies in a row to finish the Masters, he deserves to win,” Goolagong Cawley said.

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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."

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)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron won the Senior Players Championship last year for his first senior major.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.