Wadkins a Major Champion

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Ford Senior Players ChampionshipDEARBORN, Mich. -- Despite a double-bogey on the 72nd hole, Bobby Wadkins held on Sunday to win his first major championship crown at the Senior Players Championship. Wadkins' back nine included the double-bogey, a bogey, a par and six birdies -- including five in a row.
Wadkins ended the championship at 14-under-par 274, one stroke clear of Jim Thorpe. Wadkins won for the second time this year and for the third time in his Champions Tour career.
Bobby Wadkins
Bobby Wadkins, wearing his Miami Dolphins shirt, strikes a winning pose Sunday.
'I've never been in that situation before where you try to make a six to win the golf tournament and it's tougher than trying to make a par,' said Wadkins, who earned $375,000 for the win. 'I was lucky to make six. It might not have been a pretty win, but it's a win. I'm very pleased, it's great to get it over with.'
Thorpe could have forced a playoff, but a bogey on the last left him at minus-13 after a closing 3-under 69.
Third-round leader Loren Roberts faltered in the final round for the second straight Sunday. Roberts set a USGA record with his 8-under 62 in the third round of the U.S. Senior Open last week, but a final-round, 3-over 73 dropped him into a share of eighth.
This week, Roberts used rounds of 67-64 on Friday and Saturday to lead by two shots entering the final round at TPC of Michigan. His lead was as big five strokes on Sunday, but two double-bogeys and a bogey on the back nine dropped him into a share of third at 12-under-par 276.
Roberts finished alongside Jay Haas (68), 1998 winner Gil Morgan (69) and Des Smyth (70).
The 51-year-old Roberts drained back-to-back birdies from the third to move to 16 under, four strokes clear of Dana Quigley and Morgan. He parred his next six holes before disaster struck.
Roberts found a hazard off the tee at the 12th and that led to a double-bogey, which dropped him into a share of the lead with Thorpe. After a three-putt bogey from over the green at 12, Roberts found another hazard on 14. That led to another double-bogey, which dropped him four back of the leaders.
Thorpe opened with seven straight pars. He then ran off three consecutive birdies from the eighth to get to 13 under. A birdie on the par-5 13th got him to minus-14.
Wadkins tripped to a bogey on the first, but he came right back to birdie two. He birdied the fifth to get to minus-11 before five straight pars. From there, Wadkins turned it on with his putter.
The 54-year-old birdied the 11th, then drained 30-footer for birdie on 12. At the par-5 13th, Wadkins' birdie got him to minus-14 and a share of the lead with Thorpe and Roberts.
Wadkins poured in a birdie putt on 14 from nearly 35 feet to take the lead. He came up short of the par-3 15th, but ran in a lengthy birdie effort from the fringe to go two up on Thorpe.
With a two-stroke cushion, Wadkins was starting to feel some pressure as he went for his first major title. He missed the green at 16 before two-putting for bogey.
Wadkins, one ahead of Thorpe, pitched his third to 4 feet at the 17th and tapped that in for birdie and a two-stroke lead with one to go.
Thorpe, playing one group ahead of Wadkins, got too aggressive at the 18th. Thinking he needed birdie to possibly tie Wadkins, Thorpe ended with a three-putt bogey to fall three behind.
'I knew I needed to make birdie there (at the last) and the second shot played very long into the wind,' Thorpe stated. 'The back nine played very, very hard. If I had known what Bobby was going to do, maybe I'd have played it a little different. Hindsight is 20/20, and unfortunately I three-putted for bogey.'
Wadkins made things interesting, though, when he drove into a hazard at the last. After taking his drop, his third came up short in a greenside bunker. Wadkins then blasted his fourth over the green into the rough.
Needing to get up and down to avoid a playoff, Wadkins' bogey chip hit the hole, but rolled eight feet past. No worries though. Wadkins drained that putt for double-bogey, which was good enough for the one-shot win.
'I played so perfect on the back side until the last hole. I knew I had a two-shot lead,' Wadkins admitted. 'I hadn't hit a bad tee shot all day. I was just trying to hit a hard drive down the left side of the fairway and not get blocked out by the tree.'
Smyth had five birdies and two bogeys over his first 16 holes to get to 13 under. He also had a chance to get to 14 under with a birdie at the last, but he knocked his approach over the green, then two-putted for a closing bogey to end in a share of third.
Brad Bryant, a two-time winner this season, closed with an even-par 72 to join Tom Purtzer in seventh place at 11-under-par 277. Tom Kite and Fuzzy Zoeller were one stroke further back at minus-10.
Fred Funk, playing in his second straight Champions Tour event, shared 11th place with Morris Hatalsky, 2004 champion Mark James, Dan Pohl, Don Pooley and Dana Quigley at 9-under-par 279.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ford Senior Players Championship
  • Full Coverage - Ford Senior Players Championship
  • Getty Images

    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

    Getty Images

    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

    Getty Images

    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

    Getty Images

    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”