Trahan Wouldnt Miss Mississippi

By Brian HewittSeptember 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Viking ClassicD. J. Trahan was born in Atlanta, attended Clemson University and lives in South Carolina. So it was no surprise last year when Madison, Mississippi elevated his comfort zone to a level that enabled Trahan to capture his first PGA TOUR victory.
 
The event, now known as the Viking Classic and the second stop on the TOURs Fall Series, takes place at Annandale Golf Club. And Trahan cant wait to get back.
 
I like the golf course, he says. It feels like home here to me. The people are great. Its kind of a laid back week.
 
To be sure, Madison, located just 10 miles from the state capital of Jackson, is ranked as Mississippis safest city. It also owns a spot among the 10 best for families in the U.S.
 
In its own civic literature, Madison describes itself as, a once small farming community ... now your password to the best the world has to offer: Small town flavor nestled close to the amenities of a large metropolitan area.
 
Nestled inside the city limits is Annandale GC, where Trahan held off a furious Sunday rally last year by Joe Durant. Durant fired a final-round 66 that forced a playoff with Trahan, who closed with a 71.
 
But Trahan, who would become the TOURs first wire-to-wire leader to record his first win since Tim Herron won the Honda Classic in 1996, raised his game for the playoff.
 
Specifically, he birdied the par-5 18th three straight times, capped by a 5-footer that ended the tournament when Durant missed a 5-footer of his own.
 
Just pulled it a little bit, Durant said.
 
Trahan, still only 26 years old, was a little more forthcoming afterward. Nothing really changed, to be honest with you, in the playoff, he said. I was striking the ball the same. I made the putt on 17 and I made the putts in the playoff.
 
I dont feel like I was striking it any different or my mentality with the putter was any different. But fortunately for me those putts were going in, unlike the ones earlier in the day.
 
Don Trahan, D.J.s father and a noted golf teacher, was stranded because of weather, and wasnt in Mississippi to witness his sons breakthrough. Instead, he had to keep up with D.J.s progress that Sunday over the phone. Of course there were tears at the end, the elder Trahan said. This is what its all about. This is what his life has been all about since the day he started walking.
 
And along with the $540,000 first prize, Trahan was exempt on TOUR through 2008. It, so to speak, validates that a player is out on TOUR, Don Trahan said of the first win. There are a lot of guys who have gone years without sniffing losing their cards. But they havent won.
 
Another reason D.J. Trahan wants to get back to Mississippi is to rediscover his form of last year. Through the TOUR Championship he had played in 26 events with just two top-10s. He shot 66-68 on the weekend at the Shell Houston Open to grab a back door top-10 (T8) and he carded four rounds in the 60s to finish tied for seventh at Colonial.
 
A perusal of Trahans stats reveals a much-needed improvement in putting. The driving and ball-striking have been terrific. But he ranks 172nd in putting average. As of mid-September he was in the top 10 in both ball-striking and total driving.
 
Annandale plays to a relatively short (by PGA TOUR standards) 7,199 yards. The purse for the Viking Classic is $3.5 million.
 
The Fall Series picks up after leaving Mississippi at the Valero Texas Open and from there moves, in order, to the Frys.com Open, the Frys Electronics Open, the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro and the Childrens Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart.
 
The latter, still played at Walt Disney Resort in Florida, will mark the end of the official TOUR money list for 2007. The top 125 on that list will get their TOUR cards for 2008.
 
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    Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

    Bernhard Langer did not.

    The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

    "You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

    Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

    "I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

    Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

    As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

    "I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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    Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

    Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

    Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

    Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

    “To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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    Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

    Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

    Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.

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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”