Kaymer rallies for HSBC win with 63

By Doug FergusonNovember 5, 2011, 11:53 pm

SHANGHAI — Martin Kaymer was five shots behind and going nowhere Sunday, making nothing but pars when he needed much more to give himself a chance in the HSBC Champions.

From a deep bunker in front of the seventh green, he holed the sand shot for a birdie, and suddenly the game felt easy.

Very easy.

That was the start of an amazing finish for Kaymer, who ran off nine birdies over the last 12 holes to blow past Fredrik Jacobson and a host of stars on his way to a 9-under 63 and a three-shot victory at Sheshan International.

“I didn’t miss a lot of golf shots,” Kaymer said.

It’s a wonder he didn’t birdie them all. He missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the ninth, and failed to birdie the par-5 14th and the 16th hole that plays about 288 yards and can be reached with a 3-wood.

No matter.

Kaymer wound up setting two World Golf Championship records that showed just how well the “Germanator” played on a cool, overcast day in Shanghai. It was the largest comeback (five shots) in the final round, and his 63 was the lowest final round by a winner since this series began in 1999.

“I just played really good golf, and I’m glad that it came together,” Kaymer said. “Because the last few weeks, I played good golf but it has not happened yet. And this week, it was nice that it happened here, the World Golf Championship event.”

Kaymer, the PGA champion at Whistling Straits last year, became the 10th player to have won a major and a WGC event.

His standard of golf was so high that it nearly shifted attention away from caddie Steve Williams and the racial comment he made about Tiger Woods earlier in the week at a caddies award party.

That still lingered, however. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European Tour chief executive George O’Grady issued a statement on behalf of the six major tours that there was “no place for any form of racism is ours or any other sport” and that Williams’ comment was “unacceptable in whatever context.”

Even so, the tours said Williams’ apology for his racial slur against Woods that they considered the matter closed and declined further comment.

Adam Scott, who has employed Williams since Woods fired the caddie, closed with a 73 and tied for 11th. Scott said he was comfortable with the tours’ statement, which matched his own feelings, and that he “absolutely” would keep Williams on the bag.

Kaymer, who finished at 20-under 268 and earned $1.2 million, moved to second on the European Tour money list and to No. 4 in the world ranking. He still has golf left this year, although it sure gave him a different outlook.

He opened his season with an eight-shot win over a strong field at Abu Dhabi, and five weeks later went to No. 1 in the world. But he struggled with his sudden popularity and the demands that came along with it, and Kaymer hasn’t looked the same.

That’s what made this win so important.

“It was an OK year,” he said. “But now it’s a good year.”

Jacobson was steady until a three-putt bogey from across the green on the par-5 eighth. But after Kaymer ran off four straight birdies on the back nine to catch him and pull ahead, Jacobson answered with a pair of birdies to stay with him.

The Swede just couldn’t hold on. He realized Kaymer had made a birdie on the 17th to go one ahead, and not only did Jacobson fail to match him, he pulled his tee shot into the left rough on the 17th and took bogey. That put him three shots behind when Kaymer made one last birdie on the 18th, and Jacobson at that point was content to lay up on the par-5 18th and keep second place to himself.

“I felt I was very much in it,” said Jacobson, who closed with a 71. “Obviously, 17 was a bit of a swing after I hit my tee shot. I knew if I was going to have a shot at it, I probably had to get up-and-down to have a realistic chance.”

Graeme McDowell finished with two birdies for a 67 to finish alone in third, quite a turnaround from last week in the Andalucia Masters when he failed to break 80 in the last two rounds at Valderrama.

Rory McIlroy made a short birdie on the par-5 18th that gave him a 69 and proved significant. It put him in a three-way tie for fourth, allowing him to move past Lee Westwood to No. 2 in the world.

Westwood, playing in the same group as McIlroy, shot 40 on the front nine and closed with a 74 to tie for 13th with Ian Poulter and Xin-Jun Zhang of China, who inspired the gallery by holing a pitch for eagle on the 16th hole to salvage a 72.

Kaymer has experience going low. Sunday in Shanghai reminded him of his first year as a pro when he played a mini-tour in Germany. After a par-bogey start, he played his last 16 holes in 14 under to shoot a 59.

Europe now occupies the first four positions in the world ranking, starting with Luke Donald at No. 1.

Even though he wasn’t at Sheshan International — his wife is expecting their second child — Donald came out a big winner.

PGA champion Keegan Bradley had a 72-72 weekend, keeping him from a third win this year that could have changed players’ minds about their vote for PGA Tour player of the year. And with McIlroy failing to win, it kept Donald with a $1.4 million lead in Europe as he tries to become the first player to win money titles on the PGA and European tours.

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, but he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise shrugged off any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

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Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”

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Spieth admits '16 Masters 'kind of haunted me'

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:38 pm

Two years ago, Jordan Spieth arrived at Colonial Country Club and promptly exorcised some demons.

He was only a month removed from blowing the 2016 Masters, turning a five-shot lead with nine holes to play into a shocking runner-up finish behind Danny Willett. Still with lingering questions buzzing about his ability to close, he finished with a back-nine 30 on Sunday, including birdies on Nos. 16-18, to seal his first win since his Augusta National debacle.

Returning this week to the Fort Worth Invitational, Spieth was asked about the highs and lows he's already experienced in his five-year pro career and candidly pointed to the 2016 Masters as a "low point" that had a lingering effect.

"Even though it was still a tremendous week and still was a really good year in 2016, that kind of haunted me and all the questioning and everything," Spieth told reporters. "I let it tear me down a little bit. I kind of lost a little bit of my own freedom, thoughts on who I am as a person and as a golfer."


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Spieth went on to win the Australian Open in the fall of 2016, and last year he added three more victories including a third major title at Royal Birkdale. Given more than two years to reflect - and after nearly nabbing a second green jacket last month - he admitted that the trials and tribulations of 2016 had a lasting impact on how he perceives the daily grind on Tour.

"I guess to sum it up, I've just tried to really be selfish in the way that I think and focus on being as happy as I possibly can playing the game I love. Not getting caught up in the noise, good or bad," Spieth said. "Because what I hear from the outside, the highs are too high from the outside and the lows are too low from the outside from my real experience of them. So trying to stay pretty neutral and just look at the big picture things, and try and wake up every single day loving what I do."

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Spieth offers Owen advice ahead of Web.com debut

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:22 pm

As country music sensation Jake Owen gets set to make his Web.com Tour debut, Jordan Spieth had a few pieces of advice for his former pro-am partner.

Owen played as a 1-handicap alongside Spieth at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and this week he is playing his own ball on a sponsor invite at the Nashville Open. Owen joked with a Web.com Tour reporter that Spieth "shined" him by not answering his text earlier in the week, but Spieth explained to reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the two have since connected.

"We texted a bit yesterday. I was just asking how things were going," Spieth said. "I kind of asked him the state of his game. He said he's been practicing a lot. He said the course is really hard. I mean, going into it with that mindset, maybe he'll kind of play more conservative."

Owen is in the field this week on the same type of unrestricted sponsor exemption that NBA superstar Steph Curry used at the Web.com's Ellie Mae Classic in August. As Owen gets set to make his debut against a field full of professionals, Spieth noted that it might be for the best that he's focused on a tournament a few hundred miles away instead of walking alongside the singer as he does each year on the Monterey Peninsula.

"Fortunately I'm not there with him, because whenever I'm his partner I'm telling him to hit driver everywhere, even though he's talented enough to play the golf course the way it needs to be played," Spieth said. "So I think he'll get some knowledge on the golf course and play it a little better than he plays Pebble Beach. He's certainly got the talent to be able to shoot a good round."