Not Quite Enough

By Doug FergusonNovember 13, 2011, 4:38 am

SYDNEY – The loudest cheers were for Tiger Woods. The Australian Open belonged to winner Greg Chalmers.

Chalmers won his national championship for the second time Sunday, closing with a 3-under 69 to hold off a late charge by Woods and a 50-foot birdie putt by John Senden that just missed forcing a playoff.

Woods, who finished third, two shots back, had his best chance of winning all year.

“Two holes on the back nine today, and I putted awful yesterday, or I would have been right there,” Woods said.

Two tee shots led to bogeys on the back nine, though he also made birdie on the second-toughest hole at The Lakes on No. 12, then chipped in from just off the green for eagle on the 14th. Woods missed a 12-foot eagle putt on the 17th that would have given him a share of the lead.

Behind him, Chalmers made his final birdie with a brilliant tee shot on the par-3 15th hole to tap-in range, then played mistake-free down the stretch and picked up a meaningful par on the par-3 18th with an up-and-down from the bunker.

Chalmers last won the Australian Open in 1998 at Royal Adelaide, a week before the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

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The matches return to Royal Melbourne next week, and Woods at least showed that he wasn’t a complete waste of a captain’s pick by Fred Couples. He not only was the low American, he looked good doing it.

It was his best result against a full field since Woods last won two years ago at the Australian Masters.

“I felt great,” Woods said. “It’s nice to finally be healthy again.”

Chalmers finished at 13-under 275.

Senden, the 54-hole leader, faltered early but gave himself a chance late with a good pitch across the 17th green for birdie. His long putt on the 18th went over a ridge and broke back toward the high side of the cup but missed by inches. He closed with a 72.

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy had a 7-under 65 to tie for fourth with Adam Scott (68), Nick Watney (72), Nick O’Hern (72) and Jason Day, who hit his opening tee shot in the water and had a 74.

“If I keep putting myself in these kinds of positions, it’s only a matter of time I learn the formula and break through and start to win,” said Day, who has only one PGA Tour win in his four years on the U.S. tour. “I’m very positive about where my game is right now.”

Six players from the top 10 at The Lakes will be at Royal Melbourne next week for the Presidents Cup.

Woods was within two shots of the lead when he made the turn, having gone mistake-free on the front nine to at least give himself a chance on the risk-reward holes along the back nine of The Lakes.

The task became tougher the way he played the 11th, which ultimately forced a bad decision two holes later.

Woods again hooked his tee shot on the par-5 11th, although with the wind at his back, it sailed over the portable toilet and into a sand dune where spectators had been walking all week. His ball was deep in a heel print, and he played an explosion shot sideways just to get out of that mess. He wound up missing a 7-foot par putt.

He made up for that with an 18-foot birdie on the 12th — one of only five birdies on that hole Sunday — and couldn’t figure out how to play the 315-yard 13th. He went with driver for the second straight day, and this time it cost him.

“I shouldn’t have gone for it,” Woods said. “It’s a tough tee shot for me because I’m caught right between clubs. Driver is too much and 3-wood is not enough. I tried to hit a big, slicing driver in there and should have just laid up.

“Unfortunately, I made the wrong decision and it cost me a shot.”

He was lucky it wasn’t more. The ball barely carried a pond and embedded into the muck about a foot short of the red hazard line. Instead of dropping on the other side of the water, Woods blasted behind the ball to gouge it forward, only it popped up and struck a tree, bouncing behind and nearly into another pond. His chip came up short, and he had to get up-and-down for bogey.

He still made it interesting by chipping in for eagle from just off the 14th green, then reaching the par-5 17th in two with a shot that caught the ridge and settled 12 feet away. With a chance to tie for the lead, Woods missed the putt, then settled for a two-putt par on the 18th hole from about 45 feet.

“Two bad tee shots on the back nine cost me,” Woods said.

Even so, there were more positives for him to take out of the week. Coming off another four-week break from competition, he played well enough to win except for not turning his bad round – a 75 on Saturday – into a mediocre round.

It was the first time all year that he had to wait after signing his card to see if his score would be enough. That lasted as long as it took Chalmers to save par from the bunker.

The only other time Woods has been featured on a leaderboard on Sunday this year was at the Masters, when he was tied for the lead at turn until going even par on the back nine and finishing four shots behind.

Woods has played only four tournaments since then because of injuries to his left leg.

“It’s been since Augusta, I had the lead at Augusta on Sunday, that’s the last time I’ve been in that spot,” Woods said. “It’s been a long time, unfortunately I haven’t played a lot of tournaments in between. But it was great to be out there, I had a chance. Unfortunately I didn’t post the number I wanted to post.”



Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel beginning Monday at 6PM. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Wednesday 9PM-2AM, Thursday 7:30PM-2AM, Friday 3PM-2AM and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

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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."

Mmm Visuals / Lancaster Country Club

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."