Am Tour: After slow start, Louisiana's White steadies his play to win Senior Sarazen

By Mike BaileySeptember 23, 2016, 4:29 am

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- In the Senior Sarazen Flight (12-15.9 handicap) of the Golf Channel Am Tour National Championships, Walter White's steady play all week earned him his first national title.

White, who is from Monroe, La., shot four rounds in the 80s (89-80-80-85-334) to win by two strokes over Joe Cannatti of Mooresville, N.C. The key to White's consistent play, however, wasn't playing safe, but letting it fly all week.

"I was watching TV years ago, and one of the ladies on the LPGA made this statement: 'If you're in first, play like you're in second. If you're in second, play like you're in first,'" recalled White. "To mean it means don't try to play easy if you're in first and protect your lead. Go ahead and play like you're in second. Because if you try to play safe, you're going to mess it up. I played today like I was in second."

Indeed, he went into the final round played on the Island Course at Innisbrook Rersort leading by two and won by two, despite making two triple bogeys. His first came on the ninth hole; his second on the par-5 15th when he had a lost ball. Neither bad hole deterred him.

"I just tried not to make it any worse," White said. "Take your medicine and try to make it up later."

White admitted he actually might have been a little nervous when he started the tournament. On his first nine holes of the tournament on the difficult Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, he shot 49. But then he settled down to shoot 40 on the back nine.

"After that I was relaxed, paired with good people and I just had a good time," White said.

He also might have had a sign on the back nine that things were about to improve. On the 11th hole, while helping a fellow competitor look for a ball, a duck nudged him.

"I gave him some peanut butter crackers to help him along the way, and I guess he paid me back by letting me birdie 11," White said.

A decade ago, White played in his first nationals, which was also at Innisbrook. To win it here was special, he said.

"I always like it down here," he said. "The atmosphere in Innisbrook is different than anywhere else. I like the resort; the people here are just great. I come here any chance I get."


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Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 6:00 am

Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.

Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).

Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.

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That was his only dropped shot of the day.

The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.

That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.

Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.

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'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 5:11 am

Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.

“Go in,” he immediately said.

“Please go in,” he added.

Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.

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Watch: Dufner makes six (!) fist pumps after birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 4:53 am

Jason Dufner makes Ben Stein seem like Jonathan Winters. Dufner often looks mighty miserable for someone who plays golf for a living.

But not on Friday at the CJ Cup!

Dufner made a 20-footer for birdie at the 16th hole and “celebrated” with one-two-three-(pause)-four-five-six fist pumps. There could have been more, but the camera cut away.

That was Dufner’s third birdie on the back nine, which offset a triple bogey at the par-3 seventh, en route to an even-par 72. Good times.

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Watch: Paul C-ace-y makes hole-in-one at CJ Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 2:35 am

Par-par-par-par-par-par. It was a boring second round over the first six holes for Paul Casey at the CJ Cup.

And then he aced the par-3 seventh.

Casey's tee shot from 176 tracked straight towards the hole and rolled in near the final revolution. That got him to 2 under par for the tournament. He was five off the lead, held by Chez Reavie, but bogeyed the ninth and 10th holes to give back those two strokes.

Hey, it's a no-cut event and a guaranteed paycheck. Drinks on Casey!