Flanagan Surprise Winner of US Am

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 24, 2003, 4:00 pm
USGAOAKMONT, Pa. (AP) -- The unknown kid from Down Under turned the U.S. Amateur upside down.
 
Nick Flanagan became the latest out-of-nowhere winner in this summer of golfing surprises, wasting a four-hole lead Sunday before rallying to win the first playoff hole and upset Casey Wittenberg in the U.S. Amateur final.
 
Flanagan never trailed in the 37-hole match, but the top-ranked Wittenberg - an overwhelming favorite - won two of the final four holes during the afternoon round, including No. 18, to force the playoff.
 
But Wittenberg hit his 3-wood into the rough on the playoff hole, the 462-yard No. 10, and his second shot found the rough again behind the green. Flanagan hit an excellent drive, an approach to 25 feet, then calmly two-putted to win the championship even he never thought he could win.
 
British Open winner Ben Curtis and PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel have nothing on the 19-year-old Flanagan - the third youngest champion in the U.S. Amateur's 103-year history and, certainly, one of the most unexpected.
 
Flanagan was a total unknown in the United States until arriving in early June with two Australian buddies to play the amateur circuit, taking only one week off since. In a sport where many stars grow up knowing each other from a relatively young age, Wittenberg didn't even know who Flanagan was until seeing him on the practice tee Saturday.
 
Don't think there was some history working here? Flanagan is the first Australian to win the Amateur in 100 years - Walter Travis won in 1903 - and he did so in Oakmont Country Club's 100th year.
 
Just as Travis did, Flanagan won only a few years after picking a golf club for the first time. He never played until watching Woods win the 1997 Masters, an extremely short time to learn how to play so well.
 
The 18-year-old Wittenberg, by contrast, is a golfing prodigy, one nursed and molded by father Jim, a former PGA Tour pro, from a young age. Wittenberg has spent the last four years at the renowned Leadbetter Academy in Bradenton, Fla., grooming his game, and he plays with a poise and calm rarely seen in one so young.
 
Wittenberg seemed so unfazed by the big deficit, the Oklahoma State freshman didn't even unbutton the top button on the Cowboys-orange shirt he bought Saturday at the pro shop. No wonder - he rallied from deficits of four and three holes earlier in the tournament, and he has been the dominant golfer on the summertime circuit, winning the Terra Cotta, the Southern Amateur and the Porter Cup.
 
As his father said before the match, 'He knows what he's here for.'
 
What was surprising was the coal miner's kid from Australia was more at ease and in touch with the game than the protege who lives on a TPC course in Memphis and regularly plays with PGA Tour pros.
 
Flanagan withstood one of the best comebacks in tournament history to win. Only Tiger Woods pulled off comparable comebacks, rallying from five down to win in 1996 and four down in 1994 during his run of three consecutive championships.
 
Flanagan, who survived a playoff just to get into the 64-man match play field, seized the momentum by winning the first two holes during the morning round. Wittenberg came back to tie it at No. 6, but Flanagan won three straight holes from No. 15 through No. 17 and led by four holes at the break.
 
Flanagan kept a safe lead throughout the afternoon, at least until Wittenberg closed to within one hole when Flanagan missed a tough 8-footer for par on No. 15, a 499-yard par 4.
 
Flanagan, from Lake Macquarie in New South Wales about two hours from Sydney, could have closed it out on the 313-yard No. 17. But he missed a 10-footer for birdie and Wittenberg halved the hole by sinking his 2-footer for par.
 
Flanagan then bogeyed No. 18, 484-yard par 4, when he drove into the rough and needed two wedge shots to get onto the green.
 
Related Links
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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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    Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

    Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

    “Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

    One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

    “When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

    Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

    This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

    “It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”

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    Final-round tee times for the 147th Open Championship

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:26 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth begins his quest for a second consecutive claret jug and fourth major overall at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday at Carnoustie, playing alongside Xander Schauffele. This marks the first time Schauffele has ever held a 54-hole lead in his career.

    The Kevins – Kisner and Chappell – are in the penultimate group, 10 minutes earlier at 9:35 a.m. Kisner is tied with Spieth and Schauffele at 9 under par. Chappell is two shots back at 7 under.

    But it’s the next group that has people interested the most. Tiger Woods is paired with Francesco Molinari at 9:25 a.m. Woods, in search of his 15th major championship and first in 10 years, shot a third-round 66 to vault into a tie for sixth place, four shots behind the lead. He began the day six shots behind. Molinari has two wins and two second-place finishes in his last four events.

    Rory McIlroy was within striking distance of the lead but bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a sixth-place tie. He is paired with 2017 Open runner-up Matt Kuchar at 9:05 a.m.

    3:00AM ET: Beau Hossler

    3:10AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    3:20AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Si-Woo Kim

    3:30AM ET: Luke List, Keegan Bradley

    3:40AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    3:50AM ET: Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Dunne

    4:00AM ET: Cameron Davis, Brooks Koepka

    4:10AM ET: Brett Rumford, Kevin Na

    4:20AM ET: Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    4:30AM ET: Gavin Green, Ryan Fox

    4:45AM ET: Shubhankar Sharma, Gary Woodland

    4:55AM ET: Sam Locke (a), Masahiro Kawamura

    5:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Rhys Enoch

    5:15AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Jason Day

    5:25AM ET: Adam Hadwin, Yuta Ikeda

    5:35AM ET: Sung Kang, Brandon Stone

    5:45AM ET: Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink

    5:55AM ET: Lee Westwood, Julian Suri

    6:05AM ET: Tom Lewis, Marc Leishman

    6:15AM ET: Ross Fisher, Jason Dufner

    6:30AM ET: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed

    6:40AM ET: Phil Mickelson, Eddie Pepperell

    6:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Bernhard Langer

    7:00AM ET: Michael Kim, Patrick Cantlay

    7:10AM ET: Shaun Norris, Lucas Herbert

    7:20AM ET: Sean Crocker, Louis Oosthuizen

    7:30AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Danny Willett

    7:50AM ET: Haotong Li, Kyle Stanley

    8:00AM ET: Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An

    8:15AM ET: Erik Van Rooyen, Yusaku Miyazato

    8:25AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    8:35AM ET: Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman

    8:45AM ET: Justin Rose, Austin Cook

    8:55AM ET: Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson

    9:05AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy

    9:15AM ET: Webb Simpson, Alex Noren

    9:25AM ET: Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods

    9:35AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell

    9:45AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele