Tales from Scotland

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2010, 11:44 pm

Emptying out the notebook from a wild 10-day excursion to Scotland for the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

  • Spent several days up north in the Highlands before arriving in St. Andrews. Spent the first night at Skibo Castle, which was a far cry from the St. Andrews University dorms that I slept in for the Open Championship. Madonna was married there 10 years ago. At Skibo, not the dorms. My room was larger than all of the apartments I lived in during college.
  • If you ever go to Skibo you will meet Alan Grant, or Alan the Grant as he’s often called. An entertaining and colorful dude.
  • Royal Dornoch is an absolute treat and is easily in my top-3 favorite golf courses. The other two courses on my list were played in great weather, not the 40 mph winds and rain that we encountered at Dornoch.
  • Castle Stuart is a year old and seems like it’s been there for over 100. It’s nicely woven into the terrain and the large fairways were helpful, especially since I developed a nasty snap hook during the trip.
  • Neat touch at Castle Stuart was the soda machine halfway up a ridiculously steep hill from the 12th green to the 13th tee. The starter gives you a token for the machine before you tee off. At the time it seems hokey. Three hours later when you need it, not so hokey.
  • Had dinner at Castle Stuart with a room full of Brits while the World Cup finale was on the telly. Interesting. During halftime I asked if they could switch to the U.S. Women’s Open so I could see Paula Creamer win her first major. They obliged and wanted to rip my head off at the same time.
  • Discovered Kummel, a sweet, colorless drink with a licorice taste that is extremely popular at many high-end clubs in Scotland. It packs a mean punch but certainly warms you up after finishing a chilly round of golf. It’s a must-try.
  • Played Crail, not a big fan. Way too quirky. Tough to get comfortable on a golf course when your three swing thoughts are don’t hit anyone, don’t get hit and I’m not exactly sure if I’m playing the right hole.
  • Driving on the other side of the road really isn’t that difficult. It makes Americans nervous but it shouldn’t. Think left, look right was the best tip I received. The roundabouts can be tricky but, once you get the hang of them, you realize that they’re much more efficient than stoplights and they make traffic flow better.
  • Never fall for the “omen” bet. You know, the one where you have to bet on the last player you see before heading into a betting parlor? I spotted a player-to-remain-nameless talking on his cell phone just before I walked into Ladbrokes and put a few pounds on him. That player shot 80 in the second round and was on the first flight out of town Friday night.
  • Went to have lunch in the Media Centre early in the week at the Open Championship and one option was a bowl of something with breading on top. I asked what it was and thought I heard “fresh pie.” Turns out, it was fish pie. Fish, good. Pie, good. Fish pie, not good.
  • I forgot to ask an important question while there. It’s no secret that Americans typically aren’t fond of Scottish food. Are Scots fond of American food?
  • There’s never a bad time to swing by the Dunvegan, the best pub and hotel in St. Andrews, which is 112 yards from the Old Course. Ran into everyone from Fluff Cowan to Todd Hamilton to Lucas Glover. Owners Jack and Sheena Willoughby are always an absolute joy to spend time with.
  • Hopped the fence late Saturday evening with several others to visit Old Tom Morris’ grave. I thought it was going to be a creepy experience but it turned out to be a hoot. Made sure not to step anywhere near the tombstone. Wanted to make sure I’m not forever cursed with the aforementioned snap hooks.
  • Louis Oosthuizen sucked the life out of the Open Championship on Sunday. Wish there was more drama. That said, Oosthuizen deserves all the praise, he played flawlessly, which is likely to get lost in the shuffle.
  • Speaking of Oosthuizen, a perk of being a writer is that I only have to know how to spell his name, don’t have to know how to pronounce it. Still, in this case, it’s probably a push with my on-air brethren who’ve had to say it ad nauseam the past week.
  • Would do it all again in a heartbeat.
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Davies headlines field at Senior LPGA at French Lick

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 14, 2018, 10:40 pm

Laura Davies will be looking to win her second senior major championship this year when she tees it up in Monday’s start of the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Davies, who won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July, will join a field that includes fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, who was announced last week with Peggy Kirk Bell as the Hall’s newest members. Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy are also in the 54-hole event.

Trish Johnson is back to defend her title after winning the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship a year ago. Brandi Burton, Jane Geddes, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann are also in the field of 81 players who will compete for a $600,000 purse, with $90,000 going to the winner.

Golf Channel will televise all three rounds live from 4-6 p.m. ET on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 10:07 pm

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs

Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale.

''I just played very solid all day long,'' Langer said. ''Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.''

The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60.

''I don't have anything to prove, but I still have golf,'' Langer said. ''I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don't think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you're going to see me out here.''

Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers.

Full-field scores from the SAS Championship

''The 10 under was amazing,'' Langer said. ''I couldn't believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.''

The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012.

''It's always fun to go back to where you've won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you're somewhat comfortable and that's certainly the case here,'' Langer said. ''I've been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.''

Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65.

''Bernhard is just in his own world this week,'' Parel said.

Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71.

Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under.

The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.

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Pepperell captures British Masters, eyes Augusta

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 5:29 pm

WALTON HEATH, England -- Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title with a two-shot victory at the British Masters on Sunday and likely secured the even bigger prize of a place in next year's Masters at Augusta National.

The Englishman shot an even-par 72 and held off his playing partner, Sweden's Alexander Bjork (71), as the pair went to the 72nd hole at a wet and windy Walton Heath with Pepperell just a stroke in front.

Pepperell finished on 9-under 279.

Herbert Lucas (69) and Jordan Smith (73) were tied for third, another two shots behind Bjork.

English pair Sam Horsfield (69) and Tom Lewis (70) along with American Julian Suri (74) tied for fifth, one shot in front of tournament host Justin Rose (70).

The victory takes Pepperell into the world's top 35 and almost certainly secures a first appearance at Augusta in 2019. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year in April.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood (72) finished 2 under in a seven-way tie for ninth.

Full-field scores from the British Masters

A top-two finish on Sunday would have seen Rose reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No. 1 in September

Pepperell was ranked outside the top 500 as recently as May last year, but won the Qatar Masters in February and followed a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open with a tie for sixth in the British Open seven days later, carding a closing 67 at Carnoustie despite saying he had a hangover.

His three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke on Sunday when Bjork covered the front nine in 34 and Pepperell three-putted the ninth, the same hole where he enjoyed a spectacular hole-in-one on Thursday.

However, the 27-year-old Pepperell promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and a par save from off the green on the 14th looked to have sealed the win.

There was still time for some late drama, though, as Pepperell dropped shots on Nos. 15 and 16 to see his lead cut to a single shot, but Bjork bogeyed the 18th after driving into the heather and Pepperell saved par from a greenside bunker.

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Disappointed Sharma fades to T-10 at CIMB

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2018, 1:46 pm

For the second time this year, India's Shubankhar Sharma watched an opportunity for a breakthrough win turn into a learning experience.

Sharma burst onto the scene in March, taking a two-shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship only to fade to a tie for ninth. It was a similar story Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where Sharma started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead but struggled to an even-par 72 that dropped him into a tie for 10th.

"Disappointing, not really happy with the way I finished," Sharma told reporters.

Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos

The 22-year-old was 1 over for his first six holes, but he battled back with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10 to get within three shots of eventual winner Marc Leishman. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th found the water, leading to the first of three straight bogeys that ended any hopes of victory.

"That was probably one of the worst swings of the day," Sharma said. "That 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way, and I probably could have made more birdies after that."

Sharma remained optimistic this spring following his final-round fade in Mexico, and he retained a positive mindset despite a rough afternoon as he eyes upcoming starts at both the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

"Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA Tour, so that's a good way of looking at it," he said. "Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour, and I've given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now."