Just How Much It Means Another BuyCom Surprise
But Sunday at the Gila River Golf Classic at Wild Horse Pass Resort, Branshaw cried tears of joy in his post-round victory speech with The Golf Channels Jerry Foltz. The fact that he cried isnt something new, however.
Earlier this year Chris Riley, who won the PGA Tours Reno-Tahoe Open started to shed a few tears only to halt himself and quip at Foltz, Im not going to do it. I saw what you did to Aaron Olberholser!
Riley was talking about the winners interview Olberholser did with Foltz in Canada at the Samsung Canadian PGA Championship. Olberholser didnt have a dry eye either after winning for the first time on the Buy.Com Tour circuit. Actually, he had to stop himself just short of a full-blown sob on a couple of occasions.
Hey, Im not criticizing Branshaw, or for that matter Olberholser or Riley either. After all, Nancy Lopez has been losing water at press conferences all year during her farewell tour. Actually, I like it. Its real. Its normal and it shows us all just how difficult the process is to get to the winners circle in the first place and how much it truly means once youve arrived.
Branshaw was as improbable a winner as weve seen on the Buy.Com Tour in years. Sure, Roland Thatcher was a surprise just days ago in Seaside, Calif., at 112th on the Buy.Com Tour money list, but consider that hed missed his PGA Tour card for 2002 by the smallest of margins last December at the Qualifying Tournament Finals.
Branshaw, on the other hand, was 137th on the money list with no previous win in any 72-hole tournament he can remember. Branshaw played the Canadian Tour with limited success, then tired the Buy.Com Tour only to beat himself up mentally each week without any true successs.
This week in Chandler, Ariz., was Branshaws coming out party. Top-10 rankings in the field in critical categories like greens in regulation and putting. He made just four bogeys all week and just enough birdies to eek out a share of the course record with a Friday 61. Give Branshaw his due. He did it while the focus was on four players (Aaron Olberholser, Patrick Moore, Jason Gore and Cliff Kresge) looking for a third win of the year what would send them to the PGA Tour. David Branshaw proved he belongs on
a tour that has really climbed in stature.
If you ask me, the tears that come between thank yous and questions from guys like Foltz are a true sign of emotion that we dont get enough of in sports. Golf is a darned tough game. Its not easy to win ' on any level. So go ahead and let it go. Cry all you want. Youve earned the right, David Branshaw, youve earned the right.
Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.
“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.
Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.
Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.
“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.
“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”
It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.
“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.
“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”
This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.
Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.
Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.
Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).
Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.
“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.
Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”
“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”
Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.
“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.
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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.
Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.
“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.
To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.
“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”
Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.
“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”
The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.
“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.