No plaque exists on either the 2nd or 17th fairways at Panmure Golf Club commemorating the time spent there by Ben Hoagn more than 50 years ago. And thats just the way this golf legend would want it'keeping the focus purely on golf at one of Scotlands finest yet lesser-known courses.
Panmure was already more than a century old when Hogan arrived in 1953 to prepare for the British Open just down the road at Carnoustie Golf Links. He practiced at the layout primarily for its solitude and privacy, and two weeks of work resulted in a four-stroke win that completed the Triple Crown in the only Open appearance of his career.
At Panmure, Hogan displayed his legendary work ethic and fastidious nature at more than the practice ground, according to a book celebrating the clubs 150th anniversary: Hogan was putting on the 17th green and asked the head greenkeeper, William Falconer, if the blades of the mower could be lowered to shave the green a little to make it more like the speed of the greens at Carnoustie. The reply was, Theres the mower Mr. Hogan!
To his credit, Hogan not only cut the green himself but later insisted on cleaning the mower before he handed it back to Mr. Falconer.
No winner has taken that practice route during the four Opens held since at nearby Carnoustie'the 9th green sits approximately 1,000 yards from Panmures distinctive clubhouse. Nor do many visitors'only an estimated 2,000 annually'stop by en route to the more famous links.
Its their loss really, for little has changed here since that summer of 1953: Just as Hogan found it, the fairways full of plush, tight turf still lead to challenging green complexes.
Located in Barry, 45 minutes north of St. Andrews on Scotlands east coast, Panmure dates to 1845, when the club leased land owned by Lord Panmure in nearby Monifieth and built a 10-hole course that evolved into todays 18-hole Monifieth Medal course. Fifty years later, an assortment of wealthy and influential Panmure members, many of whom had made their money from the Indian jute industry (a fiber used for manufacturing purposes), decided they wanted their own golf facility.
One option was to purchase Carnoustie, in financial woes at the time; another was to take over the nearby Barry Links. Surprisingly, they passed over the former, declaring the links as too far away. So they purchased Barry, renaming it Panmure.
There is speculation that Old Tom Morris, had a hand in the design of Panmure Golf Club, which opened for play in 1899. (He likely met club members while playing in the first professional tournament held at Carnoustie in 1867.)
What is certain is that Scottish course architect James Braid submitted a course improvement plan in 1922, the basics of which were implemented after the purchase of additional land 15 years later. More recently, Donald Steel renovated the 14th hole in 1988, turning a straightforward par 5 with a severe, three-tiered green into a gentle dogleg left with a more subtly sloped green perched on the edge of a tree plantation.
Not a brutally stern test like the longer Carnoustie, the 6,511-yard Panmure layout instead takes it toll via tight fairways accented by an almost constant wind from the west. On seven of the first nine holes, that natural element is in the golfers face. Fortunately, the six homeward holes play in the opposite direction. But no matter which way the wind blows, simply finding the fairway stands players in good stead here'gorse, rough and Lodge Pine trees, planted right after World War II, stand guard on many fairways.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has used Panmure as a qualifying course for the Open six times, first in 1931 and most recently in 2007. Historically, it has provided the toughest challenge of the areas qualifying sites. There is simply little room to open your shoulders and let rip, says club secretary and former captain Charles Philip. Play has to be more tactical to score well.
Panmure qualifiers ranging from Doug Sanders in 1970 (the year he lost a playoff to Jack Nicklaus at St. Andrews) to Luke Donald in 1999 have faced a collection of very good par 3s, starting at the 147-yard 5th, which has a punchbowl-style green.
The most famous hole is the 413-yard 6th, largely due to the praise'as well as a recommendation'Hogan bestowed upon it. He suggested a bunker short and right of the small, undulating green; it remains in place today. If Carnousties 6th is Hogans Alley, Panmures counterpart should be known as Hogans Hole.
Two blind shots are likely on the 360-yard 8th unless the tee shot flirts with the right edge of the fairway, from where a glimpse of the green is provided beyond two large hills. Equally imposing can be the 399-yard 12th, played into the prevailing wind and requiring a well-struck approach shot that carries the meandering Buddon Burn crossing in front of the green.
Panmures longest hole, Lucky Daddy, is the 535-yard 14th, altered two decades ago. The current tee area once contained a hill from the top of which four members surveyed the existing links more than a century ago before deciding to purchase it.
Bordering this hole and within sight of many others is the main London-to-Aberdeen train line. The clacking roar can add a distraction on the home stretch, which features the monstrous 234-yard 15th and a trio of narrow par 4s measuring 382, 401 and 460 yards.
While unaccompanied visitors are now welcome, Panmure was intensely private until the 1980s. Still, Panmure has played an integral role in several important milestones of the game. Members launched the first professional tournament, held at Carnoustie in 1867, and contributed funds for the creation of both the British Amateur and the Ryder Cup.
Panmures strict guest policy had prevented visitors from marveling at the remarkable clubhouse, which dates back to the early 1900s and was modeled after its counterpart at Indias Royal Calcutta Golf Club'numerous Panmure members were descendants of Royal Calcutta founders.
One regular guest once observed: At Augusta National their trademark is Amen Corner, sited between the 11th tee and the 13th green. Here at Panmure the clubs own Amen Corner is that ever-welcoming area between the 18th green and the 1st tee.
by Tom Mackin, LINKS Magazine
Panmure Golf Club is Carnousties gentle neighbor
Garcia among notables to miss FedExCup playoffs
For the first time in the 12-year history of the FedExCup, the PGA Tour's postseason will proceed without Sergio Garcia.
The former Masters champ has struggled mightily this summer, missing the cut in all four majors, and he entered the Wyndham Championship at No. 131 in the season-long points race with only the top 125 making the playoffs. Six years after winning at Sedgefield Country Club, Garcia again made a run up the leaderboard and was projected to reach No. 122 heading into the final round.
But on an afternoon where Brandt Snedeker shot 65 en route to victory and runner-up Webb Simpson carded a 62, Garcia shot an even-par 70 that included three back-nine bogeys to drop from a tie for eighth into a tie for 24th. As a result, he moved up only three spots to No. 128 in the final regular-season event and will not have a tee time next week at The Northern Trust.
He will remain fully exempt next year by virtue of the five-year exemption he earned with his Masters win last spring.
Garcia was one of 13 players who had made the playoffs every year since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007. Two other members of that select group also saw their streaks end this year, as former world No. 1 Luke Donald has missed most of the season with an injury while Bill Haas finished No. 152 after a T-45 finish at Wyndham.
Other notable players who failed to crack the top 125 include veterans Aaron Baddeley (No. 132), Shane Lowry (No. 140), David Lingmerth (No. 143) and Graeme McDowell (No. 144), all of whom saw multiple-year exemptions for victories in 2015 or 2016 expire this weekend in Greensboro.
Players who finish Nos. 126-200 in the season-long points will have an opportunity to retain their PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season at the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that kicks off next week in Ohio. Players who finished Nos. 126-150 will retain at least conditional PGA Tour status for next year regardless of their Finals performance.
Bryant wins Dick's Sporting Goods Open for second time
ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Bart Bryant made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win the Dick's Sporting Goods Open for the second time in six years.
With playing partner Michael Bradley facing a 7-foot birdie putt that he would make, the 55-year-old Bryant rolled in the left-to-right breaking putt for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke victory.
''It felt good. It really did,'' Bryant said. ''He hit a great shot in there. He went after the pin, which he had to do. ... I gave it a good run. But to make a putt like that to win a tournament, there's a little bit of luck involved and it was just kind of my day. ... I've had putts made on me on 18 to lose before, so it's nice to be on the other end of the stick this time.''
Bradley, the second-round leader, bogeyed the par-4 15th in a 68.
''It was fun. We had a good time,'' Bradley said. ''He shot 65-65 on the weekend, that's tough to beat. But I put a little pressure on, I hit a good shot into 18. He made a hell of a putt.''
Also the 2013 winner at En-Joie Golf Club, Bryant made six birdies in a nine-hole stretch from the third to the 11th and had six straight pars before the winning birdie putt on the par-4 18th.
''I played awfully well, I didn't hit a bad shot today,'' Bryant said. ''I played conservatively, a little bit conservative coming in, but smart. It got the job done. Very pleased with the way everything went.''
Bryant finished at 16-under 200. The three-time PGA Tour winner's only senior victories have come at En-Joie, the site of the PGA Tour's B.C. Open from 1972-2005.
The 52-year-old Bradley is winless on the 50-and-over tour after winning four times on the PGA Tour.
''I played solid, 65-68-68,'' Bradley said. ''I just got beat.''
Tom Gillis (67) and Marco Dawson (68) tied for third at 13 under, a stroke ahead of Paul Goydos (65), Kenny Perry (67) and Mark Calcavecchia (67).
Snedeker goes wire-to-wire for first win since 2016
Even after shooting a 59 in the opening round, Brandt Snedeker had to work to secure his ninth career victory at the Wyndham Championship.
Snedeker led at Sedgefield Country Club the entire week after becoming just the ninth player to break 60 on the PGA Tour, carrying a one-shot lead into the final round. But he was caught down the stretch, first by C.T. Pan and later by Webb Simpson, to leave the outcome very much undecided.
But Simpson ran out of holes, and Pan made a costly mistake by hitting his tee shot on No. 18 out of bounds while holding a share of the lead. It meant that Snedeker needed only bogey to earn his second Wyndham title and first Tour victory since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open, instead opting to sink a 20-foot birdie putt for a closing 65 and three-shot win.
"I guess I'm turning into Bubba Watson, wanting to cry every two seconds," Snedeker told reporters. "To do it here, to shoot 59 on Thursday, to be in the lead all week, to deal with that pressure every night, to be able to step up to the plate today and shoot 65 when I had to means the world to me."
Snedeker struggled with injury for much of last season, and this spring he missed the Masters for the first time since 2010 while toiling near the edge of the top-125 bubble in the points race. But the veteran turned things around with a T-6 finish in Memphis in June, added a T-3 finish last month at The Greenbrier and now has come full circle in the city where he earned his first career win at nearby Forest Oaks in 2007.
"I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was," Snedeker said. "I've still got a lot of great golf in me. I'm excited about the FedExCup playoffs. I've done this before, I've won that thing, and I can't wait to try to make a run to Atlanta in the playoffs because I'm playing great."
It was a bittersweet result for Pan, who had his wife on the bag this week and briefly appeared poised for a breakthrough victory. The former University of Washington standout made six birdies in a 12-hole stretch in the middle of his round to catch Snedeker, but his drive on No. 18 sailed well right. It led to a double bogey, and at 18 under he ended the week tied for second with Simpson.
The result was still Pan's best of his young PGA Tour career, having started the week at No. 108 in the points race despite not having a single top-10 finish this season.
"Just had a little noise in my head and it caused me to hit a bad shot," Pan said. "But overall I feel good about the whole round. I played great. Just one bad shot, but that's OK."
Taylor crashes playoffs with closing 63 at Wyndham
Nick Taylor picked a good time to shoot his best round of the season.
Taylor was the big mover in the standings during the final regular season event, shooting a final-round 63 at the Wyndham Championship to grab a share of eighth place. The result moved the Canadian from No. 129 to No. 121 in the season-long points race, ensuring a spot in The Northern Trust next week and fully-exempt status for the 2018-19 season.
"You try to block it all out when you're playing. I tried not to look at any leaderboards today, especially the second 18," Taylor told reporters. "When I got my PGA Tour card the first time I shot a 63 in the final round ironically of the Web.com Finals. So I tried to draw back on that, and it worked today."
Taylor earned his lone PGA Tour win at the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship, and he dug himself an early hole Sunday morning with a triple bogey on No. 14 while completing his rain-delayed third round. But he made four straight birdies on Nos. 2-5 in the final round, added an eagle on No. 15 and birdied the 72nd hole to retain his card with room to spare.
"It was a long day, obviously," Taylor said. "It was a lot of sleepless nights. Last night I didn't sleep that great."
Taylor was one of two players who moved inside the top-125 bubble in the final round of the regular season. Harris English started the week at No. 132, but a T-11 finish allowed him to eke in at No. 124 with no room to spare. English shot a final-round 68 that included a two-putt par from 60 feet on No. 18 when a bogey would have sent the veteran to Web.com Tour Finals.
"It's one of the more nerve-wracking feelings I've had in a long time," English said. "It's a way different feeling than trying to win a tournament. I'm glad it's over."
With Taylor and English moving into the top 125, two players saw their seasons come to an end after missing the cut at Sedgefield Country Club. Martin Piller fell from 124th to 126th and was the man edged out by English's closing par, while Tyrone Van Aswegen dropped two spots from No. 125 to No. 127.
Ireland's Seamus Power, who also missed the cut in Greensboro, finished the season at No. 125 with 377 points, six ahead of Piller.
All players who finished the season Nos. 126-200 on the points list will have a chance to earn one of 25 PGA Tour cards available at the four-event Finals, while Nos. 126-150 will retain conditional PGA Tour status for next season.