OHairs Ascent Lehman Keeping Tabs

By Mercer BaggsAugust 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' Sean OHair is a PGA Tour winner, a millionaire, and a man content with life who is preparing to play in his second career major championship.
 
It wasnt that way a year ago.
 
David Leadbetter and Sean O
Sean O'Hair chats with instructor David Leadbetter during Wednesday's practice round.
I know I was playing the Cleveland Tour last year this time, he said. Im not exactly sure where I was on the mini-tours obviously; traveling with my wife in our motor home from tournament to tournament, which is kind of funny when you think about it. So Ive come a long way in a year.
 
OHair, who made it through all three stages of Q-School in 2004, started his rookie season in the big leagues with one goal in mind: keeping his card.
 
But with a victory in the John Deere Classic, those goals have changed. He no longer has to worry about keeping his playing status and can focus on adding to his trophy collection.
 
Theres a lot of big tournaments coming up, and I just want to improve each week on whatever I need to improve on and try to learn as much as a can, said OHair, who tied for 15th in his major debut at the Open Championship.
 
I want to play well and obviously want to win, but right now I dont think Im quite seasoned enough to come into a tournament like this, or any kind of tournament, and say, you know, well, Im going to win this event.
 
Still, OHair, the winner of the 1998 PGA Junior Championship, thinks he can contend on the Lower Course at Baltusrol.
 
I think I definitely have the ability to play well this week, he said. Whenever Im playing well, I hit the ball fairly long and straight. Thats normally the strength of my game, the driver. And the driver is the key on this golf course.
 
UNDER HIS WATCHFUL EYE:
The Ryder Cup is still over a year away, but U.S. captain Tom Lehman is already keeping tabs on potential team members.
 
I definitely pay attention to how guys are performing, and not just the points list, Lehman said, but also to where guys are finishing also in the big events.
 
Its always been my opinion the best players seem to be able to elevate their games in the big tournaments ' majors and The Players Championship and the World Golf Championships.
 
Lehman has competed on three Ryder Cup teams, but hes getting a better understanding of the biennial event while serving a captaincy role.
 
Ive come to understand a little bit more what the Ryder Cup probably means to not only just the players, but the media and the fans, as well, he said.
 
I spent three weeks in Europe, and a typical conversation like at the British Open would be: Hey, nice birdie on 15. Whos going to win the Ryder Cup? Then from there it goes to: Well, I sure liked the results (in 2004); I hope we beat you again like at Oakland Hills.
 
It was hundreds, if not thousands of golf fans with that kind of enthusiasm.
 
Its the biggest event in golf (for Europeans) and theres no bigger thing to win than being a part of a winning Ryder Cup team,' he added. 'I think thats been hugely beneficial to me, understanding that mentality, because you need to have the same exact mentality, if not better, to beat them.
 
Lehman added that he will be watching this years Presidents Cup intently.
 
Ill definitely pay attention to who is playing with whom, he said. Ill be very interested to see who (U.S. captain) Jack (Nicklaus) pairs together.
 
I also think its very important for the U.S. team that they win. I think its actually a huge week for the U.S. players.
 
GIVE HIM THE MIC:
As defending champion, Vijay Singh was the man of the hour at Tuesday nights Champions Dinner.
 
Yeah, my second job I think is going to be emcee if anybody wants to have me. I think I did a great job, he said with a big laugh.
 
He later said he was just joking: I think I screwed up. I was OK. You know, I wouldnt take that as a job, no. No, thank you. Id do something else. I make people laugh, thats about all.
 
Singh said the dinner consisted of Thai food from his favorite restaurant in Atlanta, Ga., as well as a few bottles of wine. He gave his fellow PGA Championship winners Fenwick fishing rods and a one-year subscription to Bassmaster Magazine.
 
I thought Id give something that everybody would be able to do, and fishing, a lot of players love fishing, he said. The Fenwick shaft was actually tested by NASA, in the shuttle that just flew over two days ago so its the only one of a kind. I thought I would mention that.
 
Players wives received Thai silk robes.
 
PART OF THE GROUP:
David Toms, as the 2001 winner, was in attendance at the Champions Dinner. He said his favorite part wasnt the food or the gifts, but the company.
 
Listening to Jack (Nicklaus) speak was a highlight. Just listening to him talk about his experiences at Baltusrol, Toms said. Its just great to be among that group.
 
HAMILTON READY TO START ANEW:
Speaking of special engagements, Todd Hamilton attended his first Champions Dinner at the Open Championship four weeks ago.
 
I got to sit between two guys that had won the tournament five times apiece, in Peter Thomson and Tom Watson, Hamilton said. It was a magical experience. I felt a little out of place, but I guess I earned my way to get in there.
 
Hamilton defeated Ernie Els in a playoff in the 2004 Open Championship at Royal Troon. He since has only one top-10, and none this season.
 
He missed the cut at St. Andrews, and said that he was glad to put his Open champion reign behind him.
 
Im kind of glad that years over with. I didnt really play all that well after (winning) for quite a while, he said, adding that his expectations are still that of a major champion. Whether its a (regular) tournament, whether its a major, or whether its playing back home with my friends, it doesnt matter. I expect to play well.
 
As for his chances this week, in his first major since giving back the claret jug: Its going to be pretty tough. Youve got to drive it straight, and Im not driving it straight at the moment.
 
PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS?!?:
 
The PGA Championship will once again use a three-hole playoff should there be the need for one.
 
Players will compete on the 194-yard, par-3 fourth; the 423-yard, par-4 fifth; and the 554-yard, par-5 18th.
 
Tiger Woods defeated Bob May in 2000, the first year a three-hole playoff was used. Vijay Singh used the cumulative session to defeat Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard a year ago.
 
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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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    Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

    Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

    When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

    It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

    Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

    Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.