Perry Snaps Drought Wins Buick Open

By Mercer BaggsAugust 12, 2001, 4:00 pm
Kenny Perry broke a six-year winless drought by claiming the $558,000 top prize at the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Mich.
Perry held off a host of challengers Sunday to earn his fourth career PGA Tour title, and his first since the 1995 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Free Video - Registration Required Kenny Perry comments on his win
Perry, who entered the final round at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club with a five-stroke lead shot a 3-under-par 69 to best Jim Furyk (66) and Chris DiMarco (65) by two shots. Perrys 25-under-par 263 total was one shot shy of the 72-hole tournament scoring record set by Robert Wrenn in 1987.
'I hadn't won in six years and this was a very key win for me, especially with a five-shot lead,' said Perry.
'I didn't think I was ever going to win again, to tell you the truth. It made me appreciate those three wins even more.'
All was not lost for Furyk and DiMarco, as both men collected valuable Ryder Cup points. With the upcoming PGA Championship marking the final event to earn Cup points, Furyk moved from 11th to 8th in the standings. DiMarco climbed from 16th to 11th, just 10 points behind Tom Lehman.
The top ten on the U.S. points list at the conclusion of the PGA Championship automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup.
U.S. Captain Curtis Strange will also add two players to the roster.
'Earning some points and getting a little bit more of a solid position for the Ryder Cup is definitely a good consolation,' said Furyk.
Said DiMarco: 'I'm not going to put any more pressure on myself, but I've been playing good. I just have to keep playing good.
'I'm probably going to have to earn it.'
Joe Durant was the odd man out, dropping from 10th in the standings to 12th.
But the big news early Sunday was made by Billy Mayfair.
Mayfair set the early pace; shooting an 11-under-par 61 that included a 9-under-par 27 on the back nine.
The 27 matched the lowest nine-hole score in tour history. The 9-under score set a tour record. Mike Souchak shot an 8-under 27 at the 1955 Texas Open and Andy North shot a 7-under 27 at the 1975 B.C. Open.
The 11-under-par total was also a tournament record.
Click here for Billy Mayfair's scorecard.
Mayfair finished in a tie for 14th.
Perrys biggest challenge came from a couple of groups in front of him. Perrys Sunday playing companion, Padraig Harrington, made an early run in the final round, but bogeyed Nos. 5-7 to fall out of contention.
Starting the day nine shots off the lead, Dudley Hart pulled to within a single shot by playing his first 15 holes in 9-under.
However, Harts run up the leaderboard hit a grease spot when he failed to get up and down from the greenside bunker at the par-3 17th. Hart eventually made bogey and shot 64 to finish tied for fourth with last weeks winner, Tom Pernice, Jr. (66).
DiMarco and Furyk each put some pressure on Perry down the stretch. In fact, Furyk got within one stroke by sinking a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th.
However, just moments later, Perry regained a two-shot advantage with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 16th. He then parred his way home to victory.
Perry, who turned 41 Friday, and 149 others will next travel to Atlanta, Ga., for the PGA Championship. Perry lost to Mark Brooks in a playoff at Valhalla in the 1996 PGA Championship.
Full-field scores from the Buick Open
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Reed: 'Back still hurts' from carrying Spieth at Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:48 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Friday’s marquee match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who are both undefeated in pool play, just keeps getting better and better.

Following his 1-up victory over Charl Schwartzel on Thursday, Reed was asked what makes Spieth, who defeated HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, so good at match play.

“I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, who teamed with Spieth at Hazeltine National.

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The duo did go 2-1-1 at the 2016 Ryder Cup and have a combined 7-2-2 record in Ryder and Presidents Cup play. Reed went on to explain why Spieth can be such a challenging opponent in match play.

“The biggest thing is he's very consistent. He hits the ball well. He chips the ball well. And he putts it really well,” Reed said. “He's not going to give you holes. You have to go and play some good golf.”

The winner of Friday’s match between Spieth and Reed will advance to the knockout stage.

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Reed vs. Spieth: Someone has to go

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:11 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The introduction of round-robin play to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was a necessary evil. It was needed to stem the tide of early exits by high-profile players, but three days of pool play has also dulled the urgency inherent to match play.

There are exceptions, like Friday’s marquee match between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, which is now a knockout duel with both players going 2-0-0 to begin the week in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

That the stars aligned so perfectly to have America’s most dominant pairing in team play the last few years square off in a winner-take-all match will only add to what promises to be must-see TV.

Sport doesn’t always follow the script, but the pre-match subtext on this one is too good to dismiss. In one corner, professional golf’s “Golden Child” who has used the Match Play to wrest himself out of the early season doldrums, and in the other there’s the game’s lovable bad boy.

Where Spieth is thoughtful and humble to the extreme, Reed can irritate and entertain with equal abandon. Perhaps that’s why they’ve paired so well together for the U.S. side at the Ryder and Presidents Cup, where they are a combined 7-2-2 as a team, although Spieth had another explanation.

“We're so competitive with each other within our own pairing at the Ryder Cup, we want to outdo each other. That's what makes us successful,” Spieth said. “Tiger says it's a phenomenon, it's something that he's not used to seeing in those team events. Normally you're working together, but we want to beat each other every time.”

But if that makes the duo a good team each year for the United States, what makes Friday’s showdown so compelling is a little more nuanced.

The duo has a shared history that stretches all the way back to their junior golf days in Texas and into college, when Reed actually committed to play for Texas as a freshman in high school only to change his mind a year later and commit to Georgia.

That rivalry has spilled over to the professional ranks, with the twosome splitting a pair of playoff bouts with Reed winning the 2013 Wyndham Championship in overtime and Spieth winning in extra holes at the 2015 Valspar Championship.

Consider Friday a rubber match with plenty of intrigue.

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Although the friendship between the two is genuine, there is an edge to the relationship, as evidenced by Reed’s comment last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he was denied relief on the 11th hole on Sunday.

“I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said.

While the line was clearly a joke, Reed added to Friday’s festivities when he was asked what makes Spieth such a good match play opponent. “I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, a not-so-subtle suggestion that he carried Spieth at Hazeltine.

For his part, Spieth has opted for a slightly higher road. He explained this week that there have been moments in the Ryder Cup when his European opponents attempted some gamesmanship, which only angered Reed and prompted him to play better.

“I've been very nice to [Reed] this week,” Spieth smiled.

But if the light-hearted banter between the duo has fueled the interest in what is often a relatively quiet day at the Match Play, it’s their status as two of the game’s most gritty competitors that will likely lead to the rarest of happenings in sport – an event that exceeds expectations.

Both have been solid this week, with Speith winning his first two matches without playing the 18th hole and Reed surviving a late rally from Charl Schwartzel on Thursday with an approach at the 18th hole that left him a tap-in birdie to remain unbeaten.

They may go about it different ways, but both possess the rare ability to play their best golf on command.

“I’m glad the world gets to see this because it will be special,” said Josh Gregory, Reed’s college coach who still works with the world No. 23. “You have two players who want the ball and they aren’t afraid of anything. Patrick lives for this moment.”

 Where Reed seems to feed off raw emotion and the energy of a head-to-head duel, Spieth appears to take a more analytical approach to match play. Although he admits to not having his best game this week, he’s found a way to win matches, which is no surprise to John Fields, Spieth’s coach at Texas.

“Jordan gave us a tutorial before the NCAA Championship, we picked his brain on his thoughts on match play and how he competed. It’s one of those secret recipes that someone gives you,” Fields said. “When he was a junior golfer he came up with this recipe.”

Whatever the secret sauce, it will be tested on Friday when two of the game’s most fiery competitors will prove why match play can be the most entertaining format when the stars align like they have this week.

It was a sign of how compelling the match promises to be that when asked if he had any interest in the Spieth-Reed bout, Rory McIlroy smiled widely, “I have a lot of interest in that. Hopefully I get done early, I can watch it. Penalty drops everywhere.”

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Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

Hey, whatever works.

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Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

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Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”