Thrust and Parry Aussie Conquers World

By Mercer BaggsAugust 25, 2002, 4:00 pm
SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- This time, Rich Beem said he wasnt going to win and he didnt. But he indirectly helped the man who did.
Craig Parry watched Beem win last weeks PGA Championship. He watched Beem envision the shot and then execute it. He watched, observed on TV after missing the cut, and thought, Why cant I do that?
He did do that Sunday at Sahalee Country Club. Parry, who started the final round of the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational tied with fellow Australian Robert Allenby, birdied the second hole Sunday and never looked back.
The diminutive 36-year-old stood tall on the front nine and held firm on the back to snap a 235-event winless streak on the PGA Tour. The 20-time worldwide winner finally earned victory No. 1 in the States.
'To win on tour means everything,' Parry said. 'It's been a long time. I've been knocking on the door for 10 or 12 years, even longer playing events in America.'
More from Parry on his win.
Parry shot 4-under 31 on the inward half and turned with a three-shot lead. A bogey by Allenby at the 10th extended the advantage to four, from where Parry was never challenged.
Parry, who didn't card a bogey over his final 48 holes, shot a flawless 6-under 65. He finished at 16-under-par 268; four shots clear of Allenby (69) and Fred Funk (68).
'He took it; he definitely deserves to win,' said Funk, who has three runner-ups and a tie for fourth in his last five starts on tour.
Tiger Woods (68) birdied the last to finish alone in fourth place, at minus 11.
In the process of ending his own futility, Parry also put a halt to Tigers dominance in this event. Woods won the first three NECs ' all at Firestone Country Club ' and was trying to become the first player since Walter Hagen (1924-27 in the PGA Championship) to win the same tournament four consecutive years.
But the change of venue led to a change of results.
Woods, who has played in each of the last three weeks, has finished first (Buick Open), second (PGA) and now fourth.
'I've only won one tournament (in that stretch), but that's not bad either,' Woods said. 'Anytime you can win one and put yourself in contention to win others, you're doing all right.'
Standing a stocky 56, with Popeye forearms and a Bluto belly, Parry collected a cool $1 million for his efforts. He upped his career PGA Tour total to nearly $5.7 million.
'I am going to get blotto (drunk). They might have to carry me off the plane tomorrow morning. I'm sure the Australian customs won't mind,' Parry joked.
He started his move out of the gates Sunday, birdieing Nos. 2-4. And with no other player making a real threat, he birdied the ninth to move three clear of the field.
Funk, who was also in the final threesome, birdied the par-5 11th to cut his deficit to three, but again fell four back when he left his third shot in the bunker at the par-4 12th.
Allenby dropped from contention as soon as the lead group made the turn. He bogeyed the 10th and double-bogeyed 12. As Tiger did a week ago, the four-time tour winner was able to birdie the final four holes, but fell far short.
'He's never won on tour, and he's picked a great tournament to be his first one,' Allenby said of his countryman. 'I think now it will show that's he's as good as we all know he is. He was the best player not to win on tour, and now he's broken through.'
Tiger tried to mount an early charge by birdieing 4 and 5, but a bogey at the par-4 eighth relieved the pressure. And unlike last Sunday's dramatics, Woods managed only two birdies on the back nine.
'I didn't shoot the good number going out I needed to shoot. I wanted 2- or 3- or 4-under-par on the front nine and I wasn't able to do it,' said Woods.
'They completely changed what we faced the first three days,' he added. 'The fairways were faster, the greens were harder and firmer. We had to get accustomed to a golf course like we played in '98 (at the PGA Championship).'
That made Parry's bogey-free performance all the more impressive. Never challenged coming home, he calmly ' at least on the surface ' made seven pars and two birdies.
Parry has four runner-up finishes on tour, in addition to near misses in the 1992 Masters, 1993 U.S. Open and 1999 British Open.
'I've had guys like Tom Lehman go birdie-birdie to beat me at Colonial. Phil Mickelson chipped in at the Byron Nelson one year on 16 for eagle; I think he ended up beating me by a shot,' said Parry. 'Nick Price was the hottest golfer in the 90s; he got me down at the Honda.
'I felt as though I was playing good and the other guys were just doing that little bit extra and beating me. And I've done that to everyone else this week, and that's good.'
Final results from the WGC-NEC Invitational
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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.