Verplank By One in Canada

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 8, 2001, 4:00 pm
Scott Verplank doesnt feel he has to justify his selection to the United States Ryder Cup Team. He feels his play over the past two years stands on it own.
Nonetheless, Verplank is sending a message this week at the Bell Canadian Open.
Verplank, the first rookie to be a captains pick for the Ryder Cup, shot a 4-under 66 to take a sole possession of the lead entering the final round in Ile Bizard, Quebec.
'If I play my game and I'm doing well, I'm not going to worry about what the other guys are doing,' Verplank said. 'Hopefully I won't have to look at a leaderboard until the last hole. There's a lot of people close, but you can only take what the golf course gives you.'
Verplank stands at 11-under through 54 holes, one shot clear of Paul Gow and Dicky Pride, both of who bogeyed the par-4 18th.
Bob Estes is in fourth place at 9-under following a 67. 1985 U.S. Amateur champion Sam Randolph (65) and Sergio Garcia (65) are three back at 8-under.
Defending champion Tiger Woods shot a third-round 69 to move to 3-under for the tournament, eight shots off the lead.
'I'm surprised after starting the way I did to end up the way I am now,' said Woods, who was a first-round co-leader after shooting 65.
Pride started the third round at Royal Montreal with a one-shot lead over Canadian David Morland IV and Matt Gogel. Morland carded a disappointing 73 to drop six off the pace, while Gogel earned an early share of the lead at 10-under, only to post three bogeys and no birdies over his final 13 holes. Gogel shot 71 and fell to 7-under-par.
Pride, Verplank and Gow battled for the top position for the better part of the day. Pride bogeyed the par-4 4th to fall to 8-under, but reclaimed a share of first with an eagle at the par-5 6th.
Pride birdied the par-4 16th to move to 11-under, but missed the green at the home hole and was unable to save par.
The same held true for Gow. The Australian birdied the par-3 17th to climb to 11-under, but also missed the green at the 18th and made bogey.
Verplank birdied three of his first five holes Saturday to go along with a bogey at the par-4 2nd. He then birdied Nos. 10 and 13 to get to 11-under.
Like Gow and Pride, Verplank failed to hit the 18th green in regulation. But unlike his counterparts, Verplank chipped to a foot and tapped in for par.
Verplank is in search of his fourth career PGA Tour victory, and his first of the season. Gow, a tour rookie, is vying for win No. 1. He lost to Jeff Sluman in a playoff at the B.C. Open.
Pride is trying to win for the first time since the 1994 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
'Any time you win, it's always good,' Verplank said. 'I'm not worried about The Belfry right now. I'm just trying to play as well as I can.'
Full-field scores from the Bell Canadian Open
Getty Images

Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

Getty Images

Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

Getty Images

Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

Getty Images

Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.