Bunker Shots International Flair

By Randall MellJuly 20, 2010, 6:01 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from another major event in Scotland to French, Canadian and Scandinavian tests.


PGA Tour (75x100)

RBC Canadian Open

You can’t always judge the appeal of a PGA Tour field by the world rankings.

That’s the case at the RBC Canadian Open, where the most popular players in the field aren’t among the top 80 in the world. Fred Couples, John Daly and David Duval remain strong draws folks want to see. Canadian Mike Weir is No. 82 in the world, but he will be the biggest draw of all as he bids once more to win his national open. Paul Casey and Luke Donald are the highest ranked players competing at Nos. 8 and 9 in the world, respectively. Retief Goosen, Tim Clark, Hunter Mahan, Camilo Villegas, Sean O’Hair, Ricky Barnes, Matt Kuchar also spice the field with veterans Paul Azinger and Rocco Mediate in the mix.

Bunker shot: How is it that Weir makes his 20th start in the Canadian Open this week? And that he’s 40 now? The still youthful looking Canadian can script a wildly popular story if he manages to break through and win this event for the first time. Though he missed the cut the first nine times he played the Canadian Open, Weir has managed three top-10s in his last seven tries. With the Canadian Open being played at St. George’s Golf and Country Club outside Toronto for the first time since 1968, there’s some odd mojo in Weir’s favor. Bob Charles won that year. Like Weir, Charles plays left-handed. Weir’s got some momentum to change, though. He’s missed cuts in four of his last six starts and has just one top-10 finish this season. 

Mell’s picks: Winner – Luke Donald. Contender – Retief Goosen. Darkhorse – Stephen Ames.

  • Course: St. George’s Golf and Country Club, Toronto, Canada. Par 70, 7,046 yards (Designed by Stanley Thompson and opened in 1929).
  • Purse: $5.1 million (winner’s share, $918,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m., replays 8:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, CBS, 3-6 p.m.
  • Last year: Nathan Green defeated Retief Goosen on the second hole of a playoff.


Champions Tour

Senior Open Championhsip

It’s the first of back-to-back Champions Tour majors.

After a week at Carnoustie, the senior circuit will head back to the states for next week’s U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee outside Seattle. For a select group at St. Andrews, it’s the second of three consecutive majors.

Bunker shot: Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman looked more than ready to claim a senior major with their “warm-ups” at St. Andrews last week. The challenge is less daunting this week with the dominant Fred Couples skipping the trip overseas to play the RBC Canadian Open. Still, Tom Watson, winner of five British Open titles and three senior British Open titles, is expected to bounce back strong after missing the cut at St. Andrews last week. Seven of his eight previously mentioned major championship titles were claimed in Scotland. He won at Carnoustie in ’75.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Corey Pavin. Contender – Tom Lehman. Darkhorse – Tom Pernice Jr.

  • Course: Carnoustie Golf Links, Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland. Par 71, 6,785 yards (Designed by Alan Robertson 1850, Old Tom Morris 1867).
  • Purse: $2 million (winner’s share, $315,600).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, TNT, noon-2 p.m. Saturday, 1:30-3 p.m., ABC; Sunday, ABC, 1-3 p.m.
  • Last year: Loren Roberts defeated Mark McNulty and Fred Funk in a playoff.


LPGA Tour _new

Evian Masters

Paula Creamer’s back in action after her inspiring U.S. Women’s Open victory two weeks ago.

Creamer, who never looked better winning her first major at brutish Oakmont despite her still sore reconstructed left thumb, is part of a strong field playing for a giant purse in France. The nature of the event makes it feel like the women’s fifth major with players getting ready for next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The top 24 players in the world are all committed to the Evian Masters and competing for $3.25 million, which equals the U.S. Women’s Open as the largest purse in women’s golf. The 111-player field isn’t as large as the LPGA’s full-field events but it’s an expanded field with 20 players more than a year ago.

Bunker shot: The fight for No. 1 continues to be the story within the story again this week with Creamer looking to move up from her No. 7 ranking with another victory. Ai Miyazato, Evian’s defending champ, regained the No. 1 ranking from Cristie Kerr by ten thousandths of a decimal point in this week’s new rankings. Though neither player teed it up last week, Miyazato’s average jumped over Kerr’s based on points they lost within the two-year rolling window of the rankings. Watch out for Suzann Pettersen if she gets her putter working before next week’s Women’s British Open. She’s No. 3 in the world with a chance to become the fifth different player to hold the No. 1 ranking this year. Pettersen’s ball striking was phenomenal at the U.S. Women’s Open, but she left saying she could have putted better blindfolded.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Paula Creamer. Contender – Ai Miyazato. Darkhorse – Helen Alfredsson.

  • Course: Evian Masters Golf Club, Evian-les-Bains, France. Par 72, 6,344 yards (Originally opened in 1904, renovated by Cabell B. Robinson in 1990).
  • Purse: $3.25 million (winner’s share, $487,500).
  • TV times: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., replay midnight-2 a.m. following Thursday’s round; Saturday, 1-4 p.m., replay 9:30-11:30 p.m. Sunday, 1-4 p.m., replay 9:30-11:30 p.m.
  • Last year: Ai Miyazato broke through to win her first LPGA event, defeating Sophie Gustafson in a playoff.


2009 European Tour

Nordea Scandinavian Masters

Jesper Parnevik, one of Sweden’s favorite sons, hopes to return to action in his homeland this week.

Parnevik dropped out of the Northern Trust Open in February with severe back pain. That was his last PGA Tour start and he’s said he’s still uncertain how the back will hold up in his return. He had hip surgery in the middle of last season. He won the Scandinavian Masters in 1995 and ’98.

Bunker shot: A year ago, Louis Oosthuizen could probably have sneaked in and out of the Scandinavian Masters unnoticed. He’ll get a good feeling just how much his life’s changed this week. He’s suddenly a headliner thanks to his virtuoso performance winning the British Open Sunday by a whopping seven shots. He headlines a nice crop of up-and-coming stars in the Swedish event. Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler also are in this week’s field, as are Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, winner of the European Tour event the week before the British Open, and Spain’s Pablo Martin, who three years ago became the first amateur to win a European Tour event.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Dustin Johnson. Contender – Edoardo Molinari. Darkhorse – Peter Hedblom.

  • Course: Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, Stockholm, Sweden. Par 72, 7,365 yards (Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and opened in 2007).
  • Purse: 1.6 million euros (winner’s share, 333,330 euros).
  • TV times: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 8:30-11:30 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 7:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Last year: Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalo won by two shots.


Nationwide Tour

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational

Thirteen events remain before the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship.

The top 60 on the money list earn their way in, where the top 25 at event’s end win PGA Tour cards.

Bunker shot: Tommy Gainey  became the first two-time winner of the Nationwide Tour this season with his victory last week at the Chiquita Classic. He’s bidding this week to win a third time and become the 10th player in Tour history to earn a same-season promotion to the PGA Tour. Michael Sim did it last year in the middle of August.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Kevin Chappell. Contender – Gavin Coles. Darkhorse – Joe Affrunti.

  • Course: Ohio State University Golf Club, Scarlet Course, Columbus, Ohio. Par 71, 7,455 yards (Designed by Alister MacKenzie and opened in 1938, Jack Nicklaus oversaw a restoration in 2005).
  • Purse: $800,000 (winner’s share, $144,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 12:30-2:30 p.m., replay 2-4 a.m.; Saturday, Golf Channel, 6:30-9:30 p.m., replay 2-4 a.m.; Sunday, 7:30-9:30 p.m., replay midnight-2 a.m.
  • Last year: Derek Lamely’s 6-under-par 65 helped him come from eight shots back in the final round and win. He defeated amateur Rickie Fowler in a playoff.
Getty Images

Davies headlines field at Senior LPGA at French Lick

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 14, 2018, 10:40 pm

Laura Davies will be looking to win her second senior major championship this year when she tees it up in Monday’s start of the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Davies, who won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July, will join a field that includes fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, who was announced last week with Peggy Kirk Bell as the Hall’s newest members. Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy are also in the 54-hole event.

Trish Johnson is back to defend her title after winning the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship a year ago. Brandi Burton, Jane Geddes, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann are also in the field of 81 players who will compete for a $600,000 purse, with $90,000 going to the winner.

Golf Channel will televise all three rounds live from 4-6 p.m. ET on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Getty Images

Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 10:07 pm

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs

Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale.

''I just played very solid all day long,'' Langer said. ''Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.''

The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60.

''I don't have anything to prove, but I still have golf,'' Langer said. ''I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don't think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you're going to see me out here.''

Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers.

Full-field scores from the SAS Championship

''The 10 under was amazing,'' Langer said. ''I couldn't believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.''

The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012.

''It's always fun to go back to where you've won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you're somewhat comfortable and that's certainly the case here,'' Langer said. ''I've been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.''

Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65.

''Bernhard is just in his own world this week,'' Parel said.

Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71.

Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under.

The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.

Getty Images

Pepperell captures British Masters, eyes Augusta

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 5:29 pm

WALTON HEATH, England -- Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title with a two-shot victory at the British Masters on Sunday and likely secured the even bigger prize of a place in next year's Masters at Augusta National.

The Englishman shot an even-par 72 and held off his playing partner, Sweden's Alexander Bjork (71), as the pair went to the 72nd hole at a wet and windy Walton Heath with Pepperell just a stroke in front.

Pepperell finished on 9-under 279.

Herbert Lucas (69) and Jordan Smith (73) were tied for third, another two shots behind Bjork.

English pair Sam Horsfield (69) and Tom Lewis (70) along with American Julian Suri (74) tied for fifth, one shot in front of tournament host Justin Rose (70).

The victory takes Pepperell into the world's top 35 and almost certainly secures a first appearance at Augusta in 2019. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year in April.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood (72) finished 2 under in a seven-way tie for ninth.

Full-field scores from the British Masters

A top-two finish on Sunday would have seen Rose reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No. 1 in September

Pepperell was ranked outside the top 500 as recently as May last year, but won the Qatar Masters in February and followed a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open with a tie for sixth in the British Open seven days later, carding a closing 67 at Carnoustie despite saying he had a hangover.

His three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke on Sunday when Bjork covered the front nine in 34 and Pepperell three-putted the ninth, the same hole where he enjoyed a spectacular hole-in-one on Thursday.

However, the 27-year-old Pepperell promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and a par save from off the green on the 14th looked to have sealed the win.

There was still time for some late drama, though, as Pepperell dropped shots on Nos. 15 and 16 to see his lead cut to a single shot, but Bjork bogeyed the 18th after driving into the heather and Pepperell saved par from a greenside bunker.

Getty Images

Disappointed Sharma fades to T-10 at CIMB

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2018, 1:46 pm

For the second time this year, India's Shubankhar Sharma watched an opportunity for a breakthrough win turn into a learning experience.

Sharma burst onto the scene in March, taking a two-shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship only to fade to a tie for ninth. It was a similar story Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where Sharma started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead but struggled to an even-par 72 that dropped him into a tie for 10th.

"Disappointing, not really happy with the way I finished," Sharma told reporters.

Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos

The 22-year-old was 1 over for his first six holes, but he battled back with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10 to get within three shots of eventual winner Marc Leishman. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th found the water, leading to the first of three straight bogeys that ended any hopes of victory.

"That was probably one of the worst swings of the day," Sharma said. "That 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way, and I probably could have made more birdies after that."

Sharma remained optimistic this spring following his final-round fade in Mexico, and he retained a positive mindset despite a rough afternoon as he eyes upcoming starts at both the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

"Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA Tour, so that's a good way of looking at it," he said. "Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour, and I've given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now."