Alker Wins Louisiana Open in Playoff

By Sports NetworkApril 14, 2002, 4:00 pm
Steven Alker parred the second hole of a playoff to outlast Mike Heinen and capture the Louisiana Open Sunday. The New Zealander earned his first victory on the Buy.Com Tour.
 
Alker fired a bogey-free round of 8-under 64 to take the clubhouse lead with a tournament-record score of 24-under 264. Heinen, who matched the 18-hole course record in Round 3, was two shots off the pace but ran home back-to-back birdies from the 16th to force a playoff.
 
The duo went back to the 18th for the first extra hole and neither golfer faired well off the tee as both drives found the water.
 
Alker had 220 yards to the green for his third shot and came up short of the putting surface. Heinen also missed the mark and sent his ball over the green.
 
Heinen, who lost the 1995 Freeport-McMoRan Classic to Davis Love III in a playoff, chipped his fourth shot to within three feet of the cup while Alker's fourth left him with a seven-foot bogey try.
 
Alker missed his putt and tapped in for double-bogey to open the door for Heinen. However, Heinen failed to convert the short putt en route to a double-bogey of his own and the pair returned to the tee to give it a second try.
 
This time both players avoided the water. Alker's drive went straight down the fairway while Heinen found the left rough off the tee.
 
Alker's approach landed on the green while Heinen sent his second shot long and was left with a 40-foot chip.
 
Heinen chipped to within six feet of the hole as Alker two-putted for par. Heinen had a chance to extend the playoff but his six-foot par save missed the cup.
 
'I've been playing well all week and thought a 63 or 64 was out there for me,' said Alker, who pocketed $81,000 for his first win. 'I didn't have it from tee to green, but my putting was pretty solid.'
 
Alker, who is playing his rookie season on the Buy.Com Tour, became the first player to win the Louisiana Open in a playoff.
 
'I let a lot of people back in it today,' said Heinen. 'I was playing it ho-hum all day. I hit the shots I needed to hit, I just didn't make any putts.'
 
Marco Dawson shot a seven-under 65 to finish alone in third at 22-under-par 266.
 
Wes Short and Keoke Cotner were tied one shot further back at 21-under 267.
 
Rob McKelvey, who won this event in 2000, posted a 6-under 66 to finish alongside Jason Gore at minus-20.
 
Full field scores from the Louisiana Open
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Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

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Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.