Bean Earns First Title in Nearly 20 Years

By Sports NetworkOctober 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock BarnCONOVER, N.C. -- Andy Bean birdied the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat R.W. Eaks and earn his first Champions Tour win the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn.
'It's been a long time,' said Bean, who pocketed $240,000 for the win. 'I've come close and not done it, but it feels good. It's a relief. The money is nice, but the trophy is what I wanted. Your name stays on the trophy forever.'
Bean, who went wire-to-wire for the victory, withstood a late charge from Eaks, who was also in search of his first trip to the winner's circle on the elder circuit. Eaks birdied six of his last seven holes in regulation and forced Bean to birdie the last to force the sudden-death playoff.
Eaks finished Sunday's final round with a 7-under 65, while Bean plodded through a 4-under-par 68. The duo finished 54 holes at 15-under-par 201 and were about to embark on the sixth playoff this year on the Champions Tour.
The pair returned to the par-5 closing hole at Rock Barn Golf Club & Spa. Both found the fairway at the reachable par five and both landed safely on the putting surface.
Bean was about 25 feet from the hole, while Eaks left himself close to 45 feet. Bean was able to two-putt for birdie, but Eaks was not so fortunate. Eaks lipped out a 4-foot birdie putt to give Bean his first professional win since the 1987 Kapalua International.
'R.W. played great today and you feel for him,' acknowledged Bean. 'He was making birdies and I was making pars. He snuck up on me and played really solid today.'
Chip Beck shot a 5-under 67 on Sunday and finished alone in third place at minus-13. Dana Quigley posted a 6-under 66 in the final round and took fourth at 12-under-par 204.
Joe Ozaki (66), Tom Purtzer (68), Hajime Meshiai (68) and reigning U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle shared fifth place at 11-under-par 205.
Bean took a two-shot lead into the final round and played brilliantly at the start. He birdied the second, fifth, seventh and ninth holes to build a four-shot advantage.
Things went downhill from there for Bean. He three-putted from 70 feet for a bogey at the 10th, then found a plugged lie in the bunker en route to another bogey at 12.
That same hole is where Eaks caught fire. He rolled in a 14-foot birdie putt there, then sank a 12-footer for birdie at the 13th. Eaks converted an 8-foot birdie try at 14, then polished off his fourth in a row with a 13-footer at No. 15.
Bean got a stroke back at 15 when he knocked a 9-iron inside 2 feet. With both making birdies at 15, Bean took a one-shot lead to 16, a hole both parred.
Eaks holed a 21-foot birdie putt at the 17th to match Bean atop the leaderboard. Eaks found the bunker with his second at 17 and blasted out to 3 feet. He sank that birdie putt and Bean two-putted from close to 25 feet to stay tied and force the extra session.
It was there that Bean prevailed.
'All in all, from the first day I got here, I played well,' said Bean. 'Everything was in sync and it felt good today. You don't forget what winning feels like, but it feels good to win again.'
Eaks played well on Sunday and it was almost a miracle he played at all. Eaks tweaked a back injury on Saturday and had it worked on Sunday morning. He considered withdrawing, but stuck it out and finished second.
'I've worked hard to get here,' said Eaks. 'It was lots of fun out there. When Andy had a big lead, I'll admit I was just thinking of finishing second. I'm happy. This was a great week for me.'
Larry Nelson carded a 5-under 67 and finished alone in ninth place at minus-10.
Defending champion Jay Haas fired a 6-under-par 66 and tied for 10th with Walter Hall (66) and Brad Bryant (70) at 9-under-par 207.
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    Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

    On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

    In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

    Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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    Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

    Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

    He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

    McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

    "That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

    Check out the full interview below:

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    Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

    By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

    Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

    He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

    He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

    He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

    And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

    While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

    The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

    Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

    Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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    Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

    In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

    Made Cut

    Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

    The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

    To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

    Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

    Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

    The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

    “Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

    Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

    Tweet of the week:

    Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

    “No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”

    Missed Cut

    Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

    As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

    Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

    In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

    Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

    Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

    In a story first reported by, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

    The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

    “The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

    Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.