Forsyth Notches First Win in Malaysian Playoff

By Sports NetworkMarch 3, 2002, 5:00 pm
Scotland's Alastair Forsyth birdied the second extra hole of a playoff Sunday to defeat Australian Stephen Leaney and win the Malaysian Open at Royal Selangor Golf Club. The victory was the first on the European Tour for Forsyth, who lost his playing privileges after finishing one spot out of the top-115 on the 2001 Order of Merit.
The 26-year-old Forsyth, in the field this week thanks to a sponsor's invitation, moved to sixth on the current Order of Merit and earned a two-year exemption on tour.
'It feels fantastic, absolutely fantastic,' said Forsyth. 'I was pretty low at the end of last year and it is really hard for me to explain the winning feeling.'
Forsyth and Leaney finished 72 holes of regulation tied at 17-under 267, then returned to the par-4 18th for the playoff. They traded pars on the first extra hole, but Forsyth had the advantage the second time down the 18th in sudden death when he hit the fairway and Leaney drove into the right rough.
After Leaney's approach landed 50 feet from the hole, Forsyth knocked a 9-iron from 160 yards out to 15 feet. Leaney then failed to convert his long birdie attempt and Forsyth sank his putt to complete the wire-to-wire victory.
'The putt was just outside the right edge of the hole. I hit it perfectly,' Forsyth said. 'I couldn't believe it.'
Forsyth was atop the leaderboard since posting a course-record 63 in the first round and entered the final day with a two-stroke lead. Although he pushed his lead to three shots through nine holes Sunday, Forsyth bogeyed three of the first five holes on the back nine and found himself trailing for the first time with just four holes to play.
A birdie on the 15th hole gave Leaney a two-shot cushion, but Forsyth cut the lead in half with a three-foot birdie at the 16th. Then Leaney, who had missed a 12-foot birdie at 16 that would have kept him two ahead, watched Forsyth tie the lead with a birdie putt of 10 feet at the 17th.
Both players parred the 18th in regulation.
'I almost had it in the bag at one point when I was three shots ahead and felt I was nearly cruising,' Forsyth said. 'To lose it and win it again was unbelievable.'
Leaney fired a bogey-free, 4-under-par 67 in the final round -- his third 67 of the week to go with a third-round 66. Forsyth closed with 1-under 70.
Forsyth, who won the 1999 European Tour Qualifying School finals, collected five top-10s in his rookie season of 2000 to finish 46th on that year's Order of Merit. He plummeted to 116th in earnings a year later after reeling in only one top-10 finish.
For Leaney, who suffered just one bogey all week, all that was left was to mull over missed opportunities.
'I felt I had the tournament in my hands on the 16th green,' said Leaney, a three-time European Tour winner who also captured the Malaysian Amateur Championship in 1992.
'But [Forsyth] played well. He showed some guts coming down the stretch because he struggled mid round. He made a couple of mistakes but to his credit he came back with some good birdies and it was a good putt to win the title.'
It was more than a two-man race to the finish Sunday. Germany's Alex Cejka, six shots off the lead at the start of the day, birdied eight holes in the final round, including the 15th, 16th and 17th to reach 17-under.
He drove into the trees at No. 18, however, and was unable to hit the green in two. After chipping to within 10 feet, Cejka left his par-saving putt an inch short of the hole.
'I actually never thought I could be right up there,' said Cejka, who shot a 6-under 65 to finish alone in third place at 16-under 268. 'I thought the course was playing pretty easy and I was five or six shots behind. It was unlucky that final putt came up short.'
Spaniards Miguel Angel Martin and Ignacio Garrido tied for fourth at 14-under. Ian Woosnam of Wales, who celebrated his 44th birthday Saturday, rounded out the top-10 at 13-under 271 with England's John Bickerton, Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez, Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng and Des Terblanche of South Africa.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington, who finished runner-up in the Malaysian Open the last two years, tied for 11th at 12-under.
Christian Pena of the U.S. finished eight shots back after turning in a flawless 63 made up of four birdies and two eagles.
Full-field scores from the Malaysian Open
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”