Gilder Wins Second Straight Playoff
At the SBC Senior Open last week, Gilder out-dueled Hale Irwin to win the title on the first extra hole.
Gilder and Mahaffey returned to play the 18th for a third time. Mahaffey hit his third shot to the green but the ball rolled back to the front of the putting surface and stopped 35 feet from the hole.
Gilder played his second shot just short of the green and hit his third inside three feet. He drained the short birdie putt for his second straight win and his fourth on the Senior Tour.
'This win is overwhelming,' said Gilder, who became the first wire-to-wire winner in the history of this event. 'I didn't expect this one. I really enjoy this golf course. I can't quite comprehend winning two in a row yet.'
Gilder moved to 3-0 in career playoffs. The last of his six PGA Tour victories came at the 1983 Phoenix Open after an eight-hole playoff with Johnny Miller, Mark O'Meara and Rex Caldwell.
'I was very lucky to play today,' said Mahaffey, who battled back spasms in Sunday's final round. 'I didn't think I was going to be in a playoff. Bob played well and deserved to win.'
On Sunday, Gilder finished regulation tied with Mahaffey at 13-under-par 203 after a bizarre turn of events at the 72nd hole.
Mahaffey, playing three groups ahead of Gilder, landed a brilliant third shot onto the par-5 closing hole inside two feet. He made the birdie putt to complete a round of 65 and enter the clubhouse at 13-under with Gilder and Jim Thorpe still battling it out on the Nashawtuc Country Club layout.
Gilder reached 14-under with a birdie at the 17th and stepped onto the tee at the 18th with a one-shot lead over Thorpe and Mahaffey. Gilder, who had not made bogey all week, found trouble when his second shot traveled over the green and into heavy rough. He failed to get up and down and fell back to 13-under, opening the door for Thorpe.
'I thought my shot at 17 was going to do it, but the gods had something different in mind,' said Gilder.
Thorpe, who won the first major of the season at The Tradition in April, played his second shot short of the putting surface and chipped onto the green to set up a four-foot birdie putt for the win. He lined up the putt but ran the ball past the hole. Thorpe now needed to convert just to make the playoff but his par attempt skimmed the edge.
'I had a four-footer downhill and the putter exploded,' said Thorpe. 'First time I've really choked. The second putt was longer than the first. I just missed it.'
Gilder and Mahaffey returned to the 18th tee to begin the playoff and both made par in different fashion. Mahaffey had no choice but to lay up and he nearly holed out with his third shot as the ball spun back to stop 15 feet from the hole where he two-putted for par. Gilder went for the green in two but found a greenside bunker from which he saved par.
The duo moved onto the par-3 17th and Mahaffey knocked his ball pin high. Gilder was not as fortunate as he barely reached the front edge of the green. However, both players again could do no better than par.
Thorpe carded a final-round 70 to finish at 12-under-par 204 alongside Dave Eichelberger. Larry Nelson, who won this event in 2000 and 2001, was one shot further back at 11-under-par 205 along with Wayne Levi.
Final results from the FleetBoston Classic
Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.
“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.
Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.
Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.
“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.
“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”
It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.
“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.
“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”
This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.
Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.
Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.
Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).
Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.
“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.
Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”
“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”
Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.
“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.
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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.
Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.
“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.
To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.
“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”
Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.
“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”
The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.
“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.