Glorious Last Shot

By Sports NetworkAugust 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Shaun Micheel knocked a 7-iron from the first cut of rough within inches of the cup at the 72nd hole Sunday to cement a two-shot win at the PGA Championship.
 
Micheel held a one-stroke lead over playing partner and overnight co-leader Chad Campbell as the duo made their way to Oak Hill Country Club's difficult closing hole. Campbell found the fairway while Micheel got a great kick out of the rough and into the first cut.
 
Micheel stiffed his approach to inches, essentially wrapping up the title. Campbell needed to hole out for a chance at a playoff but his 7-iron approach landed 15 feet from the hole.
 
'It was an absolutely perfect, perfect number,' said Micheel, who pocketed $1,080,000 for the win. 'I don't normally close that well. I sure liked the way I finished today.
 
'I knew it was close. I asked somebody and maybe they weren't paying attention or didn't really care to tell me. When I saw it was two inches, I figured I can make that one.'
 
Campbell may not have walked off with the Wanamaker Trophy but it was his highest finish in a major and his third runner-up so far in 2003.
 
'I had a chance there at the end, but couldn't quite catch him,' said Campbell.
 
Micheel posted an even-par 70 on Sunday to win the 2003 season's final major championship. He finished at 4-under-par 276, which was good for a two-shot victory over Campbell, who carded a 2-over 72 in the final round.
 
The win by Micheel at Oak Hill was his first and he became the first player since John Daly in 1991 to win the PGA Championship in his first try. Ben Curtis won the British Open last month for his first PGA Tour title and Micheel joined him in a selective group of 10 to make win No. 1 on tour a major.
 
Micheel, Curtis, Mike Weir, the Masters champion, and Jim Furyk, the U.S. Open winner, comprise the first group of players who swept the majors without a previous Grand Slam victory since 1969.
 
'I really can't believe that this happened to me,' said Micheel, the 13th first-time major winner in the last 16 PGA Championships. 'I showed up here on Tuesday and played a practice round and saw how difficult this golf course was. I was just trying to make the cut.'
 
Tim Clark briefly held a piece of the lead after the turn but only managed a 1-under 69. He finished alone in third place at 1-under-par 279, followed by Alex Cejka, who also shot a 69 in finishing at even-par for the championship.
 
Tiger Woods never mounted any final-round charge Sunday. He shot a 3-over 73 and tied for 39th place, his worst finish in a major championship as a professional.
 
'It was a tough week,' said Woods. 'I didn't hit the ball as well as I needed to. I putted great all week. Unfortunately, they were all for pars and a few for bogeys. I didn't make any doubles for the week, though, which was good, the only good thing, I guess.'
 
Woods failed to win a major championship in a season for the first time since 1998. His last Grand Slam victory was at the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, his eighth major title as a professional.
 
Micheel had to work hard for his first major win as he was involved in a battle with Campbell all day Sunday. He and Campbell began the final round tied for the lead but Micheel broke out right away with a 40-foot birdie at the first. Campbell missed a seven-footer for par at the same hole so right away, Micheel was two clear of the field.
 
The pair went 2 over par from holes two through 12 until Campbell nearly holed his approach at 13 to set up birdie and claw within one of the lead.
 
At the 14th, Micheel looked like he wrapped up the title. He drove the green and landed the ball 35 feet from the hole while Campbell missed the putting surface in a right bunker. Campbell caught his blast fat and left it in the rough with perhaps a more difficult lie than his sand shot.
 
Campbell's third shot hit the hole but ran six feet past the cup. Micheel left his eagle try seven feet short but holed the birdie try to reach 4 under par for the championship. Campbell missed his par-saving try to fall to 1 under, three off Micheel's lead.
 
Micheel played safely left of the flag at the par-3 15th and knocked it 45 feet from the cup. Micheel's birdie try came up 10 feet short and Campbell had 30 feet for birdie and sank the putt to cut into Micheel's lead. Micheel missed his par putt short so after this two-shot swing, Campbell was only one off the pace.
 
On Saturday, Micheel bogeyed his final three holes to fall into a tie for the 54-hole lead.
 
Both players missed the fairway off the 16th tee but both were able to muscle shots on to the green. Campbell left himself with 65 feet but lagged a beautiful putt to kick-in range for par. Micheel drained a 20-footer for birdie to go two ahead with two to play.
 
On Sunday, Micheel drove into the left rough at No. 17, near where he was on Saturday. In the final round, Micheel laid up into the first cut then hit his third to 35 feet. Campbell parred the hole but Micheel missed his par putt short and then the drama at 18.
 
'It was a little crazy, a little back and forth,' said Campbell. 'I just tried to stay patient and let things happen and give myself a chance at the end. Then his shot on 18 was just phenomenal.'
 
Three-time major champion Ernie Els never got anything going on Sunday and finished with a 1-over 71. He tied for fifth place with 49-year-old Jay Haas, who shot his second consecutive round of 69 on the weekend. The duo finished at 2-over-par 282.
 
At the beginning of the round, Weir was three off the lead and looked to be in good shape for a comeback. Then he bogeyed his first five holes and fell out of contention. He posted a final-round 75 to share seventh with Fred Funk (72) and Loren Roberts (71) at plus-4.
 
Phil Mickelson, the co-leader after the first round, is now 0-46 in major championships. He carded a 5-over 75 on Sunday and tied for 23rd at 8-over-par 288.
 
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    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.


    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.