Goosen Els Monty Fall Short in Thailand

By Sports NetworkMarch 4, 2007, 5:00 pm
European TourPHUKET, Thailand -- Anton Haig picked the right time for his first birdies at the 18th hole.
They gave him his first European Tour win.
Haig, a 20-year-old South African, birdied No. 18 at Blue Canyon to make a three-way playoff with Richard Sterne and Oliver Wilson, then returned to the par-4 and birdied it again to walk away a winner Sunday at the Johnnie Walker Classic.
He shot his second consecutive 2-under 70 in the final round and came from two shots down -- clinching the win with a 10-foot putt on the first extra hole.
'It feels absolutely amazing,' Haig gushed. 'I didn't think this would be possible, but after shooting 64 in the second round I knew I was hitting the ball well enough to win.'
Sterne, the overnight leader after twice tying the course record with consecutive 64s, managed only an even-par 72 on Sunday and bogeyed the 17th hole to fall into a tie.
Wilson, the second-round leader, closed with a 1-under 71 and made the playoff with a bogey-free back nine that included two birdies.
The trio finished 72 holes knotted at 13-under-par 275.
Haig moved into the clubhouse lead with a virtuoso finish at the 18th, clearing trees with his lob wedge on a tough 100-yard approach shot and knocking it within three feet to set up his closing birdie.
'One of the best shots I've ever hit,' he declared.
Wilson and Sterne also had birdie putts at the 72nd hole with a chance to edge Haig in regulation, but neither could get their try to drop.
With several of the word's best golfers safely out of the picture -- Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Colin Montgomerie and Mike Weir all finished within five shots -- the co-leaders headed back to the 18th for their playoff.
All three reached the green in regulation, but Wilson missed a 20-foot putt and Sterne botched a 10-footer to open the door for Haig, who rolled in his own 10-foot try for the win.
'What a feeling. I am struggling to [put] it into words,' Haig said.
For the others in the playoff, there was disappointment.
Wilson played his back nine flawlessly, but had back-to-back bogeys on the front and went out in 37 -- his worst front-nine score this week by three shots.
'I had my chances but didn't take them,' said Wilson. 'I hit great tee shots at the 18th in regulation play and in the playoff but was disappointed not to be putting from less than 20 feet either time.'
Sterne was unable to enjoy the fruits of his back-to-back record-tying rounds. He had an early bogey at the par-4 third, then strung together 11 pars and two birdies before stumbling to another bogey at the par-3 17th.
'It was close, but what can I do?' said Sterne. 'I played my best but it didn't go the way I wanted. I am disappointed but it's great for Anton.'
Goosen, the 2002 champion, shot a final-round 70 and finished three shots behind the leaders at 10-under 278. Weir had a 67 and was a stroke further back at 9-under 279.
Two-time champion Els (70) and Montgomerie (71) tied for sixth place at 8- under 280. They were joined by David Frost (69) and Gaurav Ghei, who became the latest player to match the course record of 64.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard
  • Full Coverage - Johnnie Walker Classic
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Woods on firing shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

    His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

    “I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.

    “I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

    Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

    It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

    Getty Images

    Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

    Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

    But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

    Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

    “It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

    Getty Images

    After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

    In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

    No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

    Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

    “I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

    Let it go.

    Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

    “I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

    It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

    During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

    Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

    “It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

    McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

    It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

    “I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

    The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

    Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

    The only thing left to do?

    Let it go.