Levi on Top for Fifth Straight Round

By Sports NetworkOctober 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Administaff Small Business ClassicSPRING, Texas -- Wayne Levi, who won last week's Constellation Energy Classic, posted a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take the second-round lead of the inaugural Adminstaff Small Business Classic. He stands at 13-under-par 131 and is two ahead of D.A. Weibring at Augusta Pines Golf Club.
 
Levi went wire-to-wire for the victory last week and shared the lead on Friday with Walter Hall. This is the fifth consecutive round that Levi has had at least a piece of the lead, and Levi could become the first player in Champions Tour history to win two consecutive events in wire-to-wire fashion.
 
'Mentally, this game is such a drain,' said Levi. 'It's tough to play good one week and come back and do it again the next week. I think I've got plenty left in the tank.'
 
Weibring fired a 7-under 65, while Hale Irwin, the all-time leader in Champions Tour victories, shot a 4-under 68 and is alone in third place at minus-9.
 
Levi took control of the tournament early in Saturday's second round. He knocked a sand-wedge to a foot to set up birdie at one and made it two in a row with a 15-footer at the par-5 second.
 
Levi collected his third birdie in a row at the par-3 third hole when he hit a 7-iron to 5 feet. He had a good look at birdie from 10 feet at the fourth, but missed. Levi hit another spectacular sand-wedge approach at the fifth, also stopping a foot from the hole, for his fourth birdie in five holes. He missed a 3-foot birdie putt at the sixth that could have put him further in the lead.
 
'I got off to another good start,' said Levi. 'I had a good chance at birdie for the first six holes. I really hit it good on the front nine.'
 
Levi parred his remaining holes on the front nine, then sank a 9-footer for birdie at the 10th. He laid up short of the green with his second at the par-5 13th, then hit a lob-wedge over the flag that spun back to 2 feet. Levi made that birdie putt to reach 14 under par for the championship.
 
At the par-3 17th, Levi's 4-wood approach landed in a greenside bunker. His ball plugged in the trap and his blast from the sand barely landed on the putting surface. Levi could not save par and recorded his first bogey in 53 holes, or his first since the 17th hole of Saturday's second round one week ago.
 
'I can't complain with 67,' said Levi, who will be in search of his third victory on the Champions Tour. 'If I can make four or five birdies, they'll have a tough time beating me. When I get the lead, I think I produce greater focus. I'm paying attention to everything that's going on.'
 
Weibring, who won this year's Allianz Championship, hit a 4-wood to 10 feet to set up eagle at the par-5 second. He rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at three, then added a 35-foot birdie putt at four to go 4 under in his first four holes.
 
Weibring cooled off as his next birdie came at the 10th. He holed a 15-foot birdie putt from off the green at the 13th, then got within two of Levi's lead with a 12-footer for birdie at the last.
 
'I feel good about the way I'm playing,' said Weibring, who will also be looking for his third title on the elder circuit Sunday. 'I have always wanted to win in Texas and tomorrow, I'll have a chance.'
 
Reigning U.S. Senior Open champion Peter Jacobsen (67), Jim Thorpe (69), John Harris (69), Hall (72) and Jim Dent (70) share fourth place at 8-under-par 136.
 
Andy Bean (67), Mark Johnson (67), Morris Hatalsky (69), Bob Gilder (69) and Tom Kite are tied for ninth at minus-7.
 
If Craig Stadler is going to tie Chi Chi Rodriguez' Champions Tour record of four consecutive wins, he's got a lot of work ahead of him on Sunday. Stadler managed a 1-under 71 on Saturday and is part of a group tied for 30th at minus-4.
 
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Leaderboard - Administaff Small Business Classic
  • Full Coverage - Administaff Small Business Classic
  • Getty Images

    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

    It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

    Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

    Getty Images

    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

    Getty Images

    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

    Getty Images

    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.