Oakley Wins Senior British Open

By Sports NetworkJuly 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 Senior British OpenPORTRUSH, Northern Ireland -- Unheralded Pete Oakley, who qualified for the tournament on Tuesday, closed the Senior British Open with a 2-under 70 Sunday to win his first Champions Tour title by one stroke.
He finished the Champions Tour's third major with a winning score 4-under-par 284 in just his second trip to the Senior British Open. This was his 18th appearance in a major championship overall.
'I'm still trying to rationalize at the moment,' said Oakley, whose best previous finish in a major was a tie for 29th at the 2003 U.S. Senior Open. 'I'm not used to all of this attention, but it certainly is rewarding and I'm very much excited and looking forward to what's going to happen to me the next year, actually.'
Oakley, who is the director of golf at the Rookery in Delaware, was the winner at the 1999 American PGA Senior Club Professional Championship. He earned $295,212 for this win and also gains a spot in next week's U.S. Senior Open.
Eduardo Romero, who recently turned 50, put together a remarkable run of golf over the final 10 holes, but he fell just short. Romero carded six birdies in that span to close a round of 5-under 67, the best round of the tournament.
Romero shared second place at 3-under-par 285 with Tom Kite. Romero carded two of the tournaments 13 rounds in the 60's, but was done in by scores of 75-74 in the middle two rounds. Kite closed with a 3-under 69.
Oakley seemed unfazed to open his round. He birdied the par-5 second for the fourth time this week. However, things took a turn for the worse from there at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
The 55-year-old bogeyed the fourth and fifth to fall behind Ford Senior Players Championship winner Mark James. James then fell of the pace with a pair of bogeys of his own, and the lead fell to Don Pooley and Kite.
Kite, who had eagled the second, birdied the ninth and 10th to jump to minus-4 and two strokes clear of the field. Oakley moved back to 2 under with a birdie at the seventh, but he then bogeyed the eighth.
Kite, who won one major on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, began to struggle on the back nine. He bogeyed the 12th and 14th to slide back to minus-2.
Meanwhile, Oakley took control of the tournament. After his bogey at the eighth, Oakley rolled in a birdie at the ninth. He came right back to birdie the 10th.
Oakley climbed back into the lead at minus-4 with a birdie at the par-3 11th. He was not done there either. Oakley moved to 5 under as he birdied the par-3 14th.
Oakley fell back to 4 under with a bogey at the 16th, while Romero and Kite fought back into contention.
Romero spread two bogeys and two birdies over his opening eight holes to remain at plus-2. He started his climb up the leaderboard with three straight birdies from the ninth.
The Argentine slipped back to even par overall with a bogey at the par-4 13th, a hole which he played at plus-3 for the week. Romero kept battling though.
He rolled in three consecutive birdies from the 15th to get within one shot of Oakley. Kite, meanwhile, rolled in a birdie at the 17h to also get to minus-3.
Romero and Kite trailed by one standing on the 18th tee. Unfortunately for them, each man only managed pars to remain at minus-3.
'I played really well today,' said Kite. 'I got real aggressive on a first putt on No. 14, which I thought I could make and I zipped it right on by. I missed the one coming back to make bogey. That hurt me, but other than that and a bad swing on 13, I played a very, very good round of golf.'
In the meantime, Oakley parred the 17th as his competitors finished out at the last. He then calmly got up-and-down from a greenside bunker for par at the 72nd hole to earn the first major championship win of his career.
'Until I got in the bunker and couldn't see the flag from the bunker, I didn't think it was that difficult a shot,' Oakley said. 'When I stood there, I saw about a 9-foot wall in front of me and I could not see the flag.
'I wanted to make sure I got it out of the bunker. I knew it would come out. I was confident it would come out. I was able to hit the shot I thought I was going to hit, but it went farther past the hole than I was hoping. I've been putting the ball very well also, and just let what happened the entire week happen again. I rode it right in and won.'
James ended the tournament with a 2-under 70 to finish alone in fourth place at 2-under-par 286. Mark McNulty and Pooley carded matching rounds of even-par 72 to finish one stroke further back at minus-1.
Bill Longmuir finished alone in seventh place at 2-over-par 290, while Carl Mason posted a 3-under 69 in the final round to finish at plus-3.
Tom Watson, the 2003 champion, shot three straight rounds of 2-over 74 to finish in a tie for 22nd at 9-over-par 297.
Related Links:
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”