Pavin and 17-Year-Old Headline in Milwaukee

By Sports NetworkJuly 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Corey Pavin has only glanced at the field at this week's U.S. Bank Championship.
 
He wouldn't see a whole lot of names he knows, anyway.
 
Pavin, the defending champion and 1995 U.S. Open winner, is one of the few marquee players at the PGA TOUR's stateside stop opposite the British Open that begins Thursday. In the 40 years of the tournament, no defending champion has ever repeated, but Pavin stands a better chance than most at the event where Tiger Woods made his pro debut in 1996.
 
'I haven't even looked at the field that much,' said Pavin, who won for the first time in a decade with his victory at the Brown Deer Golf Course last year. 'I just feel like I'm another player this week. It's obviously nice that I won last year, but it all starts from scratch this year.'
 
It will be a whole new experience for 17-year-old Tony Finau, one of the more interesting standouts among the eclectic field of journeymen and perennial qualifying school participants.
 
Finau, who declined a scholarship offer from BYU, turned pro in May and made the field by shooting a 64, a course-record, at a Monday qualifier near Milwaukee. It was Finau's first attempt at qualifying for a spot in a PGA TOUR tournament.
 
'I've always worked hard playing golf, I've never done anything else,' Finau said. 'I just knew I had it in me to play professional golf.'
 
But the 6-foot-4 Finau turned heads in more places than the links. Growing up in suburban Salt Lake City and working on conditioning in his high school gym, his varsity basketball coach recruited him to play on the team.
 
Suddenly Finau, who hit buckets of 350 balls three or four times daily in his garage with his 16-year-old brother, Gipper, during the long winter offseason in Utah, was the starting center at West High School the past two years.
 
This past season, he averaged 10.8 points and 12 rebounds a game, the latter one of the best marks in Utah. He even drew interest from some local colleges about shooting jumpers, not par.
 
'I was a very good addition to our team, but I knew there were so many kids out there that wanted to play basketball,' Finau said. 'I just wanted to play golf.'
 
Finau, who patterns his game after Ernie Els, started at age 8 because Gipper was doing so well at it.
 
'I'm not going to lie, at his age and my age he has more talent than I do,' Tony Finau said. 'It's been a pretty tough road for us, but it's been fun. We thought it would be more interesting for both of us if we turned pro and showed the world we could play at a young age.'
 
Finau, who claims he hits it 330 yards off the tee, said making the field was the hardest part and he expects to make the cut in his first event.
 
Driving may not mean a whole lot here. It's the shortest course on tour this year at 6,759 yards and someone 40 years or older has won the event seven of the last 11 years.
 
'Older guys don't hit it as far, it's as simple as that,' Pavin said.
 
One of those older guys looking for a big week is Kenny Perry, who struggled until recently after surgery on his right knee to correct a ligament tear last year.
 
Perry, 46, entertained thoughts of retiring because he couldn't get his game straight. But in his past four tournaments, he's finished no worse than 15th and been in contention on Sunday in each before falling off the pace.
 
'My last four tournaments have been great,' Perry said. 'I shot a 63 on the Sunday of the Memorial and all of a sudden it's like a light bulb went off in my head.'
 
The only thing Perry, the 2003 champion, isn't happy about is that the U.S. Bank Championship is stuck behind the British Open.
 
'I hate it's having to compete with the British,' Perry said. 'I think that's wrong. I think it deserves its own date.'
 
Divots:
Last year, the U.S. Bank Championship was the week after the British Open. ... Three players who have won on tour this season are in Milwaukee this weekend. They are Brian Bateman (Buick Open), Paul Goydos (Sony Open) and Mark Wilson (Honda Classic). ... Bateman and Wilson both were in qualifying school last season. ... While this tournament boasts 12 of the top 100 in the Official World Golf rankings, the highest player here is No. 43 Tim Clark. ... Along with Pavin, Steve Elkington, Lee Janzen, Bernhard Langer, Jeff Sluman, Bob Tway, Larry Mize and Mark Brooks are the other players who have won majors in the field.
 
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    Watch: Strong start, rough finish for Koepka

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 4:45 pm

    U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

    Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.


    And here is the capper at the 14th

    Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.


    After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.


    A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead. That, however, sparked a wild ride to the finish line as he also bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 9, and birdied the sixth. It totaled to a second-nine, 2-over 37 and an overall score of 2-under 68.

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    Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

    Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

    ''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on jarrodlylegolf.com. ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

    ''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

    Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

    Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

    He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

    Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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    Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

    SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

    The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

    The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

    Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.


    Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship


    Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

    McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

    David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

    Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”