Race For Tour Cards Comes to an End

By Sports NetworkOctober 19, 2004, 4:00 pm
European TourIt comes down to thisone last event to maintain your Tour card for the 2005 season.
This weeks Open de Madrid marks the last full-field event of the 2004 European Tour campaign and some of the players not already assured of a spot in next weeks Volvo Masters are still fighting for a playing privileges next year.
Last year, players ranked inside the top-117 on the Order of Merit retained full status for the 2004 campaign.
The 2003 event seemed to be destined for a win by Paul Casey. The talented Englishman led after each of the first three rounds with scores of 63-65-71, four clear of Nick OHern and Peter Fowler heading into Sunday. The final round would prove otherwise, as Ricardo Gonzalez carded a brilliant 65, posting eight birdies in a 12-hole stretch to catch and pass Casey for his second Tour title.
Gonzalez, who won in 2001 at the Omega European Masters, finished one ahead of Padraig Harrington, Marten Olander, OHern and Casey, who stumbled to a one-over 72. OHern was the lone player in the field to post all four rounds in the 60s. Gonzalez defeated quite a star-studded field that included Harrington (T-2), Sergio Garcia (T-6), Adam Scott (T-10), Miguel Angel Jimenez (T-20), Ian Woosnam (T-42), Ian Poulter (T-71), Lee Westwood (T-71) and Nick Faldo (MC).
Gonzalezs seven-shot comeback, not only was the largest on the European Tour last year, but it was the biggest in event history.
The Club de Campo course is one of the oldest and most celebrated in Spain and is hosting this event for the fourth straight year. All the fairways are tree lined so players must keep the ball straight off the tee. Club de Campo is situated close to the center of Madrid and is probably the biggest sports complex in Spain with around 40,000 members.
It held the first of its eight Open de Espaas in 1957 when Max Faulkner, the 1951 Open champion, won with an aggregate of 283. Other champions were Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance. The easiest hole on the course last year was the par-5 fourth with an average score of 4.52, as only 16 bogeys were recorded. In contrast, the ninth was the most difficult with a stroke average of 4.21 with only 43 birdies.
There have been only four wire-to-wire winners of this event - German Garrido, 1973; Simon Hobday, 1979; Howard Clark, 1984 and Des Smyth, 1993. There have been only three playoffs in event history, two of which produced wins by Manuel Piero. The first came in 1974 when Piero beat Valentin Barrios and the second was in 1985 when Piero knocked off Jos Maria Caizares. The final extra session was in 2001 when Retief Goosen defeated Steve Webster.
The European Tour concludes its three-week stay in Spain next week at the Volvo Masters Andalucia, as Fredrik Jacobson defends his title at Valderrama.
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    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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    Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

    Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

    Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

    Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

    By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

    Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

    This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

    Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

    Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

    Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

    “I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

    “It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

    The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

    The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.