Singh Beats Garcia Furyk in Playoff

By Sports NetworkMay 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Vijay Singh got up and down for par on the fourth playoff hole Sunday to win the Wachovia Championship. Singh closed with a 6-under 66 to finish at 12-under-par 276.
Singh was joined in the playoff by Sergio Garcia, who led after each of the first three rounds and Jim Furyk. Garcia bogeyed the 17th hole of regulation to close a round of even-par 72, while Furyk birdied the 18th hole to cap a round of 6-under 66.
In the extra session, Garcia found the 18th green with his second shot after Furyk's second bounced over the putting surface. Singh, playing third, knocked his second to 40 feet.
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia reacts after a par saving putt at the 16th, but in the end it wasn't enough for the Spaniard.
Garcia left his first putt 6 feet short. He missed that and his three-putt bogey dropped him out of the playoff. Singh rolled his first putt to 6 feet and kicked in his par try from there. Furyk pitched within 5 feet and sank that for par.
Garcia was out of the playoff and with that tied the PGA Tour record for losing the biggest lead entering the final round. Garcia squandered a six-shot lead, which tied the mark of four others.
'I think I hung in there well. All the credit in the world to Vijay and Jim,' said Garcia. 'They played two very good rounds. But I played awesome the first eight holes. I should have been easily three- or four-under and I was one- under. It was tough. I'm disappointed, no doubt about it, but at the same time I'm happy about the way I performed all week.'
Both Singh and Furyk landed their second shots on the putting surface at the second playoff hole, No. 16. Each man two-putted for par and it was off to the 17th at Quail Hollow Club for the third extra hole.
Singh stuck his tee ball at the par-3 17th within 6 feet, putting the pressure on Furyk. However, the 2003 U.S. Open champion responded by dropping his tee shot 14 feet from the hole.
Furyk's putt slid by the left edge and the tournament looked like it was Singh's. However, the Fijian missed a hard-breaking putt and tapped in for par. Furyk rolled in his par putt and it was back to the 18th for the fourth extra hole.
Back on No. 18 for the fourth playoff hole, Singh found the right side of the fairway with his tee shot. Furyk then pulled his tee ball into a creek left of the fairway.
After taking a drop, Furyk pitched his third down the fairway from a thick lie in the rough. Singh looked to open the door for Furyk as he lost his second shot into a bunker right of the putting surface.
Furyk got an unlucky break as his fourth shot from 97 yards out hit the pin and spun some 50 feet away from the hole and in the rough.
Singh made sure the playoff would not go on. He blasted his bunker shot inside 2 feet and tapped in for par to win for the third time this year, two of which were playoff wins.
'You have to just go ahead and play it,' said Singh of the playoff. 'You shouldn't be disappointed that you could have lost. Of course you're going to be disappointed by not winning in regulation, but you just go ahead and play.
'Playing a playoff is like a coin toss. You have to go out there and play and hit the best shots you can. Straightaway it's match play and whoever gets 1-up that's it.'
Singh, a three-time major championship winner, played the front nine in 3-under with an eagle, two birdies and one bogey.
The 42-year-old caught fire on the back nine. Singh two-putted for birdie on the par-5 10th to get within one of Garcia. Singh, playing one group ahead of the Spaniard, birdied the 11th to join Garcia in the lead at 11-under.
Garcia came right back with a birdie of his own on the 11th to regain first. Singh rolled in a 5-foot birdie try on No. 12 to again tie Garcia at minus-12.
Singh made it four straight birdies as he drained a 14-foot birdie putt at 13 to take a one-stroke lead. His margin grew to two as Garcia bogeyed the 13th.
Garcia climbed back within one with a birdie on 14. Singh knocked his second shot over the green at the par-5 15th. He left his third shot short and walked away with a bogey. Garcia birdied the same hole to go from one down to one up.
Garcia knocked his tee shot in the water on the 17th. That led to a bogey and he slipped to minus-12 alongside Singh. Singh parred his final three holes to remain at 12-under. Garcia parred the last to end at 12-under.
'Obviously it was pretty exciting there at the end,' said Singh, who earned $1,080,000 for the win. 'You know, Sergio made it a little easier for us by bogeying 17. Even in the playoff, it was pretty tense. You can't miss a golf shot out there because the golf course will not yield at all. It was tough playing the finishing holes, but I played really solid today.'
Furyk, on the other hand, was chasing the leaders all day. He ran off four consecutive birdies from the fifth to jump to 10-under. Furyk, who turns 35 years of age on Thursday, tripped to a bogey on the ninth.
Around the turn, Furyk got within one of the leaders with birdies at 10 and 16. He then drained a 25-footer for birdie at the last to join the playoff. That was just the fourth birdie all day on the 18th.
'I played really well,' Furyk said. 'I hit the ball as well as I could have hoped for. I hit some really good putts out there; some went in, some didn't. Coming down the stretch, it didn't really look like I was going to have an opportunity to get back in the golf tournament and get in that playoff. You don't expect to birdie two of the last three on this golf course.'
Chris DiMarco also fired a 66 to finish alone in fourth at 8-under-par 280. Vaughn Taylor and Carlos Franco shared fifth place at minus-6.
Phil Mickelson made a huge run on Sunday. He was 9-under par for his round through 15 holes. Lefty faltered down the stretch with a double-bogey on 17 and a bogey on 18. He posted a 66 to share seventh place at 5-under-par 283 with Greg Owen.
Tiger Woods played the front nine at even-par. Around the turn, he collected an eagle at the 15th and a birdie at the last. However, after his round he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for moving a temporary immovable structure on the 10th hole. That dropped Woods from what would have been a share of ninth into a tie for 11th at 2-under-par 286 after a 1-under 71.
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    Bhatia loses U.S. Am match after caddie-cart incident

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 2:21 am

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – One of the hottest players in amateur golf had his U.S. Amateur run end Wednesday under unusual circumstances.

    Akshay Bhatia, the 16-year-old left-hander who has been dominating the junior golf circuit over the past year, squandered a late lead in his eventual 19-hole loss to Bradford Tilley in the Round of 64.

    Bhatia was all square against Tilley as they played Pebble Beach’s par-5 14th hole. After knocking his second shot onto the green, Bhatia and his caddie, Chris Darnell, stopped to use the restroom. Bhatia walked up to the green afterward, but Darnell asked what he thought was a USGA official for a ride up to the green.

    “The gentleman was wearing a USGA pullover,” Darnell explained afterward. “I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes. So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”

    Conditions of the competition prohibit players and caddies from riding on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized.

    It turns out that the cart that Darnell rode on was not driven by a USGA official. Rather, it was just a volunteer wearing USGA apparel. A rules official who was in the area spotted the infraction and assessed Bhatia an adjustment penalty, so instead of winning the hole with a birdie-4 to move 1 up, the match remained all square.

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

    Even more interesting was what Darnell said happened earlier in the match.

    “I had already seen the other caddie in our group do it on the ninth hole,” Darnell said. “Same thing – USGA pullover, drove him from the bathroom up to the fairway – so I assumed it was fine. I didn’t point it out at the time because everything seemed kosher. He had the USGA stuff on, and I didn’t think anything of it.”

    Bhatia won the 15th hole to go 1 up, but lost the 17th and 19th holes with bogeys to lose the match. He didn’t blame the outcome on the cart incident.  

    “What can you do? I’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in this tournament, so I’m not too upset about it,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because I deserved to win that match. That wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I can’t do anything about it.”

    Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C., has been a dominant force in the junior ranks, going back-to-back at the Junior PGA (including this dramatic hole-out), capturing the AJGA Polo, taking the Sage Valley Invitational and reaching the finals of the U.S. Junior.

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    1, 2, 3 out: Thornberry, Suh, Morikawa lose at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 am

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The top three players in the world had a tough afternoon Wednesday at Pebble Beach.

    Braden Thornberry, Justin Suh and Collin Morikawa – Nos. 1-3, respectively, in the World Amateur Golf Ranking – all lost their Round of 64 matches at the U.S. Amateur.

    Thornberry lost, 2 and 1, to Jesus Montenegro of Argentina. As the No. 1 amateur in the world, the Ole Miss senior was in line to receive the McCormack Medal, which would exempt him into both summer Opens in 2019, provided he remains amateur. But now he’ll need to wait and see how the rankings shake out.

    Suh and Morikawa could have played each other in the Round of 32, but instead they were both heading home early.

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

    Suh, a junior at USC, never led in his 1-up loss to Harrison Ott, while Cal's Morikawa lost to another Vanderbilt player, John Augenstein, in 19 holes.

    Englishman Matthew Jordan is the fourth-ranked player in the world, but he didn’t make the 36-hole stroke-play cut.

    The highest-ranked player remaining is Oklahoma State junior Viktor Hovland, who is ranked fifth. With his college coach, Alan Bratton, on the bag, Hovland beat his Cowboys teammate, Hayden Wood, 3 and 2, to reach the Round of 32.

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    Fiery Augenstein outduels Morikawa at U.S. Amateur

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 12:55 am

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Around the Vanderbilt golf team John Augenstein’s nickname is “Flash,” and it’s easy to see why.

    The swing loaded with speed.

    The on-course charisma.

    The big shot in the big moment.

    The Commodores junior added another highlight to his growing collection Wednesday, when he defeated world No. 3 Collin Morikawa in 19 holes during a Round of 64 match at the U.S. Amateur.

    Out of sorts early at Pebble Beach, Augenstein was 2 down to Morikawa after butchering the short seventh and then misplaying a shot around the green on 8.

    Standing on the ninth tee, he turned to Vanderbilt assistant coach/caddie Gator Todd: "I need to play the best 10 holes of my life to beat Collin."

    And did he?

    “I don’t know,” he said later, smirking, “but I did enough.”

    Augenstein won the ninth hole after Morikawa dumped his approach shot into the hazard, drained a 30-footer on 10 to square the match and then took his first lead when he rolled in a 10-footer on 14.

    One down with three holes to go, Morikawa stuffed his approach into 16 while Augenstein, trying to play a perfect shot, misjudged the wind and left himself in a difficult position, short and right of the green. Augenstein appeared visibly frustrated once he found his ball, buried in the thick ryegrass short of the green. He told Todd that he didn’t think he’d be able to get inside of Morikawa’s shot about 6 feet away, but he dumped his pitch shot onto the front edge, rode the slope and trickled it into the cup for an unlikely birdie.

    “Come on!” he yelled, high-fiving Todd and tossing his wedge at his bag.

    “It was beautiful,” Todd said. “I’m not sure how he did that, but pretty cool that it went in.”  

    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

    Morikawa answered by making birdie, then won the 17th with a par before both players halved the home hole with birdies.

    On the first extra hole, Augenstein hit his approach to 15 feet while Morikawa left it short. Morikawa raced his first putt by 6 feet and then missed the comebacker to lose the match.

    It may not have been the best 10-hole stretch of Augenstein’s career, but after that pep talk on 9 tee, he went 4 under to the house.

    “He’s a fiery little dude,” Morikawa said of his 5-foot-8-inch opponent. “You don’t want to get him on the wrong side because you never know what’s going to happen. He’s not going to give shots away.”

    The first-round match was a rematch of the Western Amateur quarterfinals two weeks ago, where Augenstein also won, that time by a 4-and-2 margin.

    “It’s the most fun format and where I can be my true self – emotional and aggressive and beat people,” Augenstein said.

    That’s what he did at the 2017 SECs, where he won the deciding points in both the semifinals and the finals. He starred again a few weeks later at the NCAA Championship, last season went 3-0 in SEC match play, and now has earned a reputation among his teammates as a primetime player.

    “I’ve hit a lot of big shots and putts in my career,” said Augenstein, ranked 26th in the world after recently winning the Players Amateur. “I get locked in and focused, and there’s not a shot that I don’t think I can pull off. I’m not scared to fail.”

    The comeback victory against Morikawa – a three-time winner last season at Cal and one of the best amateurs in the world – didn’t surprise Todd. He’s seen firsthand how explosive Augenstein can be on the course.

    “He’s just fiery,” Todd said. “He does things under pressure that you’re not supposed to do. He’s just a special kid.”

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    Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

    The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

    Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

    According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

    "My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

    Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

    Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.