Weir Hangs On Defends Nissan Title

By Sports NetworkFebruary 22, 2004, 5:00 pm
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Mike Weir, the reigning Masters champion, saved par at the 72nd hole Sunday to outlast Shigeki Maruyama by a single stroke and win his second consecutive Nissan Open.
Weir only managed an even-par 71 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 17- under-par 267. Maruyama fired a 4-under 67 to finish a shot behind at minus-16.
The pair were tied at 17-under par when they came to the famous closing par-4 at Riviera Country Club. Maruyama's drive landed in the right rough and was not very long. Weir found the fairway and seemed to be in control, but Maruyama hit a good 4-wood just short of the green. Weir, meanwhile, hit a 4-iron left of the green into the rough.
Maruyama, who had almost all of the green to work with thanks to the back-left pin location, chipped his third shot 15 feet past the stick. Weir hit a spectacular pitch, with little green to work with, that ran over the right side of the cup before stopping a foot from the hole.
Maruyama blew his par-saving putt three feet past the hole, then made his bogey putt and watched as Weir tapped in for par to claim his first victory since last year's Masters.
'I thought that was it,' said Weir, referring to his amazing pitch at the last. 'I thought it was a good way to end it. I thought I made it.'
Weir picked up victory No. 7 on the PGA Tour and this was his first win while owning a piece of the 54-hole lead. He also became the first repeat Nissan Open champion since Corey Pavin in 1994-95.
'To win back-to-back, I never expected that,' said Weir, who pocketed $864,000 for the victory. 'It's nice to be mentioned at this tournament as a multiple winner.'
Weir opened Sunday's final round with a five-shot lead and added to it with birdies at one and three. His lead was now seven and seemed insurmountable for the sixth-ranked player in the world but a bogey at the fourth, coupled with a Maruyama birdie at No. 7, and the margin was back to five.
The next swing in momentum came at the 10th when Weir's approach spun back into a bunker. He blasted out to 10 feet, but the par putt died right. Maruyama cashed in an eight-foot birdie putt and the lead was cut down to three.
Weir gave one back at the 13th hole. His approach landed on the fringe and he ran his birdie putt six feet past the stick. Weir's par-saving putt missed right and now Weir was ahead by two at minus-17.
Maruyama then took over with some precise approach shots. At the 15th, he knocked a 2-iron from 211 yards out to two feet and kicked in the birdie putt to trim the margin to one. One hole later, Maruyama played a 6-iron eight-feet over the flag to set up birdie and finally tie Weir for the top spot on the leaderboard.
Both players saved pars after missing the green with their third shots at the par-5 17th, but it was Weir whose short game held up down the stretch.
Weir had owned a share of the 54-hole lead five times before going into Sunday's final round and those five occasions netted zero victories. He held on this time, but Maruyama almost extended Weir's dubious record.
'It was nerve-racking,' said Weir. 'Shigeki was playing very well today. He just played fantastic. I made a couple of mistakes, but other than that I played solid. I hit it right in the middle of the fairway and the smart side of the hole.
'It was a tough day all around. I thought I ended it in big-time style.'
Stuart Appleby shot a 5-under 66 on Sunday to take third place at 14-under-par 270.
John Daly, last week's Buick Invitational winner, birdied the final two holes to shoot a 4-under 67 and finish fourth at minus-13. This marked the first time Daly recorded back-to-back top-fives since Phoenix and the Buick Invitational in 2002.
Hank Kuehne carded a four-under 67 to come in fifth at minus-12, followed by Kirk Triplett, who shot a final-round 68, to post a solo sixth at 11-under-par 273.
Tiger Woods rebounded from a 1-over 72 on Saturday with a 7-under 64 on Sunday. He vaulted into a tie for seventh place with Jay Williamson (64) and J.J. Henry (69) at 10-under-par 274.
'Today I just hit it closer,' said Woods. 'I made a few putts, but more importantly I hit my irons better.'
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

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    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.