Willis Earns First Win in His First Start on PGA Tour

By Sports NetworkJanuary 15, 2001, 5:00 pm
Garrett Willis posted a three-under 69 on Monday to win the Tucson Open by one shot over Kevin Sutherland. Willis, who finished with a four-round total of 15-under 273, earned the win in his first-ever start as an official PGA Tour member and became the first golfer since Robert Gamez in 1990 to win his first PGA Tour event.
 
Bob Tway and Geoff Ogilvy tied for third at 13-under, while overnight leader Mark Wiebe, looking for his first win in 14 years, struggled to a two-over 74 and finished three shots off the pace at minus-12.
 
Wiebe was in control of the tournament until early on the back nine. He bogeyed 11 and followed with another bogey at 12. That bogey, coupled with a birdie by Willis on the same hole, gave Willis a one- shot lead at minus-15.
 
While Wiebe continued his descent down the leaderboard, Sutherland was moving up at the same time. He birdied 13, 15 and 16 to get to within one of Willis' lead. At the par-three 17th, Sutherland hit a beautiful approach shot that landed five feet from the stick. He pulled the putt left and was forced to take par heading to the difficult 18th.
 
Sutherland hit his tee shot down the middle at the closing hole, but his approach shot landed some 60 feet right of the hole. He two- putted for par and kept the pressure on Willis.
 
Willis had plenty of opportunities at the end of the round to extend his lead. At the par-five 15th, he played his third shot from a fairway bunker onto the green about 25 feet short. Willis was putting for a two-shot lead, but missed the putt left.
 
At 16, Willis was short on a 20-foot birdie effort. He then hit his tee shot at 17 directly over the flag and watched as the ball rolled down the hill and stopped four feet from the hole. His birdie putt lipped out right and he carried a one-shot edge to the 18th tee.
 
The 465-yard 18th, with water right and left on the tee shot and a difficult left pin position, proved difficult for players before the final group as there were several double-bogeys and one triple. Willis used driver from the tee and played the ball down the middle of the fairway. He had 191 yards to the flag and left his ball 45 feet to the right and short on the fringe.
 
Willis had the luxury of being able to two-putt for the championship, but he took a run at the birdie, leaving himself about three feet coming back. He drilled the par save and won his first title.
 
'This is well beyond my means,' said Willis, who pocketed $540,000 for the win. 'A month ago, I was at qualifying school not knowing where I was going to play this year. Now, I'm a PGA Tour champion. This is a great country.'
 
Willis started Monday's final round two strokes behind Wiebe. His round got off to a shaky start with a bogey at number-two after an errant tee shot. The 27-year-old rebounded with a tap-in birdie at the par-three fourth.
 
The birdie at four was the first of three in a row. Willis added another birdie at number-eight, but lost a stroke at nine.
 
Willis joins Gamez in an elite group of golfers to win their first start on Tour. Gamez did it in 1990 at this event. Prior to Gamez, the last player to do it was Ben Crenshaw in 1973.
 
Sutherland, a first-round co-leader, finished the day with a four-under 68. He birdied his first two holes but bogeyed the third. Sutherland birdied the ninth before picking up his three back-nine birdies.
 
'I hit the ball very well today,' noted Sutherland, who was seeded 62nd in last week's Match Play Championship. 'I had a lot of opportunities to make birdies. I have no complaints today.'
 
Tway fired a six-under 66 on Monday to jump into a tie for third with Ogilvy, a first-round co-leader. The pair finished at 13-under for the tournament.
 
Cliff Kresge, K.J. Choi and Greg Kraft joined Wiebe in a tie for fifth at minus-12. Kresge and Choi posted 66s, while Kraft carded a 68.
 
The tournament was completed on Monday due to snow and rain in the Tucson area on Friday, which caused the second round to be postponed for the day.
 
Click here for Full-Field scores from The Tucson Open!
 

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M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.