Wilson Tops Captain Lehman in Playoff

By Sports NetworkAugust 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 The INTERNATIONALCASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Dean Wilson birdied the second playoff hole Sunday to defeat United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman and earn his first PGA Tour victory at The International.
Wilson collected 12 points in Sunday's final round to finish with 34 points. Lehman recorded 10 points to match Wilson as the pair headed to the 18th hole at Castle Pines Golf Club to begin the extra session.
Tom Lehman
Tom Lehman tips his cap after making into a playoff at the International.
In regulation, both players made great pars from close to 70 feet at the closing hole, and Wilson hit it in a similar spot, although closer. Lehman's approach spun off the front of the green, but still allowed him to putt.
Both lagged their birdie tries within two feet and converted the par putts. They were off to No. 9 for the second sudden-death hole.
Lehman and Wilson both found the short grass off the tee, but Lehman's second landed on the edge of the top of a bunker and stopped in the fringe 25 feet from the stick. Wilson hit an 8-iron from 160 yards to seven feet.
Lehman gave it a good effort, but his putt stayed above ground. Wilson's birdie putt poured right in the center of the cup and gave him his first PGA TOUR victory.
'It's fun to get up on a leaderboard and feel those nerves,' said Wilson, who pocketed $990,000 for the win.
For Lehman, this was an interesting tournament on several levels. He is the American Ryder Cup captain and 10 spots on his team will be finalized next week after the PGA Championship. Lehman will make his two captain's picks on Monday, but things could have gotten interesting on Sunday.
If Lehman would have won the tournament, he would have moved up to seventh on the points list with only one week to go. There has not been a playing captain since the 60s and the last captain to win on the PGA Tour during his tenure was Jack Nicklaus at the 1986 Masters.
Due to some indifferent approach shots in the playoff, Lehman won't have to worry about that, but the 47-year-old was certainly encouraged by his play this week.
'I'm very pleased with the way I hit the ball all four days,' said Lehman. 'Overall if you would have told me Thursday morning that I would have a chance to win, I'd be pleased.'
Daisuke Maruyama netted 13 points and tied for third place with Steve Flesch, who tallied six points on Sunday. The pair finished with 32 points in this unique tournament.
This event uses the modified Stableford scoring system, which places a premium on birdies, eagles and double-eagles. Players receive two points for a birdie five points for an eagle and eight points for a double-eagle. Players lose one point for a bogey and three points for a double-bogey or worse, with a par receiving a score of zero.
Wilson tallied three birdies for six points on his front nine, then closed the side out in style with a 12-foot birdie putt at the ninth. That gave him the lead with 30 points.
Wilson jumped to 33 points with a 13-footer for birdie at 11, but dropped a shot at 12. When Bubba Watson birdied the 14th and Wilson bogeyed 12, the pair was tied with 31 points.
It did not take Wilson long to reclaim the lead. He drained a 15-foot birdie putt at the 13th to get back to 33 points, but Lehman began his charge up the leaderboard.
Lehman amassed four points through 10 holes, but back-to-back birdies in the 12-foot range at 13 and 14 got him to 32 points. When Wilson drove into the right rough and could not save par at 15, the two were tied for the lead.
Wilson, playing ahead of Lehman, two-putted from 32 feet for a birdie at 17. Lehman knocked his second at the hole to 15 feet, but came up a foot short on his eagle try. He tapped in for birdie, then ultimately lost out on his first victory since the 2000 Phoenix Open.
For Wilson, this win has been a long time coming.
'It seems like every year I've gotten a little better,' said Wilson. 'This year I put myself into contention a few more times than the last few years, so I'm really happy with that.'
Stewart Cink moved up in the American Ryder Cup standings as he logged six points on Sunday to finish alone in fifth place with 31 points.
Watson, who was undone with a disastrous 17th hole, accumulated 11 points in the final round. He tied for sixth place with Jeff Brehaut (nine points) and Ian Leggatt (five points) with 30 points.
Overnight leader Zach Johnson struggled on Sunday. He lost one point and tied for 13th place with 26 points.
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    Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 2:00 am


    Some stories stick with you longer than others. First time you get to do a feature. First time you meet a sports legend (it was Allen Iverson for me). Seeing a championship isn’t bad, either. Been there, done that. Lawnmower museum on the east coast of England, tsunami survivors in California, re-connecting Al Geiberger with his lost 59 tape, all good, but no story or environment has stuck with me like going to Attica Correctional Facility in 2013 to tell the story of Valentino Dixon.

    For starters, I’d never been searched before setting up for an interview. Not just me, everyone - all three cameramen, Jimmy Roberts, the guy escorting us in who worked there. Everyone. Attica trusts no one. Can’t blame them after 1971, when inmates protesting living conditions took members of the prison staff hostage. The ensuing police response left 29 inmates and 10 hostages dead.

    Attica has a "shank wall," a collection of homemade weapons seized from inmates and displayed like baseball cards in a plastic case on the wall outside the guards' lunchroom. Prison interior decorating at its finest. Nice touch.

    We went to do a story on an inmate who was introduced to the world in a Golf Digest article by Max Adler in 2012. "The golf artist who had never stepped foot on a golf course - Valentino Dixon.: He was in for murder. Second degree. You know, your standard golf story.

    Wrongfully imprisoned man freed after nearly three decades

    Dixon, a former aspiring artist before getting caught up in the Buffalo drug-dealing scene, started sketching photos from Golf Digest for the warden. I’ve never been to prison, but from what I have gathered from watching The Shawshank Redemption some 8,000 times, getting in the warden’s good graces is a smart habit to pick up if you’re doing serious time.

    Dixon's art was insanely good. Even more so because he did it all with colored pencils. No paintbrushes allowed (see shank wall above). Jimmy, the crew and I stopped for a good 10-15 minutes to marvel at his creations before continuing with the interview.

    We spent a solid 40 minutes talking to the man who supposedly killed a man 20-something years prior. In that time, he pleaded his innocence to us over and over again. He spoke like a man who had rehearsed every angle of his story over and over and over again. I give him credit - there were no holes in his story. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character, and he didn’t look like a killer, didn’t sound like one. either. But what did I know? I’d never met one - that I know of. And if you were stuck in prison for 20-plus years and all of a sudden had a camera in front of you and a platform to plead your innocence, wouldn’t you do your best to try to get out of there?

    Since the guards wouldn’t allow any food, the crew and I stopped at the first deli we saw on the ride back into Buffalo. After we were done eating, we all looked at each other, knowing what we all were thinking: "Do you think he did it?”

    Didn’t matter what we thought, we were just there to tell the story. On Wednesday, however, people whose opinions mattered made a decision and allowed someone who loves the game of golf, but has never stepped foot on a golf course, to do just that if he so chooses. That's a story that will stick with him for the rest of his life.

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    Wrongfully convicted inmate who turned to golf artistry freed

    By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York prison artist who never played golf but became known for drawings of lush courses he could only imagine was set free Wednesday after authorities agreed that another man committed the murder that put him behind bars for nearly three decades.

    Valentino Dixon walked out of Erie County Court into bright sunshine and hugs from his mother, daughter and a crowd of other relatives and friends, ready for a meal at Red Lobster and vowing to fight on behalf of others who are wrongly convicted.

    "I love y'all," Dixon shouted after trading the green prison uniform he wore in court for jeans and a T-shirt. "It feels great."

    Earlier Wednesday, a judge agreed to set aside Dixon's conviction in the 1991 shooting death of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner and accepted a guilty plea from another man who had confessed to the killing two days after it happened.

    "There was a fight. Shots were fired. I grabbed the gun from under the bench, switched it to automatic, all the bullets shot out. Unfortunately, Torriano ended up dying," Lamarr Scott, who has been in prison for 25 years for an unrelated attempted murder, told the court. "I dropped the gun and ran and it was over and done with."

    Scott said he had gotten the gun, a Tec-9 semi-automatic, from Dixon and the two men had driven together to the crowded corner where the fighting broke out. Scott was given a sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison, concurrent with his current term.

    Judge Susan Eagan let stand a count of criminal possession of a weapon against Dixon, and its 5- to 15-year sentence, which she said he had satisfied.

    Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon

    "You are eligible for release today," the judge said, igniting applause and shouts from courtroom supporters.

    "Mr. Dixon is not an innocent man. Don't be misguided in that at all," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told reporters after the hearing. He described Dixon as "an up-and-coming drug dealer in the city of Buffalo" at the time of the shooting and said Scott was Dixon's bodyguard.

    "Mr. Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of," he said, "but Mr. Dixon brought the gun to the fight. It was Mr. Dixon's gun."

    While behind bars, Dixon rekindled his childhood passion for drawing, often spending 10 hours a day creating vivid colored pencil landscapes, including of golf courses, while imagining freedom. Articles in Golf Digest and elsewhere have drawn public attention to Dixon's case. NBC Sports' Jimmy Roberts spotlighted Dixon in a 2013 segment for his "In Play" series on Golf Channel.

    “I’ve worked in this business for close to 40 years, and this is the most consequential thing I’ve ever been a part of," Roberts said after learning of Dixon's release. "I’m a sports reporter, but we helped get a man out of prison. I’m humbled and dumbstruck.”

    Georgetown University students made a documentary as part of a prison reform course last spring. The class worked with Dixon's attorney, Donald Thompson, to have the conviction overturned.

    "It went so far beyond reasonable doubt that it's pretty outrageous that he would have been convicted and it would have been upheld," said Marc Howard, director of the university's Prisons and Justice Initiative. Howard taught the course with childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who also spent years wrongfully imprisoned.

    Dixon said he will keep drawing, while working on behalf of other prisoners.

    "If you don't have any money in this system, it's hard to get justice because the system is not equipped or designed to give a poor person a fair trial," he said. "So we have a lot of work ahead of us."

    His daughter, Valentina Dixon, was a baby when her father went to prison. She brought her 14-month-old twins, Ava and Levi, to court from their Columbus, Ohio, home.

    "We're definitely going to go shopping and go explore life," she said. "I can't wait to get him a cellphone and teach him how to Snapchat."

    Dixon's mother, Barbara Dixon, said she was in shock after relying on her faith while fighting for his release.

    "We're going to Red Lobster," she said when asked what was next. "And everybody's invited."

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    Thomas donating to hurricane relief at East Lake

    By Jason CrookSeptember 19, 2018, 9:20 pm

    Much like in years past, Justin Thomas is using his golf game to help with relief of a natural disaster.

    The world No. 4 announced on Twitter Wednesday that he’d be donating $1,000 per birdie and $5,000 per eagle at the Tour Championship to a charity benefiting the victims of Hurricane Florence, which ravaged the Carolinas last week.

    At a fan's suggestion, Thomas, who has averaged 4.35 birdies per round this season, also pledged to donate $10,000 for a hole-in-one.

    Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday just south of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and has left much of the area flooded and without power. At least 37 people have died in storm-related incidents.

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    Rose realizes his No. 1 ranking is precarious

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 19, 2018, 8:18 pm

    ATLANTA – Asked how he would like to be identified when he was finished playing golf, Justin Rose didn’t hesitate – “major champion, Olympic gold medalist, world No. 1.”

    He’s had only a week to enjoy the last accomplishment, but the Englishman is aware of what it means to his career to have finally moved into the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    “It's a moment in your career that you always remember and cherish,” said Rose, who overtook Dustin Johnson with his runner-up finish two weeks ago at the BMW Championship.

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Rose said he took some time last weekend with family and friends to relish the accomplishment and will play his first event this week at the Tour Championship as the world’s best, but he also understands how tenuous his position atop the ranking is at the moment.

    “I accept it's really tight up top. It could easily switch this week,” he said. “I just feel that if I go to [No.] 2 or 3 this week, if Dustin and Brooks [Koepka] both play well, I have an opportunity the week after and British Masters, and going to China and Turkey, there's going to be opportunities to get back there.”

    Johnson, Koepka and Justin Thomas could unseat Rose atop the ranking this week depending on their finishes at the Tour Championship.