Sinister Dye Course at French Lick Resort lands 2015 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid

By Mike BaileyJuly 30, 2013, 9:03 pm

FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- There's a statue of Pete Dye in front of the clubhouse of the course he designed at French Lick. Underneath it, there's a quote from Dye that reads: 'The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flagstick on top. Golf is not a fair game, so why build a fair golf course?'

Whether the six-year-old Dye Course at French Lick Resort is fair or not is up for debate, but in 2015, the best senior golfers in the world will be able to decide for themselves.

On Tuesday, the PGA of America announced that the Dye Course will be the site of the 76th Senior PGA Championship Presented by KitchenAid, set for May 21-24, 2015. There were several dignitaries in attendance the press conference, including Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America. While Bishop, the director of golf and general manager at The Legends Club in Franklin, Ind., didn't dispute Dye's notion that golf courses need not be fair, he did say that this particular venue, which can be stretched to more than 8,100 yards, would be set up so that it was enjoyable for the players.

'We're certainly not looking to beat them up,' said Bishop, an Indiana native.

The Dye Course is one of four courses at historic French Lick Resort in Southern Indiana. It's also, by far, the hardest golf course at the resort and one of the most difficult courses in America.

In 2010, the course got a trial run with the PGA essentially when it played host to the PGA Professional National Championship. Mike Small, the golf coach at the University of Illinois, won the event for the third time when he carded an 8-under-par total through four rounds to win by three. Most remarkable was that he fired a 65 that week on a course that was routinely giving up scores in the high 70s and low 80s to the field of 312 who qualified at local pro events around the country to get there. In recent years, the course has also been the site for the Big 10 collegiate championships and also hosts the LPGA Legends Championship.

If you're wondering what makes the Dye Course so difficult, all you have to do is understand Dye's philosophy. Dye designs courses to test the best and as he has aged, he's become more stubborn. Although the course has five sets of tees, it's not easy from any of them. Even the second set of tees rates north of 73 for women. Fairways get awfully narrow around driver landing areas. Miss them, or the greens, and you can count on a very uneven lie, usually out of pretty thick rough. For the recreational golfer, bogey is par.

Still, the course is one of the most picturesque in the country. Built on one of the highest points in Indiana, there are panoramic views from the clubhouse, several greens and a number of tees. Indiana Gov. Mike Spence (R), who was also in attendance Tuesday, said he hopes TV coverage inspire viewers from around the country and the world to visit Indiana just because of the natural beauty of the topography.

Conditioning on the Dye Course is also flawless.  Forecaddies are required, and the practice facilities are among the best in the nation. At $350 plus caddie fee and tip, it's a little steep for most recreational golfers, so tee times really aren't needed. As one player at the resort said, 'I can't afford the green fees and I don't want to lose $50 in golf balls.'

Simply put, the Dye Course isn't for everyone, but fortunately for resort guests and visitors there are three more courses to choose from – the no-frills Valley Links and the recently restored Ross Course at the resort as well as Sultan's Run down the road in Jasper, Ind.

Many consider the Ross Course to be the real gem at the resort.  Challenging in its own right, it's definitely more forgiving that the Dye Course and fairly dramatic with its views, elevated greens that slope back to front and classic architecture. The Ross' condition is also pristine, and considerably cheaper to play than the Dye. Plus it has a distinguished golf history, having staged the 1924 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen and the 1959 and 1960 LPGA Championship, where Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright respectively were the victors.

Even more historical, though, is the resort itself, which is divided into two hotels. In 2010, after being abandoned for 10 years, the Cook Corp. painstakingly restored the West Baden Springs Hotel as part of a half-billion renovation project. The hotel was the largest free-standing dome structure in the world when it was built in 1901 and dubbed the 'eighth wonder of the world.' (The Astrodome in Houston later claimed that moniker when it opened in 1965.)

West Baden

French Lick's famous West Baden Springs Hotel

No detail was overlooked in its restoration, including its separately domed lobby and 28,000-square foot spa that features marble inlaid floors, fine wooden cabinetry and hand-blown glass. There's also a spa at the resort's other hotel, as well as a sports center that includes indoor tennis, a casino and numerous restaurants. In total, the resort has nearly 700 rooms. It will need every one of them and then some when the Senior PGA comes to town in 2015.

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Z. Johnson looks to end victory drought at Valero

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 10:45 pm

Nearly three years after his most recent victory, Zach Johnson has a chance to get back into the winner's circle at the Valero Texas Open.

Johnson started the third round at TPC San Antonio with a share of the lead, and he maintained that position after closing out a 4-under 68 with a birdie on the final hole. At 13 under, he is tied for the lead with Andrew Landry and one shot clear of Trey Mullinax as he looks to win for the first time since The Open in 2015.

"Different wind today. Misjudged some numbers, misjudged some wind, made some bad swings, all of the above," Johnson told reporters. "But truthfully, I mean my short game was actually pretty good, my putting was great. I missed some putts but I hit some really good ones, hit some lines and I gave myself opportunities, especially on the back side."

Johnson started slowly, making the turn in even-par 36, before carding four birdies on the inward half. It was a microcosm of his week at TPC San Antonio, where Johnson is even through three trips across the front nine but has played the back nine in 13 under while picking up more than six strokes on the field in strokes gained: putting.

Johnson won this event in both 2008 and 2009 when it was held at nearby La Cantera, but he has only cracked the top 10 once since it shifted venues in 2010. But facing off in the final group against two players who have yet to win on the PGA Tour, the veteran hopes to capitalize on his back-nine prowess this week in order to deliver career win No. 13.

"I've got to do exactly what I did on the back side, and that was give myself opportunities on every hole," Johnson said. "I'm putting great, I'm seeing the lines well, my caddie's reading the greens well. So it's just a matter of committing and executing down the stretch."

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Mullinax fires course-record 62 at Valero

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 9:01 pm

Trey Mullinax surged into contention during the third round of the Valero Texas Open, shooting a 10-under 62 that set a new course record on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

Mullinax started the day seven shots off the pace, but his sizzling round left him alone in third place through 54 holes, one shot off the lead. The former Alabama standout caught fire on the back nine, shooting a 7-under 29 despite a bogey after chip-ins for eagle on No. 14 and birdie on No. 16 to go along with an eagle on the home hole.

"It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had," Mullinax told reporters. "To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good."

Mullinax appeared headed for a missed cut after a 74 in the opening round, but he bounced back with a second-round 68 to earn a weekend tee time and his third-round score broke the previous course record of 63 held by multiple players.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

The 25-year-old finished 137th in FedExCup points last season, leaving him with only conditional status this season. His lone top-10 finish of the year came at the Valspar Championship, where he survived a Monday qualifier and went on to tie for eighth, and this marks only his third start since the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.

"Obviously I would like to play a little more, but the tournaments I get in, I'm really excited about playing golf," Mullinax said. "I've loved every start I've gotten, and I'm very thankful to be in the position I'm in."

Mullinax holed a putt to clinch a national title for the Crimson Tide in 2014, and he finished T-9 at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills. But success has been fleeting among the professional ranks, meaning Sunday's opportunity to notch a career-best finish or breakthrough victory is nothing short of enticing.

"I'm sure you'll be nervous," Mullinax said. "To have a chance to win or just go play good golf is what I came here for, so that's what I'm going to do."

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Quiros maintains one-shot lead through 54 in Morocco

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 7:46 pm

RABAT, Morocco - A birdie on the last hole gave Alvaro Quiros a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Trophee Hassan II.

Quiros' birdie on No. 18 allowed the Spanish golfer to sign for an even-par 72 on Saturday to stay at 7-under par overall and clear of four players in second place.

South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, France's Alexander Levy, and Finland's Mikko Ilonen were just a shot behind at 6 under heading into the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat.

Quiros is a seven-time winner on the European Tour, but went six years without a victory until last year with his triumph at the Rocco Forte Open in Italy.

Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

He's seeking a wire-to-wire victory in Morocco after sharing the first-round lead with Bradley Dredge before taking it outright on Day 2.

Quiros had an on-off day in the third round - he said it was ''suddenly great shot, suddenly not so good'' - and carded four birdies and four bogeys to come out even and still hold on to his lead.

Van Rooyen shot 71, Bezuidenhout 68, Levy a 69, and Ilonen the best round of the week so far with his 6-under 66.

Ilonen had seven birdies and just a single bogey - on his first hole - to leap 23 places up the leaderboard and into contention for a first tour title since 2014 when he won the World Match Play Championship.

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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.