Sunday, January 31, 2010


Ben Crane overcame a two-shot deficit and hung on for a 2-under 70 and a one-shot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open. Crane made two birdie putts longer than 45 feet to seize control, then missed two short par putts to keep alive the hopes of Michael Sim, Brandt Snedeker, and Marc Leishman.

Starting the final round two shots behind,Crane opened with three birdies in five holes, including one from just over 45 feet on No. 3. He expanded his lead to three shots with another 45-foot birdie putt on the 11th.

Then he just hung on.

The Australian Sims stayed with Crane, but could not close the gap. Robert Allenby made a charge only to fall back by losing five shots in four holes.

Michael Allen had five straight birdies for a Sunday-best 65, moving him into a tie for fifth with Ernie Els, RickieFowler,and Alex Prugh ,who earned a trip to Riviera next week for the Northern Trust Open.

Phil Mickelson, making his 2010 debut was only four shots behind, coming into the final round ,but Mickelson bogeyed his first three holes and was never a factor. He closed with a 73 and finished 19th.

Mickelson will be back next week to defend at Riviera for the Northern Trust Open.

The final round started with Paul Casey and Bradley Dredge in a tie for the lead but others were close. Within the first few holes the lead changed hands  as Lee Westwood, Robert Karlsson, Brett Rumford, and defending champion Alvara Quiros were in pursuit. And Robert Karlsson was the last man standing shooting
a 7-under 65 to win the Qatar Masters by three strokes Sunday.

Karlsson made seven birdies to finish 15-under 273 for his 10th European Tour victory, his first since missing several months last season due to an eye injury.

Alvaro Quiros of Spain, last year’s champion, shot a 67 to finish second.

Lee Westwood had a share of the lead with three holes to play, but  bogeyed  No. 16 and with Karlsson’s two birdies on the final two holes ended his challenge. The Englishman shot a 70 to share third place with Brett Rumford of Australia at 277.

England’s Oliver Wilson  finished in a three-way tie for fourth seven strokes behind Karlsson, along with Paul Casey and Bradley Dredge.

The European Tour returns to Dubai for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Rory McIlroy defends.

Robert Gates won his Nationwide Tour debut, closing with a 2-over 74 in windy conditions Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the tour’s season-opening New Zealand Open.

Gates,  who played the Canadian Tour last year, had a 14-under 274 total. He opened with rounds of 65, 67 and 68 in the event also sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.

Gates, had a three stroke lead entering thefinal  round and got to six ahead on the front nine, but he had a double bogey after hitting into the water on the par-3 16th to fall into a tie with Australia’s Andrew Dodt at 14 under, but Dodt made a double bogey on the par-5 17th.  Dodt birdied the final hole for a 72 to finish second.

Jamie Lovemark shot a 68 to finish third at 12 under.

Next up is the Moonah Classic . Allistair Presnell is the 2009 winner .

Phil Mickelson  hinted at legal action for being accused of “cheating,” saying on Saturday that if the U.S. PGA Tour did not do something about him being “publicly slandered,” then he would let others handle it.

The U.S. Golf Association has a new rule this year that irons have V-shaped grooves. However, the Ping-Eye 2 wedges that were made before April 1, 1990 remain approved for play through a Ping lawsuit that was settled 20 years ago and takes precedence over new regulations.
Mickelson is using one of those wedges this week after reading about John Daly and Dean Wilson using them in Hawaii.

Speaking of John Daly, he pulled a Brett Favre this weekend retiring and then unretiring. After he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open a disgusted Daly said he was finished and was retiring.

Early Saturday, Daly said on Twitter that he wasn’t retiring.

It was the second time in six months Daly has said he was retiring. He threatened to quit after shooting 88 in the Buick Open last summer, although his swing coach attributed that to rapid weight loss. Daly went on to play four more times.

He says he needs sometime to get his game together as well as his finances. This appears as if this will be a continuing saga.

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