Sunday, February 7, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #66

 STRICKER TAKES NORTHERN TRUST OPEN
Steve Stricker spent the winter working on his game and trying to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. His work paid off as he wins the Northern Trust Open by two strokes over Luke Donald.

Stricker came into the final round with a six stroke lead, but he led by only two shots after five holes, and still didn’t feel as though he had the tournament wrapped up until he tapped in for a 1 under 70 giving him the two stroke victory over Luke Donald.

Donald had all the momentum on the front nine until missing consecutive putts inside 10 feet. He never got any closer the rest of the day and closed with a 66. Dustin Johnson had a 66 and J.B. Holmes shot 67 to tie for third.

Stricker, the runner-up at Riviera last year, has won four of his last 15 starts and is now the #2 ranked player in the world passing  Phil Mickelson.




 WESTWOOD LOSES IN PLAYOFF 
Miguel Angel Jiminez defeated Lee Westwood on the third hole of a sudden death playoff Sunday to win the Dubai Desert Classic. Westwood missed a 5-foot par putt on the third playoff hole leaving Jimenez with a 4-footer for the win, which he calmy sank.

The two men  went into the last day with a share of the lead and shot an even-par 72 in the final round, with Westwood making a birdie on the 18th to force the playoff.


Westwood then missed two birdie putts from within 20 feet on the first two playoff holes that could have clinched the win, while Jimenez made a 12-footer on the second to save par
.
Thongchai Jaidee and Alvaro Quiros were also tied for the overnight lead but faded in the final round. Thongchai shot a 73 to finish third, while Quiros ended up in a tie for sixth after a 75 as strong crosswinds and faster greens led to higher score.

The win was Angel's 16th career victory

The European Tour moves to India for a new event the  Avantha Masters at the DLF Golf Club in Dehli. This tournament is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour.



AND ON THE NATIONWIDE TOUR A PLAYOFF
In yet another playoff this weekend, Jim Herman, who had not made the cut in his last seven tournaments, won the Moonah Classic with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff against fellow American Chris Kirk
.
Herman shot a course-record 62 on the opening day and led or held a share of the lead throughout the joint U.S. Nationwide and Australasian PGA tour event.

Kirk and Herman finished with a 72-hole total of 11-under 277 on the Moonah Links course. Kirk bogeyed the 17th and missed a 4-foot putt for birdie on 18 that would have given him the win. Both shot 70s Sunday.

On the playoff hole, the par-5 18th, Herman hit his approach to about five feet, where he made the birdie putt for the title. Kirk was in trouble off the tee, hitting into rough on the left side of the fairway.

Last weeks winner, Robert Gates, finished third ,one stroke back.

Australian Jarrod Lyle, who lost his U.S. PGA tour card last year, finished tied for fourth with American Tag Ridings, two strokes back.

The Tour takes of the next two weeks and will return with the  Panama Claro Championship in Panama.
Vance Veazey is the 2009 winner.




IN OTHER NEWS
The PGA Tour and Synchro Sports have reached a three-year deal for a Champions Tour event in Canada, at the Fontainebleau Golf Club in Boisbriand.


The inaugural 54-hole Montreal Championship, featuring a 78-player field, will be played July 2-4 at the ClubLink course.

Synchro Sports will serve as the host organization and tournament promoter.



Luke Donald has extended his long-standing equipment relationship with Mizuno by signing a new multi-year agreement, company officials have announced.

The contract is Luke Donald's third with Mizuno, ensuring he enters his prime competitive years with the equipment brand used since his amateur days.

Donald is fully recovered from a wrist injury that plaqued him last season. He is healthy and ready to go after evaluating his game and making some changes, but his equipment supplier will remain the same.



Phil Mickelson will not use the Ping wedges that have caused controversy the last few weeks even though he
others will use the controversial club to keep attention on what he calls a ridiculous rule.

Mickelson vented his anger at the USGA and its lack of transparency in developing the new rules for grooves. He has complained that he's submitted wedges that fit the guidelines, only for the USGA to reject the club for violating the intent of the new rule.

That's it for this week.

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