Monday, March 8, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY # 71

 VILLEGAS RIDES AWAY AT HONDA
 CamilloVillegas shot a final-round 68 to win the Honda Classic by five shots Sunday over Anthony Kim for his third PGA Tour victory .

He finished at 13-under 267, the lowest 72-hole score since the Honda moved to PGA National in 2007, four shots better than Y,E Yang's winning total a year ago. And Villegas made it look easy most of the way, too, capping his day with a 20-footer for birdie, then raising both hands skyward.

Villegas  led by only two after Vijay Singh  made a 45-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth, but three straight birdies—starting with a 25-footer on No. 8—sent Villegas to 15 under and six shots clear of the field. After that the putter went cold. Lucky for him nobody made a run at him.

Villegas missed short par putts on 11 and 12, three-putted from 50 feet on the par-3 15th for another bogey, but never lost control of the lead and ended up pocketing the $1.008 million winner’s share.

He  finally acknowledged the crowd as he walked up 18, waving and secure in the knowledge that he was getting his first victory since the Tour Championship in 2008.

Kim shot 67 and Rose had by far the best round of the day, a 64 that was three shots better than anyone else. Paul Casey  and Vijay Singh  tied for fourth, seven shots back.
Sam Saunders , Arnold Palmer’s grandson, shot a 73 and  finished the week at even par.

Next week is WGC CA Championship as well as the Puerto Rico Open. Phil Mickelson defends at the CA and Michael Bradley is the Puerto Rico Open.




WEBB WINS LADIES MASTERS DOWN UNDER
Karrie Webb won her seventh Australian Ladies Masters title Sunday, closing with a course-record 11-under 61 for a six-stroke victory.


Webb, a stroke ahead of defending champion Katherine Hull and South Korea’s Lee Bo-mee entering the final round, finished at 26-under 262 on the Royal Pines course to match the tournament record she set in 1999.

Webb holed a 9-iron approach from about 125 yards for eagle on the par-4 seventh and made a 30-foot putt on No. 18 for her ninth birdie of the round. She broke the course record of 62 set last year by Kristie Smith.

Hull and Lee, bogey-free in four rounds, shot 66s to tie for second in the event sanctioned by Australian Ladies Professional Golf and the Ladies European Tour.





 COUPLES WINS SECOND TITLE
Fred Couples won his second straight Champions Tour title, shooting a 6-under 65 for a four-stroke victory Sunday in the Toshiba Classic.

Couples, making his third start on the 50-and-over tour, had an 18-under 195 total on the Newport Beach Country Club course. He won the ACE Group Classic on Feb. 14 in Florida and finished second behind Tom Watson in the season-opening event in Hawaii. Last week, Couples tied for 14th in the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open.

Couples earned $255,000 to push his tour-leading total to $691,000.
Ronnie Black finished second. Tom Lehman and Chien Soon Lu tied for third at 12 under, and Watson  and Loren Roberts followed at 11 under.

Couples played the front nine in 1 under Sunday, then had a 5-under 31 on the final nine holes—making an eagle, four birdies and a bogey.

Couples hit a wedge into No. 12 that stopped a foot from the hole, then made a 3-footer for another birdie on 13.

But Couples made a mistake on the par-3 14th when he missed the green and was unable to get up and down for par. Black made an eagle on No. 15, to cut the lead to two again, but wasn’t able to get any closer.

Couples reached the par-5 15th hole in two and made a 12-foot eagle putt to extend his lead to four. He birdied the following hole and even birdied the 18th after his second shot hit the side of the grandstand to the right of the green. He hit a wedge to 20 feet and rolled in the birdie putt.

The over 50 set  take the next few weeks off but return at the end of the month with the Cap Cana Championship. Keith Fergus is the defending champion.




PATE WINS IN BOGOTA
Steve Pate  became the oldest champion in Nationwide Tour history, winning the Bogota Open on Sunday when Aaron Watkins missed a 3-foot par putt on the second hole of a playoff.

At 48 years, 9 months, 11 days, Pate broke the tour record of 48 years, 6 months, 17 days set by Dick Mast in the 1999 New Mexico Classic.

Pate won for the first time since the 1998 CVS Charity Classic, the last of his six PGA Tour titles. The victory drought spanned 245 starts (173 PGA Tour, 72 Nationwide Tour) and lasted 11 years, 7 months, 11 days.

Pate closed with an even-par 71 to match Watkins (68) at 11-under 273 on the Bogota Country Club course. Jamie Lovemark  matched the course record with a 65 to tie for third at 9 under withWilliam McGirt  and Tag Ridings.

Pate eagled the par-5 13th, holing a 35-footer, to pull within a stroke of Watkins and grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on No. 17. Pate had a chance to win on the par-5 18th, but his 25-foot birdie try slid over the edge of the cup.

Playing the par-5 18th again in the playoff, both players parred the first extra hole. Pate missed a 10-foot birdie try, and Watkins two-putted from 40 feet.

Watkins then missed his short birdie try on the second extra hole to end it.

The Tour takes off the next few weeks and will return for the Chitimacha Louisiana Open. Bubba Dickerson defends.



IN OTHER NEWS
Tiger Woods did not enter the field for next week’s CA Championship at Doral, marking the first time he’ll miss that World Golf Championship event. Players had until 5 p.m. Friday to commit to that event.

In all, 64 players will be at Doral, including Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson, the two players immediately behind Woods in the world ranking.



The New York Post reports that the Academy Awards bosses deleted a series of rude Tiger Woods jokes from the script. A well-placed source tells us writers penned cracks about the golfer's cheating scandal for hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to deliver. But the lines have been nixed by producers. The source said, "Some of the Tiger jokes were deemed too rude."





Miami Children's Hospital will open the first Nicklaus Care Center in Palm Beach County in 2010, hospital officials have announced. The Miami Children's Hospital Nicklaus Care Center will deliver medical care from pediatric craniofacial, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology and orthopedic specialists to a stand-alone clinic at a to-be-announced location in Palm Beach County.


With support from the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, medical specialists from the not-for-profit hospital will offer new options to Palm Beach County-area families with children who have special medical needs.



The Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation focused on providing charitable support to organizations and initiatives that advance and enhance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood diseases and disorders.


That will wrap it up for this week.

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Until next week.



















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