Monday, March 29, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #75

 ELS HOLDS ON FOR WIN AT BAY HILL
Ernie Els is making an early bid for player of the year by continuing his inspired play. Els made two clutch par putts to win the rain-delayed Arnold Palmer Invitational in a Monday finish for his second PGA Tour victory in a row after a two-year drought.
Coming off a four-shot victory in the World Golf Championship at Doral two weeks ago, Els closed with a 1-under 71 at Bay Hill to win for the 18th time in his PGA Tour career and made it consecutive wins for the first time since 2003.
He was relieved upon holing an 8-foot par putt on the final hole, giving him a two-shot victory over Kevin Na and Edoardo Malinari of Italy.
The victory was worth $1.08 million and put Els atop the PGA Tour money list with more than $3 million. He moves to No. 7 in the world.
Retief Goosen and Chris Couch  tied for fourth.Ben Curtis,  who started the final round one shot out of the lead, closed with a 74 and finished alone in sixth.

Next week is the Shell Houston Open . Paul Casey took home the trophy in 2009.



COUPLES'  TRIPLE PLAY
 Fred Couples is white hot and the Champions Tour is getting burnt. Couples won his third straight start on the 50-and-over tour Sunday, shooting a course-record 10-under 62 at Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada for a two-stroke victory over Corey Pavin in the Cap Cana Championship.
Couples made 11 birdies in the final round and finished the tournament at 21-under 195. Pavin finished with a 66.
The 50-year-old Couples is the first player in Champions Tour history to win three of his first four tournaments, and the eighth to win three straight starts, leaving him one behind the tour record set by Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1987.



SEO IS ON KIA
Hee Kyung Seo, who is not a member of the LPGA Tour, won her first LPGA tournament with a six stroke victory in the Kia Classic.  She received one of the three sponsor’s exemptions to get into the tournament. An 11-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour, she can chose to become an LPGA Tour member this year or next.
After opening with a 70, Seo took the lead with a second-round 67 and had a 69 on Saturday en route to a 12-under 276 total.
The only real blemish on her round was a double bogey when she hit into the water on the par-3 16th. She had six birdies and two bogeys.
South Koreans swept the top four spots, with Inbee Park (65) finishing second, and Jiyai Shin (70) and Jee Young Lee (70) tying for third at 5 under.

The ladies have their first major of the year next at the  Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage. Brittany Lincicome is defending.



OOSTHUIZEN WINS FIRST TITLE
 Louis Oosthuizen, who was knocking on the door last week, earned his first European Tour title after shooting a 3-under 67 Sunday in the final round of the Andalucia Open.
Peter Whiteford of Scotland (66) and Richard Finch of England (67) were tied for second.
Oosthuizen has spent  eight seasons on the European Tour, He had previously finished second  four times, most recently at last weekend’s Hassan 11 Trophy in Morocco after having led into the final round only to be outplayed by  Rhys Davies.
However, from the moment he opened his fourth round in Spain with a successful 22-foot birdie putt on the first green, there appeared to be no threat of him being overtaken again.

Next up is the  Madeira Island Open in Portugal in two weeks.



 ARGENTINIAN WINS IN LOUISIANA
(AP)—Argentina’sFabian Gomez  won the Louisiana Open for first Nationwide Tour title, closing with a 7-under 64 in windy conditions Sunday for a tournament-record six-stroke victory over three playe
The 31-year-old Gomez finished at 15-under 269 on the Le Triomphe Country Club course and earned $99,000.
Kyle Reifers , Scott Gutschewski, and Brian Vranesh tied for second.



IN OTHER NEWS
Tiger Woods will hold a press conference before the Masters at 2 p.m. on Monday, April 5, according to a tentative interview schedule that Augusta National released Wednesday.
It will be his first press conference in nearly five months, and his first time facing a room full of reporters since he crashed his SUV on Nov. 27, setting off an epic sex scandal..



MichelleWie made a splash at the Kia Classic but lost yet another rules dispute. Wie was five shots off the lead when she hit her ball into the water’s edge near the 11th green. With her right foot in the water and left foot on the bank, she barely splashed the ball onto the shore. After water fell all over her, and after finishing her swing, she set her club onto the ground with her left hand, within the red hazard line.
Not long after holing out at the 11th for what she thought was a par save, Wie was informed that she incurred a two-shot penalty for grounding her club. After the round, in a Golf Channel truck, Wie and rules officials engaged in a classic golf rules debate.
Wie conceded that it did not look as if she was using the club to help her catch her balance but that she actually was. She raised some good points in whether rules officials were making assumptions of facts they could not know.
Wie said the splash of water caused her to close her eyes, and set the club down instinctively to feel her balance.
LPGA rules chief Doug Brecht told Wie he and two other rules officials could see no evidence that she was off balance. Without the two shot penalty, Wie, would have finished second, instead she finished in a tie for sixth and lost about $91,000 dollars.(Golf Channel)



(AP)—Louis Oosthuizen and K.J. Choi were among five players to move into the top 50 in the world rankings and earn a spot in the Masters, which could have its largest field in 44 years.
Oosthuizen, the 27-year-old South African who lost a 54-hole lead a week ago in Morocco, won his first European Tour event Sunday at the Andalucia Open in Spain. He earned enough points to move into the top 50.
Choi closed with a 1-over 73 and was tied for 17th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational when the final round was suspended by weather. Choi, who moved up to No. 48 with his runner-up finish a week ago at Innisbrook, will stay in the top 50.
Augusta National takes the top 50 players in the world ranking to be published Monday. The only other way to qualify now is for someone not already eligible to win the Houston Open next week.
The other three players to qualify for the Masters through the world ranking are Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Alvaro Quiros of Spain and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.



Thats it for this week

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