Sunday, September 26, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 9-26-2010

 FURYK COMES UP BIG
Jim Furyk capped off a terrific year by winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup in a rainy day in Georgia.

He came to the final hole holding on to a thin one stroke lead after bogeying 17. Furyk then hit his tee shot , at the par 3 18th into a greenside bunker. With a 10 million dollar bonus riding on the shot , Furyk nearly holed the bunker shot and knocked in the 2 1/2 -foot par putt he had left to win the Tour Championship and capture a FedEx Cup that came down to the very last hole.

Furyk closed with an even-par 70 and a one-shot victory over Luke Donald in a steady rain at East Lake.
Donald, who chipped in from 100 feet for birdie on the 17th hole to keep his hopes alive, was waiting in the scoring trailer when Furyk hit his hybrid on the 230-yard closing hole into the bunker. A bogey would mean a sudden-death playoff to decide the FedEx Cup.

In its fourth year, it was by far the best of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Coming down to the final holes  five players  had a chance to win the cup including Nick Watney, who started the week as the No. 28 seed in a 30-man field.

It was all in Furyk’s hands when he birdied the 15th to build a three-shot lead, and Paul Casey bogeyed the 17th hole ahead of him. But Furyk had to scramble for bogey on the 16th, couldn’t reach the green on the 17th and made another bogey as he watched his lead slip to a single shot playing one of the toughest holes at East Lake.

Furyk was the No. 3 seed when the playoffs began, but was disqualified from the opener when he missed his pro-am time at The Barclays because the battery died in his cell phone, which he used for an alarm.

In the end, Furyk joined Tiger Woods as the only FedEx Cup champions to miss the first playoff event—Woods in 2007 because he didn’t want to play, Furyk this year because he couldn’t.

Furyk also became the first player to be outside the top 10 in the standings at the Tour Championship to win. Matt Kuchar, the No. 1 seed, shot a 71 and tied for 25th. This Sunday was so bizarre that Kuchar still had a chance to win the FedEx Cup.

Kuchar wound up second in the FedEx Cup and earns a $3 million bonus. Donald, who closed with a 70, moved up to third in the standings and picked up an extra $2 million.

With Furyk winning his third tournament of the year, he throws his name in the hat for PGA Tour player of the year consideration. No one else has won more than twice.

Next up is the Ryder Cup and the Viking Classic.



COCHRAN MAKES IT TWO IN A ROW
Russ Cochran is red hot. He won his second straight Champions Tour title, shooting a 1-under 71 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Tom Pernice Jr. in the SAS Championship.

Cochran, a winner for the first time on the 50-and-over tour weeks ago in South Korea, became the third wire-to-wire winner in tournament history, finishing at 14 under.

John Cook was third at 10 under, and Bernhard Langer, Mark Calcavecchia, Bobby Clampett and Ted Schulz  followed at 9 under.

Cochran bogeyed two of the first three holes, then played the final 15 in 3 under—birdieing Nos. 16 and 17to take the title.

Pernice eagled the par-5 17th to pull within one, but Cochran pulled away with his late birdies.

 Next up is the  Ensure Classic at Rock Barn.  Jay Haas defends.

 


 PARRY WINS ON EUROPEAN TOUR
John Parry of England captured his first European Tour title Sunday, winning the Vivendi Cup by two strokes over Johan Edfors of Sweden after shooting a 2-under 70.

The 23-year-old Parry, a former Walker Cup player who turned professional in 2007, finished at 17-under 271 at Golf de Joyenval Club.

Edfors had a 71 to finish a stroke ahead of five players: Francois Delamontagne of France, Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden  and Soren Kjeldsen and Mark Haastrup , both of Denmark.

Padraig Harrington showed signs of rounding into form ahead of the Ryder Cup, which begins Friday at Celtic Manor. The Irishman shot a 64 to finish tied for eighth at 13 under, ending the weekend with 15 birdies and an eagle.



SMITH WINS WNB CLASSIC
Nate Smith won the WNB Golf Classic for his first Nationwide Tour title, shooting a 6-under 66 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Alistair Presnell, Fabian Gomez and Brandt Jobe.

Smith, the 27-year-old former Duke player in his first season on the tour, finished at 18 under on the Midland Country Club course. He jumped from 78th to 25th on the money list . The final top 25 on the money list will earn 2011 PGA Tour cards.

Presnell closed with a 65, Gomez shot a 66, and Jobe had a 68.



IN OTHER NEWS
Construction of Tiger Woods' first American golf course, The Cliffs at High Carolina near Asheville, N.C., is back in full swing after developers agreed to reduce the planned impact the layout would have on area trout streams by almost half the original design.

Woods said in a statement Thursday that new routing makes the course a tad shorter and some of the walks between greens and tees a little longer, but does not take away from his intent to have a walkable, mountain course with breathtaking views.



U.S. captain Corey Pavin says the Phil Mickelson’s wife is planning to make the trip to the Ryder Cup.

Amy Mickelson has only been to the golf course one time since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2009. She showed up in the final hour at Augusta National to watch her husband win the Masters for the third time. So that is good news as she continues to get better.




Ryder Cup rookie Peter Hanson of Sweden has withdrawn from the French Vivendi Cup due to an illness just over a week before he is due to tee off for the European team.

The 32-year-old advised officials Thursday he is struggling with a head cold, chest infection and fever.

Hanson will return home from France, but hopes to recover before heading to the Celtic Manor course in Wales on Monday for the Oct. 1-3 Ryder Cup.

That's it for this week

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