Sunday, November 21, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 11-21-2010

 POULTER CAPTURES HONG KONG OPEN
Ian Poulter held off a spirited challenge from Italian youngster Matteo Manassero to win the Hong Kong Open by one stroke Sunday, returning to the top 10 in the world rankings.

The 17-year-old Manassero shot an 8-under 62 at the Fanling course and finished at 21-under 259, but Poulter’s 67 was enough to secure his 10th win on the European Tour.

“I felt comfortable the whole day, the way I was hitting it,” Poulter said. “I was hitting it inside 12 feet at pretty much nearly every hole out there and I knew if I kept doing that I would be very tough to beat.”
Matteo Manassero of Italy hits the ball at the 17th hole during the final day at the Hong Kong Open golf tournament on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.

Simon Dyson tied Manassero for second after a 65, while American Anthony Kang finished fourth, a stroke further back.

Poulter led Graeme McDowell by two shots heading into the final round, but the U.S. Open champion’s challenge was all but over by the third hole after a pair of bogeys. He finished fifth at 20 under after closing with a 68.

Still, McDowell reduced his deficit to European money leader Martin Kaymer to $293,000 ahead of next week’s season-ending Dubai World Championship.
Not even a bogey at the last—only his second of the tournament—could deny the 34-year-old Poulter as he won his second European Tour event of the season.



MALLINGER TAKES INVITATIONAL
John Mallinger won the Pebble Beach Invitational on Sunday, birdieing four of the last six holes for a 4-under 68 and a two-stroke victory over Jason Gore.

Mallinger, who lost his fully exempt PGA Tour status after finishing 133rd on the money list, made a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to finish at 15-under 273 in the event featuring 76 male and female players. He earned $60,000 in the $300,000 tournament sponsored by Callaway Golf.

Gore, who will join Mallinger in the PGA Tour’s final qualifying tournament, closed with a 65.

Pat Perez (65) and Champions Tour player Russ Cochran (71) tied for third at 11 under.

Annika Sorenstam, completing her first 72-hole tournament since her LPGA Tour retirement in 2008, shot a 73 to finish at 3 under.



CLEARWATER WINS QUALIFIERS
Two-time PGA Tour winner Keith Clearwater won the Champions Tour’s national qualifying tournament Friday, closing with an even-par 72 in windy conditions at TPC Eagle Trace for a three-stroke victory over Lee Rinker, Frankie Minoza and Phil Blackmar.

The 51-year-old Clearwater finished at 16-under 272 to earn the first of five fully exempt spot on the 2011 tour. He shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday.

Minoza shot a 67, Blackmar had a 68, and Rinker closed with a 72.

John Morse earned the fifth and final fully exempt spot, beating Robert Thompson and Roger Chapman with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff. Morse missed a 4-foot par putt on the final hole of regulation to drop into a tie with Thompson and Chapman at 12 under.



 IN OTHER NEWS
Mark O’Meara and Nick Price won the 19th annual ADT Golf Skills Challenge at The Breakers on Monday.

The duo beat Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson in the reverse scramble final, in which teams picked the worst shot of the opponents to be played throughout the 4-par, 10th hole.

The finalists had to play out the hole twice to come up with the winners after both teams shot par on the first go around.

On the second attempt, Price holed for par, which was good enough to win. O’Meara, Couples and Johnson were unable to par the hole.

Couples and Johnson won four of the six skills challenges: long drive, mid-iron, trouble shot, and short iron. Price and O’Meara won the chip shot.

Rickie Fowler and Scott Verplank were third and won the bunker-shot challenge.




Jim Furyk won the PGA Tour Player of the Year. Furyk was the king of this season, he was the only  player to win more than two times. The 40-year-old Furyk was victorious at the Transitions Championship, Verizon Heritage and Tour Championship, which helped vault him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings and the $10 million bonus.

Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar were just behind Furyk with 50 points to Jim's 60, with Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson rounding out the top five.

 Kuchar, who finished with the PGA Tour's lowest scoring average of the season, won the Vardon Trophy, an award for just that stat. Kuchar's final number landed at 69.61, just five one-hundredths better than Stricker.

This is the first time since 2006 that two different Americans won both the Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy, when Woods took home the former trophy and Furyk the latter.

Hockey star Wayne Gretzky, the only non-professional golfer in the field, teamed with Ricky Barnes to come in fourth. Their team earned $132,000, and Gretzky was donating his portion of the money to his charity.



In-Kyung Kim won the Loena Ochoa Invitational and gave her winnings way.  Half of the $220,000 she won went to Lorena's charity, which funds educational programs for Mexican youth, and the other half is headed towards a charity in the United States.

You might think that a pro golfer donating winnings isn't a big deal, but you have to understand, the LPGA isn't like the PGA Tour. Golfers don't dive in their vault of gold coins on the LPGA Tour, and this amount is nearly 20 percent of her entire earnings for the season.



The Ladies European Tour says nine candidates have declared an interest in hosting the Solheim Cup between Europe and the United States in 2015.

Six of the nine have made their bids public while the other three wish to remain anonymous after the deadline for applications passed Oct. 29.

Germany has bidders in Hamburg and Berlin while Spain has candidates in La Manga and an unspecified course on the Costa del Sol. The Prosper Golf Resort in Celadna, Czech Republic, and the Forest Pines Resort in Lincolnshire, England, also intend to bid.

The Tour will announce the winning bid in 2011.



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