Sunday, January 16, 2011

1-16-2011

WILSON WINS SONY OPEN
Mark Wilson won his third career PGA Tour tournament at the Sony Open.  Wilson outlasted the field on a final day 36 hole marathon to gain the two stroke victory over Steve Marino and Tim Clark.


Wilson  made it through Sunday  without a bogey and held on for a two-shot victory that earns him his first trip to the Masters.


Wilson shot a 5-under 65 in the morning to take a one-shot lead into the afternoon round. He built a four-shot lead at the turn, then had to hang on as Clark and Marino made late run.

Clark birdied three of his last four holes, and narrowly missed an eagle putt on the ninth hole for a 64.

Marino made two late birdies, then hit a fairway metal with his feet in the bunker and the ball on the side of a hill about chest-high. He managed to reach the green, but his eagle putt turned away for a 68.
Wilson made one last birdie for a 67 to earn his victory.




 SCHWARTZEL DOUBLES UP
Charl Schwartzel successfully defended his Joburg Open title on Sunday, birdieing the last hole for a 4-under 67 that gave him a four-stroke victory.

The South African finished at 19-under 265, overcoming a midround wobble at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Overnight co-leader and compatriot Garth Mulroy shot a 71 to finish second in the last of four events on the European Tour’s season-opening South African swing.

Thomas Aiken, also of South Africa, had a 72 and was another shot back in third. England’s Jamie Elson was another stroke back in fourth, one shot ahead of Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, who was alone in fifth.

The top five players all qualified for next week’s $2.7 million Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Schwartzel, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 32, had six birdies and two bogeys in the final round , but fired a string of wayward tee and approach shots and was forced to scramble to stay ahead.

He bogeyed Nos. 4 and 9, and struggled to save par on Nos. 10-11 before he moved three shots clear with a chip-in birdie from the bunker on No. 13 after which his lead was never threatened.



   IN OTHER NEWS

The LPGA Tour has denied the request of 15-year-old Alexis Thompson to double the amount of exemptions she is allowed. But under a change in open qualifying, the teenager can earn her way into tournaments.


Thompson has asked for a limited membership that would allow her to take as many as 12 sponsor exemptions instead of six.

In denying the request, LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan said she would be able to pursue additional playing opportunities by trying to qualify on Monday. Until this year, only LPGA Tour members were allowed to Monday qualify.

Thompson, who turns 16 next month, earned the equivalent of 34th on the LPGA money list last year. Her best finish was second place at the Evian Masters.



Ernie Els has reached a point in his career where he will not be traveling as far, and making decisions based as much on his business ventures as the golf itself.


One of the first tournaments to go is the Scottish Open, which he has won twice and played the last nine years.

Els signed an endorsement deal with the Royal Bank of Canada, the title sponsor of the Canadian Open. The third-oldest national championship in golf falls at an awkward time in the PGA Tour schedule—one week after the British Open, two weeks before the start of a grueling stretch that includes a World Golf Championship, the PGA Championship and four FedEx Cup playoff events.

The Big Easy said he would be there.

Els said he wants to focus more on America, where he now spends most of his time, and where his children are in school. He also is trying to raise money for an autism center in Florida.



Golfers at a South Florida course found their game took an unusual turn Saturday afternoon, as a single-engine plane was forced to make an emergency landing in front of them.

One player, told a local tv station that  the pilot made a perfect landing near the seventh hole as he was about to putt for par on the eighth. He missed the putt.


Pilot Annette Simon, 35, who landed her aircraft on the Greynolds Park Golf Course in North Miami Beach after she heard an unusual noise and experienced engine roughness, said she checked to make sure no one was on the green as she landed.

Simon’s plane was carrying an advertisement banner, which she released before landing safely. The plane later took off again and landed at North Perry Airport.



Young guns, move over, because we have a veteran in Hawaii that defines all parts of the word. Dave Eichelberger,  a four-time PGA Tour winner, qualified for this week's Sony Open, and has a chance to become the oldest player ever to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

How did he get there? By shooting his age, a 67, at the Aloha Section Stroke Play Championship back in September. The announcement was made in early September that the winner of the event would get a spot on the Sony, and Eichelberger is pleased to be back on the PGA Tour.

So how did he do? He missed the cut after rounds of 76 and 78.



Congratulations to Hunter Mahan and Kandi Harris, the latest marriage on the golf scene. Hunter and the new Kandi Mahan were married Jan. 15.





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