Sunday, April 24, 2011

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 4-24-2011

 SNEDEKER WINS HERITAGE
Brandt Snedeker won The Heritage in a playoff with overnight leader Luke Donald on Sunday, denying Donald the chance to become world number for the first time on Monday.

Snedeker clinched his second PGA Tour title at the third extra hole, the par-four 18th, where he safely parred after narrowly missing a birdie attempt from 15 feet.

Englishman Donald bogeyed the hole after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker from where he was unable to get up and down from a buried lie, lipping out with his par chip from the fringe.

In late afternoon sunshine at Harbour Town Golf Links, the first two playoff holes were halved in nerve-jangling fashion as Snedeker and Donald each began birdie, par.

Donald pumped his right fist in delight after sinking a downhill birdie putt from 12 feet at the first extra hole, also the 18th, before the American followed suit from 10 feet.
They then parred the short 17th, Donald getting up and down from the front greenside bunker and Snedeker two-putting from just off the green.

The pair had finished the 72 regulation holes on 12-under-par 272, world number three Donald parring the last for a one-under 70 and Snedeker closing with a sizzling nine-birdie 64.

American Tommy Gainey, bidding for his maiden PGA Tour victory, finished alone in third place at 11 under after closing with a 68.

A stroke in front going into the final round, Donald slipped back early on to trail two different leaders  Snedeker and American Ricky Barnes on a wildly fluctuating afternoon before regaining his poise on the back nine.

He knocked in an 18-foot birdie putt at the 13th to draw level with Snedeker at 12 under and then narrowly missed a birdie opportunity from seven feet at the 16th to claim the outright lead.

Donald again seemed to be in trouble at the last where his approach ended up in the front bunker but he coolly got up and down from there to take the tournament into a playoff.

Snedeker, a distant six strokes off the pace after the third round, birdied five of the first seven holes before reaching the turn in six-under 30 to surge into title contention.

Although he failed to maintain that red-hot momentum over the back nine, he knocked in a 12-footer to birdie the last and hold the clubhouse lead at 12 under.

Snedeker then had to wait for almost two hours to see if he would be overhauled by any of the later starters.



WESTWOOD REGAINS #1 RANKING WITH VICTORY
Lee Westwood won the Indonesian Masters on Sunday and ended up regaining the No. 1 spot in the world when Luke Donald lost a playoff in the PGA Tour event in South Carolina.

Donald would have jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 with a victory, but lost to Brandt Snedeker on the second hole of a playoff in The Heritage at Hilton Head Island
After waiting out a lightning delay on the final hole, Westwood finished off a 3-under 69 for a three-stroke victory over Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

The English star, ranked second behind Martin Kaymer entering the week, won on his 38th birthday.
Asked what he wanted for his birthday, Westwood replied, “Something silver and shiny.”

As he stepped off the 18th green a portion of the gallery sang “Happy Birthday.”

Westwood finished at 19-under 269 in the Asian Tour event at Royale Jakarta. He took a five-stroke lead into the final day after opening with rounds of 68, 66 and 66.



 EGER AND MCNULTY TAKE LEGENDS OF GOLF CROWN
The putt to extend the playoff looked like a tap-in to Kenny Perry. Maybe 14 inches. His opponents saw it as somewhat longer. Closer to 3 feet, they said. But Perry missed it.

As a result, David Eger and Mark McNulty won the better-ball Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf on the second playoff hole Sunday against Perry and Scott Hoch.

Eger and McNulty, who started four shots off the lead in the 54-hole event at The Club at Savannah Harbor, shot 11-under 61 in the final round for 27-under 189. Perry and Hoch shot 64 to get into the playoff.

Second-round co-leaders Wayne Levi and Keith Fergus finished with 66 for 26-under 190, tied for third with Russ Cochran and Mark Weibe, David Frost and Michael Allen, Corey Pavin and Tom Lehman and Ian Baker-Finch and Joe Ozaki.

In the playoff, both teams settled for par on the 18th, a 457-yard, par-4. They returned to play the hole again. This time, all four players failed to hold the sloped green with their approaches but all chipped fairly close.

But it ended when, after McNulty tapped in for par, Hoch and Perry both missed short putts to extend the match—Perry’s ball lipping out.

McNulty said afterward that Perry’s ball was outside his, which he estimated to be about three feet from the cup. Still, it was a putt nearly everyone figured Perry could easily tap in.

Perry-Hoch came to the final hole at 27-under, tied with McNulty-Eger, who had been in the clubhouse for nearly an hour. Perry’s birdie putt for the outright lead from about 30 feet hit the right edge of the cup but wouldn’t fall.

Eger had made a putt of nearly 40 feet on the final hole of regulation to get his team into the playoff.
Perry, who played in only two Champions Tour events in 2010, is still considered a rookie on the senior circuit. This was his second senior event this season and his first Legends.

It was the third consecutive year the Legends has been decided by a playoff on the island layout in the Savannah River, each time going two extra holes.

 Tom Lehman remained atop the Schwab Cup standings with 850 points, 290 ahead of John Cook who withdrew after teammate Joey Sindelar hurt his back and was unable to continue.






COLSAERTS  SETS RECORD AT CHINA OPEN
Nicolas Colsaerts set a tournament record at the China Open on Sunday, finishing at 24 under to win by four shots over a group of four players.

The Belgian, who regained his European Tour card only last year, made six birdies in a 6-under 66 to total 264 and beat the old mark by five strokes.

Pablo Martin of Spain, Peter Lawrie of Ireland, Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark and Danny Lee of New Zealand  were next at Luxehills International Country Club in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Prayad Marksaeng in 1996 and Ed Fryatt in 1998 both totaled 19 under to win the tournament.










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