Sunday, May 22, 2011

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 5-22-2011

TOMS GETS HIS ELUSIVE VICTORY
After a week after losing in a playoff and a day after blowing a seven-stroke lead at Colonial to go into the final round trailing, the David Toms shot a 3-under 67 on Sunday to win at Colonial.

Toms regained the lead for good from Charlie Wi with an eagle with a wedge shot from 83 yards at the par-5 11th hole, and finished 15 under a stroke ahead of Wi.

Toms’ long-elusive 13th career victory came a week after a playoff loss to K.J. Choi at The Players Championship, when he missed a short par putt on the extra hole for his sixth runner-up finish since last winning in January 2006 at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Wi started the final round with a one-shot lead that he quickly expanded with birdies on the first two holes. He finished with a 69 for his fourth career runner-up finish without a win.

After that playoff loss at TPC Sawgrass, Toms had an opening 62 at Colonial for his best score in 429 rounds since a career-best 61 during in his Hawaii victory. Toms followed with another bogey-free 62 to match the PGA Tour scoring record for the first 36 holes of a tournament , and opened the third round with another birdie.

At 17 under through 37 holes and seemingly in control, Toms instead had three bogeys in the next five holes. There was later a three-putt from 7 1/2 feet for double bogey and Wi took the lead with a 32-foot birdie at the par-3 16th Saturday.

Wi, the 39-year-old South Korean who made his 100th cut on the PGA Tour this weekend, had the two opening birdies Sunday while playing partner Toms missed both greens but managed pars.

Toms finally caught up at 13 under after Wi missed the green with his approach at the par-4 10th and two-putted from 13 feet for a bogey.

The clincher for Toms came on Colonial’s longest hole, the 635-yard 11th.

After laying up to a perfect spot short of the green, and Wi’s ball sitting in a frontside bunker, Toms’ wedge shot from 83 yards bounced once, landed just behind the pin and then rolled back into the cup.

Toms pumped his arms over his head with a wide smile on his face before Wi blasted to 4 1/2 feet for a birdie putt that still had him a stroke behind.

Wi then hit out of the same fairway bunker twice at the par-4 12th hole after his errant drive. He managed a bogey after finally hitting out of the fairway to 7 feet, but Toms’ 5-foot par stretched his lead to two strokes.

Toms became the first player on the PGA Tour to rebound from a playoff loss one week to winning the next since 2000, when Phil Mickelson won at Colonial after losing in a playoff at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Bo Van Pelt (65) finished third at 10 under. Defending Colonial champion Zach Johnson also shot a closing 65 to finish at 9 under in fourth place, while Robert Karlsson (67) and Chez Reavie (68) were 8 under.

After a bogey at No. 4 when his tee shot at the difficult 247-yard par 3 missed the green left, Wi quickly rebounded by draining a 35-foot birdie putt at the 481-yard 5th hole. He pumped his right fist and smiled, still with a three-stroke with Toms still even on the day.
But things soon started to change.

At No. 6, Toms putted off the fringe with an 18-foot birdie chance that slid just past the hole. He still gained a stroke when Wi missed a 4-foot par putt. The margin was down to one after Toms’ birdie at the 440-yard No. 7 hole, when he hit his approach to 10 feet.

Wi made another birdie on the 192-yard 16th hole Sunday, an 8-footer. But Toms sank a 4 1/2 -foot par to maintain his two-stroke edge, and give him a needed margin since he bogeyed the 17th hole after his approach into a greenside bunker.

    


PETTERSEN WINS SYBASE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Suzann Pettersen beat Cristie Kerr 1-up to win the Sybase Match Play Championship on Sunday, ending a 20-month victory drought.

Leading 1-up and with Kerr facing a 10-foot birdie attempt on the par-5 18th, Pettersen curled in a left to-right 15-footer for birdie to seal the victory on the cold, damp overcast day that probably made the 30-year-old Norwegian star fell as if she was back home.

Pettersen, who beat top-seeded Na Yeon Choi of South Korea 4 and 2 in the semifinals Sunday morning, never trailed in the match in winning for the first time since the Canadian Women’s Open in September 2009, and for the seventh time in her LPGA Tour career.

The No. 3 ranked woman finished second six times last year and 12 times since 2007, a year she won five times, including the LPGA Championship.

The No. 4 Kerr, who won the final two holes in beating Angela Stanford 1-up in the semis, had her putter to blame for failing to win for the 15th time on tour. The American missed four putts of less than 10 feet—all for hole victories.

However, she also made a 3-foot par save on No. 16 to keep the match alive and a 10-footer for birdie on the next hole to cut Pettersen’s lead to 1-up.

Pettersen ended the run and the match with her dramatic putt at the magical 18th hole. She played it four times and birdied it every time to win matches. She dispatched Natalie Gulbis in the first round, Stacy Lewis in the round of 16, Yani Tseng in the quarterfinals and Kerr in the championship.

  


POULTER TAKES WORLD MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Ian Poulter denied Luke Donald the top spot in the world golf rankings Sunday, beating his fellow Englishman 2 and 1 in the final of the World Match Play Championship to claim his first title of 2011.

The second-ranked Donald could have risen to No. 1 for the first time, supplanting compatriot Lee Westwood if he’d won the tournament in Andalusia, but he failed to find the consistent form that swept him to the final.

Poulter, who ousted Westwood in the last 16, was 1 down to his Ryder Cup teammate on three occasions in an error-strewn match, but a 45-foot putt won the 12th hole and birdies on the 14th and 16th sealed Donald’s fate

Poulter picked up a winner’s check for $1.14 million and became the first player to win both match play titles, having won the Accenture tournament last year.

Donald won the 2011 edition of that event in Arizona in February and came into the final on a 14-match winning streak in match play, which included victories in singles and doubles at last year’s Ryder Cup.

But just like he did last month—when he lost a playoff to Brandt Snedeker at The Heritage in South Carolina—Donald missed an opportunity to climb to No. 1, acknowledging fatigue had caught up with him in southern Spain.

Poulter, who beat Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts on the first playoff hole in the second semifinal earlier Sunday, had been taken to at least 18 holes in his five previous matches on the Finca Cortesin course this week.

Donald, on the other hand, had marched relentlessly to the final despite struggling with a throat infection, looking imperious in overwhelming third-ranked Martin Kaymer in the semifinal.



MICHAEL HOEY WINS MADEIRA ISLANDS OPEN
Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey won the Madeira Islands Open for his second European Tour title, closing with a 1-under 71 for a two-stroke victory.

Hoey, also the 2009 Estoril Open winner, had a 10-under 278 total at Porto Santo Golf, the Seve Ballesteros-designed course that features 500-foot seaside cliffs

Englishmen Chris Gane and Jamie Elson tied for second in the event also sanctioned by the developmental European Challenge Tour.





MULROY WINS NATIONWIDE EVENT
South Africa’s Garth Mulroy won the BMW Charity Pro-Am on Sunday for his second career Nationwide Tour title, beating Sunghoon Kang on the first hole of a playoff when the South Korean missed a 3-foot par putt.

The 32-year-old former North Carolina State player closed with a 4-under 67 on the Thornblade Club course to match Kang (69) at 18 under in the three-course tournament.

Kang, a conditional PGA Tour member, was making his first Nationwide Tour start.
Mulroy earned $108,000.

New Zealand’s Danny Lee  was a stroke back, and Roberto Castro , B.J. Staten , Andrew Buckle , Will MacKenzie , Brent Delahoussaye and Travis Hampshire  tied for fourth at 16 under.




 NOMURA WINS JLPGA TOURNEY
Harukyo Nomura fired a bogey-free 68 in the final round of the Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open to secure her 1st career JLPGA victory in her 1st start on tour as a professional.

 Ahn  cut Nomura's lead to 1 with a birdie on the 158-yard par-3 2nd hole. But when Nomura birdied the 528-yard par-5 6th and Ahn took a quad on it, the building pressure completely dissipated. Nomura proceeded to put even more distance between herself and the field as she followed that birdie up with 3 more, on 8, 11, and 13.

Although Sakura Yokomine made 4 birdies between the 5th and 10th holes, she remained 6 down until she birdied the 18th. Even though Kaori Aoyama birdied 4 of her last 5 holes, she still ended up 3 shots off the pace. And despite getting to -8 on the last 9, Ji-Woo Lee finished with 2 bogeys in her last 5 holes to drop into a tie for 7th with Ahn  and Momoko Ueda . So in the end, nobody else in the field made up any ground on Nomura, who was the only player to break 70 all 3 rounds.




IN OTHER NEWS
K.J. Choi is giving $200,000 from his win at The Players Championship to help victims of the tornados that ravaged the southeastern United States.

Choi says that while winning The Players was a defining point in his career, those affected by the tornados are going through a low point. He wants the victims to know that their troubles are not being ignored.

The South Korean won The Players in a sudden-death playoff over David Toms for his eighth career victory on the PGA Tour. He earned $1.71 million.

Choi often will give a percentage of his earnings from a PGA Tour event to a local church in the area. This time, he is giving his money to tornado victims through his K.J. Choi Foundation, which he started four years ago to help unprivileged children around the world.



Ryo Ishikawa is among eight players who no longer have to qualify for the U.S. Open.

Ishikawa closed with a 64 on Sunday, and while he lost in a playoff at the Totoumi Hamamatsu Open in Japan, his runner-up finish moved him up four spots to No. 49 in the world and earned him a spot at Congressional on June 16-19 for the U.S. Open.

The top 50 in the next world ranking are exempt from U.S. Open qualifying. Italian Matteo Manassero, Ryan Moore and Peter Hanson also got in through the ranking.

Colonial winner David Toms made it into the U.S. Open by being in the top 10 on the latest PGA Tour money list, along with Australian Aaron Baddeley and Rory Sabbatini of Spain. Anders Hansen of Denmark earned a spot from among the top five on the European Tour money list.



France will host The Ryder Cup for the first time in 2018. The historic announcement, which will see golf's greatest team event return to the Continent of Europe for the first time in 21 years, was made by Ryder Cup Europe at Wentworth Club in Surrey, England.

Le Golf National on the outskirts of Versailles near Paris, the well-established home of the Alstom Open de France, will become only the second Continental venue - following Club de Golf, Valderrama, in Spain in 1997 - when the 42nd edition of The Ryder Cup between Europe and the United States is contested in the autumn of 2018.

Five nations - France, Germany, Holland, Portugal and Spain - had participated in an exhaustive and comprehensive Bid Process - the first conducted by Ryder Cup Europe - to identify the country best qualified to follow Medinah Country Club, Illinois, USA, next year; Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2014 and Hazeltine, Minnesota, USA, in 2016 as host of the biennial contest.



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