Sunday, July 24, 2011

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 7-24-2011

O'HAIR WINS CANADIAN OPEN
Sean O'Hair defeated Kris Blanks on the first playoff hole to win the RBC Canadian Open today.
O'Hair made bogey on No. 18, but picked up his first win since 2009 when Blanks carded double bogey. The Texan shot 68 in the final round to reach the playoff at 4-under. Blanks had 69.

It was the fourth PGA Tour win for O’Hair, but his first time in the top 15 during a season that had seen him miss 10 of 17 cuts coming into this event.

The 29-year-old O’Hair started the day three shots behind leader Bo Van Pelt before shooting 68 to get into the playoff with Blanks (70) at 4-under 276.

It was the second-highest winning total on the PGA Tour this season, and the first non-major without a bogey-free round since 2008. Only eight players finished under par on the tree-lined Shaugnessy Golf and Country Club, so it was perhaps fitting that the $5.2-million tournament was won with a bogey.

O’Hair’s $936,000 winning share was almost triple his season earnings coming into the week, and vaulted him up 104 places in the FedEx Cup playoff standings to 43rd with five weeks left in the race.

Argentina’s Andres Romero, 4-over through nine holes, made five birdies in his next seven, including a 15-foot putt for his third in a row on No. 16 to tie for the lead. But he missed a 22-foot par putt on No. 18 that would have put him in the playoffs after leaving his bunker shot well short, finishing with an even-par 70 in the final round and alone in third place at 277.

The victory earns O'Hair a trip to the Masters Tournament.

Adam Hadwin, who was just one shot off the pace after three rounds, carded a 2-over 72 Sunday to finish the tournament at 2-under 278.



COCHRAN WINS SR. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
 Russ Cochran upstaged some of his more illustrious counterparts to become only the second left-hander after Sir Bob Charles to win The Senior Open Championship.

The American finished with a superb final round of 67 on a day of low scoring and high temperatures at Walton Heath Golf Club, in Surrey, to finish on 12 under par and prevail by two strokes over  Mark Calcavecchia. 

The American duo of Corey Pavin and  Tom Watson finished a further stroke behind courtesy of respective rounds of 69 and 67, with England’s Barry Lane the highest European finisher on eight under par.

Cochran, who began the day as co-leader with South African David Frost and Calcavecchia, birdied the opening two holes and picked up further shots on the sixth, seventh and eighth holes to reach the turn in 31.

Calcavecchia had been keeping pace with after birdies on the second, third and sixth holes, but a double bogey five on the par three ninth hole, where he four-putted, and cost him dearly.

That left Cochran in charge of the tournament, and he came home in level par to take the title.

The former US PGA Tour champion, who was tied third in last year’s Senior Open Championship at Carnoustie and was Rookie of the Year on the US Champions Tour in 2009, earned US$315,600 for his victory. 



NOREN WINS IN SWEDEN
 Alexander Noren of Sweden relied on his huge overnight lead to clinch the Nordea Masters title on Sunday, finishing seven shots clear despite a 5-over 77 in the final round.

Noren entered the day with an 11-shot lead after a course-record 63 on Saturday, and was never threatened despite a number of mishaps on a windy day in the Swedish capital. The Swede started and finished his round with a birdie but had five bogeys and a double-bogey in between for a 15-under total of 273.

His dropped shots meant little, however, with most of the other players also struggling in the tough conditions at the Bro Hof Slott course. Richard Finch finished second after becoming the only player to break par in the final round with a 3-under 69.

Niklas Lemke of Sweden had a 73 and was another three shots behind in third.
It was Noren’s third career victory on the European Tour and second of the season after taking the Wales Open title in June. With such a massive lead, the 29-year-old Swede said his only concern was getting past the 17th hole, a par-3 with an island green surrounded by water.

Finch’s round would have been even more impressive had he not found the water on that 17th hole. He settled for a triple-bogey, which took some of the shine off his 70-foot putt for birdie on the 16th.



 MIYAZATO TAKES EVIAN MASTERS
 Ai Miyazato clinched her first title of the year at the Evian Masters on Sunday and pledged to share her prize money with the people still suffering in the aftermath of the disasters back home in Japan.
Miyazato shot a 2-under 70 to protect her two-shot lead and hold off a surge from Stacy Lewis of the United States, the Kraft Nabisco winner who missed a golden chance to even the scores on the 16th hole.

Miyazato played with consistency throughout the tournament, dropping shots on just five of the 72 holes overall and finishing with a 15-under total of 273. Lewis also shot a 70 to finish two shots back in second, with a trio of players another stroke behind.Miyazato joins two-time winners Laura Davies of England and Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, and needs one more Evian win to tie Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson, the inaugural tournament champion and record-holder with three.

Lewis, the Kraft Nabisco winner, kept the pressure on and moved one shot behind Miyazato with a birdie on the 15th.But, with a birdie chance to level the match on the next hole, Lewis three-putted for a bogey to be two adrift of Miyazato again, her chances slipping away.



AMATEUR WINS NATIONWIDE EVENT
Amateur Harris English won the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational by one stroke over Kyle Reifers and fellow amateur John Peterson.

In the final round, Peterson was 1-under-par before dropping strokes on the 10th and 14th holes to fall a stroke behind  Harris English at 13-under. A two-stroke swing on the par-4 15th gave Peterson a lead over the No. 6-ranked amateur in the world.

However, English turned the tables on Peterson with birdie and another two-stroke swing on the closing hole to claim the title. English's victory was the second in 2011 by an amateur and the third all-time on the Nationwide Tour.



 IN OTHER NEWS
Jordan Spieth of Dallas closed out his junior golf career in dominating fashion Saturday, winning the 64th annual U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in a 6-and-5 runaway at Gold Mountain Golf Club.
After beating Chelso Barrett, 16, of Keene, N.H., Spieth enters the USGA record book as only the second player to win this title multiple times.

Tiger Woods won it three times, from 1991 to 1993.

Spieth, who turns 18 Wednesday and graduates out of the junior ranks, was beaten in the second round last year.Spieth, who will attend Texas in the fall, is set to play in the Western Amateur in two weeks, and then at the U.S. Amateur next month, an event Woods also won three times in a row.




A case of vandalism on one of the greens didn’t affect play Saturday at the RBC Canadian Open.
Grounds crews discovered bleach had been poured on the grass on the eighth green, a par-3 hole at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country.

“When they found it, they did all they could to wash it out,” said Bill Paul, the tournament director. “We are investigating it right now with Vancouver police. That’s all there really is.”

The damage was discovered at around 6 a.m. when superintendent Rob Barr was inspecting the course. Some brown streaks could be seen on the green, but it didn’t affect play in the $5.2 million tournament.


 
Tiger Woods fired caddie Steve Williams on Wednesday, leaving his good friend stunned and ending a 12-year relationship in which he won 72 times worldwide and 13 majors.

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it's time for a change," Woods said on his website. "Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future."

Woods did not say who would replace Williams -- one of only two caddies he has employed on a regular basis -- or when he might return to golf.

"Needless to say, this came as a shock," Williams said in a statement posted on his own website.



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