Sunday, July 31, 2011

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 7-31-2011

STALLINGS CAPTURES FIRST TOUR WIN
 PGA Tour rookie Scott Stallings won the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday, sinking a birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Bob Estes and Bill Haas.

After watching Estes and Haas miss their birdie attempts on the 168-yard 18th hole, Stallings curled in a 7-footer for his first tour victory. He flipped his putter, then hugged and high-fived his caddie.

Stallings made six birdies on the back nine to make the playoff, where he earned a winner’s check of $1.08 million and a spot in the Bridgestone Invitational.

It marked the second straight week that a tournament was won in sudden death. Sean O’Hair beat Kris Blanks on the first playoff hole a week ago at the Canadian Open.



  TSENG WINS BRITISH OPEN
Yani Tseng won the Women’s British Open for the second straight year, beating Brittany Lang by four strokes Sunday and becoming the youngest woman to capture a fifth major title.

The 22-year-old top-ranked Taiwanese shot a 3-under 69 to finish at 16-under 272. She trailed third-round leader Caroline Masson of Germany by two strokes entering the final round. Masson closed with a 78 to finish tied for fifth.

Lang shot a 67 to finish at 276, one ahead of Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson, who had a final round 68. South Korea’s Amy Yang had a 67 and was fourth.

Lang was tied for sixth entering the final day, eight behind Masson. She picked up just one stroke by the turn but the American bagged four birdies at Nos. 11, 12, 14 and 17.

Tseng dropped a shot at the first hole with three putts, missing a 3-footer for par. She birdied the third with a pitching wedge to 2 feet and the long sixth with a chip to 5 feet to be out in 35.

Playing alongside Masson, who was out in 39, Tseng had taken a firm grip by the turn. She was just short of the green off the tee at the par-4 11th and took two putts for a birdie, but then dropped a shot at two straight holes. She hit an 8-iron over the back of the green at 12 and then hit the pin off the tee on the short 13th but her ball stopped at the edge of a bunker. She stood in the sand to play her second shot.

Tseng birdied the long 14th and finished with two birdies, holing from 20 feet on the 17th and hitting a majestic 9-iron to 3 feet at the last.
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist tied for seventh at 280 with South Koreans Sun Young Yoo, Na Yeon Choi and Inbee Pak.

American Stacy Lewis moved up the leaderboard with a 4-under 68, going from a share of 22nd overnight to a share of 11th at 281.

Sweden’s Maria Hjorth was at 282 after a 68 and Americans Katie Futcher and Cristie Kerr were in a group a stroke further back. Futcher equaled the best round of the week with a 64, including an eagle at the long 14th, followed by three birdies. Kerr had four birdies for a 68 to finish at 5 under.

Paula Creamer dropped five strokes in the first five holes to be out in 40, then dropped three more on the back nine for a 79. Brittany Lincicome shot 73 to finish at 287 as did first-round leader Meena Lee, who closed with a 74 after opening with a 65 Thursday.



 BROWNE IS U.S. SENIOR OPEN CHAMP
Olin Browne showed little emotion until rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to clinch a three-shot victory over Mark O’Meara in the U.S. Senior Open on Sunday.
It was the biggest triumph of the journeyman’s 27 years as a professional.
Browne’s closing even-par 71 followed rounds of 64, 69 and 65 and left him at 15-under 269.
Making few mistakes, he parred the first seven holes. After a bogey dropped him into a tie with O’Meara (72), he played the last 10 holes in 1 under, while O’Meara made two costly bogeys.

Mark Calcavecchia shot a 69 and was alone in third at 273. Ageless Hale Irwin had a 68 was another shot back along with Joey Sindelar (70).



DYSON TAKES IRISH OPEN
Simon Dyson of England won the Irish Open by a stroke Sunday, capitalizing on a poor approach shot by Richard Green of Australia on the final hole.

Dyson was trailing by a shot when he birdied the 17th to draw even. His round of 4-under 67 left him 15-under 269 for the tournament. Dyson finished ninth at the British Open two weeks ago and called his play in the Irish Open “probably the best golf I’ve ever played.”

Green all but handed Dyson the victory when his approach on the 18th led to a three-putt bogey, only his second of the day. He finished at 68 for a 14 under total.

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher was third after a 68 left him at 12 under.

With the victory, Dyson qualified for next week’s World Golf Championship in Akron, Ohio. He received the Waterford Crystal winner’s trophy from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and $360,000.





 

 IN OTHER NEWS
Tiger Woods already has missed two major championships this year. He doesn’t plan on missing the last one.

Woods has formally entered the PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 11-14 at Atlanta Athletic Club. He has been out of golf for nearly three months so that injuries to his left leg can properly heal. He will make his return next week in the World Golf Championship event at Firestone.

PGA spokesman Julius Mason said Friday that Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told him that as long as everything goes well at Firestone and there are no complications to his left leg, that Woods intends to play the PGA.

Woods has failed to win the last nine majors he has played, one short of matching his longest drought.

 

Hale Irwin, a winner of four majors on the PGA Tour and seven more on the Champions Tour, matched his age, shooting a 66 in the third round of the U.S. Senior Open. It marked the he second time he had done it in a competitive round on the Champions Tour, including a 65 at the AT&T.



 A slight tear in the tendon in Mike Weir’s right elbow has forced him out of at least one more PGA Tour event.

Doctors have advised Weir to take a couple weeks off, forcing him to pull out of next week’s Reno-Tahoe Open.

Weir has battled injuries for the better part of a year and was forced to withdraw from last week’s Canadian Open after suffering the latest setback.

The 41-year-old Canadian will rehab the injury with ice and therapy. It’s not nearly as serious as when he tore a ligament last summer, but Weir doesn’t want to rush back and risk further injury.

The 2003 Masters champion has made just two cuts and $23,312 while watching his world ranking fall to 501st.



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