Monday, August 29, 2011

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 8-28-2011

 JOHNSON WINS BARCLAYS
Dustin Johnson opened with back-to-back birdies. In a bunker for the first time all week, he holed a 85-foot shot for eagle on No. 4 to take the lead. Even a wild tee shot on the par-5 fifth landed in trampled grass with a clear shot at the green.

The Barclays, already reduced to 54 holes because of Hurricane Irene, would have reverted to a 36-hole tournament if the rain arrived early and kept the third round Saturday from finishing, making Matt Kuchar the winner, but it didn't and Johnson took off.

He shot 29 on the front nine for the second straight day—he played the front in 17-under par for the week—to close with a 6-under 65 and win the opening FedEx Cup playoff event by two shots over Kuchar.

Johnson didn’t take the lead for good until Kuchar, who won The Barclays a year ago on a different course, three-putted from long range just off the green on consecutive holes on the back nine to make bogeys. He closed with a 68.

Johnson, who moved to No. 4 in the world, finished at 19-under 194 for his first win of the year and fifth of his career. He became the first player since Tiger Woods to go straight from college and win in each of his first four years on the PGA Tour.

Ian Poulter birdied four of his last five holes for a 64, making him one of eight players who moved inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings and advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston.

William McGirt, the last of the 125 players who qualified for the playoffs, birdied the 17th hole that pushed him to No. 96. Padraig Harrington went from No. 124 to No. 80 with his tie for 13th. And then there was Ernie Els. He would have been eliminated had the tournament been cut short to 36 holes. Els had a 67 to from 118th in the standings to No. 99.

Johnson goes atop the FedEx Cup standings as the four-tournament race begins for the $10 million prize.



LINCICOME TAKES LPGA CANADIAN OPEN
American Brittany Lincicome fired a two-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the LPGA Canadian Women's Open by one stroke, capturing her second victory of the year and the fifth of her career.

Lincicome finished 72 holes at 13-under-par 275 to edge Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie, the defending champion, with two more Americans, Angela Stanford and Cristie Kerr, sharing fourth on 277.

Since joining the tour in 2005, Lincicome had never won more than one title in a season, but has already doubled up this year, having also won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June.

The $337,000 top prize also pushed Lincicome beyond $4 million in career LPGA earnings.
South Koreans Hee-Won Han, Jenny Shin, Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin shared sixth on 278, one stroke ahead of compatriots Sun Young Yoo and Song-Hee Kim.

The final round of the $2.25 million event began with morning threesomes and organisers started early to complete play ahead of the approaching remnants of the storm that had been Hurricane Irene.

Lincicome started the day one stroke behind Wie, Japan's Ai Miyazato and US rookie Tiffany Joh but quickly charged to the top as the co-leaders faded in windy and rainy conditions.

Lincicome opened with a birdie at the par-five first and followed up with birdies at the par-five fifth and par-four seventh to grab a two-stroke lead.

But Lincicome stumbled with a bogey at the par-four 12th, falling only one stroke ahead of Kerr and Lewis, who were both ahead of her on the course.

Lewis reached the clubhouse at 12-under 276, posting the score to beat with Lincicome leading her by a stroke with five holes remaining.

Lewis birdied three of the first four holes, the par-five 10th and 12th in a bogey-free round.
Kerr, who opened with a birdie but took a bogey at the second, began the back nine with back-to-back birdies to put herself in the title hunt and birdied the par-five 14th to match Lincicome for the lead.
Wie, who opened with a birdie but stumbled back with bogeys at the third and ninth holes, birdied the 13th and par-three 15th to move to within a stroke of the lead.

But a bogey at the 16th dropped Wie one back and Kerr stumbled in with bogeys at 16 and 17 to finish on 277, leaving Lincicome alone at the top.

Lincicome parred the final five holes to reach the clubhouse on top with Wie needing a birdie to force a play-off but instead settling for a par.



BJORN IS WINNER ON EUROPEAN TOUR
Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn captured the Johnnie Walker Championship on Sunday, winning a five-man playoff on the fifth extra hole in another step in his resurgence. This was the European Tour’s first five-way playoff in 19 years

Bjorn birdied the par-5 No. 18 to defeat South Africa’s George Coetzee for his second victory on the tour in 2011.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and England’s Mark Foster were eliminated earlier in the playoff on a cold and windy day at Gleneagles . All five players finished regulation at 11-under 277.

Foster, who shared the lead entering the final round, had been ahead by three shots with seven holes to play. He bogeyed the 18th when he needed a par to win.

Bjorn, winner of the Qatar Masters in February and fourth at last month’s British Open, shot a final-round 69. He sealed the 12th victory of his career after a sensational 7-iron approach to the fifth extra hole from 135 yards.



CALCAVECCHIA WINS CHAMPIONS EVENT IN PLAYOFF
Mark  Calcavecchia won the Boeing Classic on Sunday for his first Champions Tour title, holding off Cochran with a two-putt birdie on the first hole of a playoff. Cochran forced the playoff by making a 12-foot eagle putt on the final hole of regulation.

But after 30 previous starts on the 50-and-over tour, Calcavecchia finally found his breakthrough and snapped a four-year victory drought since the PGA Tour’s 2007 PODS Championship. It was his third victory in the Pacific Northwest, following wins in the 1997 Greater Vancouver Open and 2005 Canadian Open.

Earlier this year, Calcavecchia lost by two shots to Cochran in the Senior British Open and blew a big third-round lead at the Regions Tradition. Cochran left Calcavecchia behind in the Senior British after Calcavecchia four-putted the ninth hole in the final round.

Calcavecchia and Cochran shot 7-under 65s on Sunday, tied for the lowest rounds of the tournament.

Chip Beck  birdied four of the final five holes to finish third at 9 under. Jeff Sluman was fourth at 8 under.



TRIPLETT OLDEST WINNER OF NATIONWIDE TOUR EVENT
Three-time PGA Tour winner Kirk Triplett won the News Sentinel Open on Sunday to become the oldest winner in Nationwide Tour history at 49 years, 4 months, 29 days, closing with his second straight 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over Marco Dawson.

Triplett finished at 21 under and earned $90,000 to jump from 119th to 33rd on the money list with $110,523. The final top 25 will earn 2012 PGA Tour cards.

The 48-year-old Dawson also finished with a 68.

Ted Potter Jr. and John Mallinger tied for third at 18 under.

John Daly, playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 68 to tie for 32nd at 11 under. Two-time PGA Tour winner Boo Weekley, making his first Nationwide Tour start since 2006, had a 72 to also finish at 11 under.

Triplett won for the first time since the PGA Tour’s 2006 Chrysler Classic in Tucson, Ariz.



IN OTHER NEWS
 Kelly Kraft beat Patrick Cantlay 2-up in the 36-hole final Sunday, taking down the No. 1 player in the world amateur rankings. Both finalists will receive a spot in next year’s U.S. Open, and both traditionally are invited to the Masters. As the winner, the 22-year-old Kraft also gets a spot in the British Open.

That’s provided both players keep their amateur status, something Kraft seemed to be leaning toward.

Kraft, from Denton, Texas, just finished his senior season at SMU and several former teammates were on hand to cheer him on Sundaybut he definitely was the lesser-known player in the final.

The 19-year-old Cantlay is considered a rising star with a promising future in the professional ranks. And after showing he can compete against professionals, including an appearance at the U.S. Open, Cantlay didn’t take much solace in playing well at Erin Hills all week.

Cantlay already was on the Walker Cup team headed to Scotland next month, and now Kraft will join him.

Immediately after the tournament, USGA officials announced that Kraft, Jordan Spieth of Dallas and Auburn player Blayne Barber had been added to the team.



LPGA Tour veteran Sherri Steinhauer retired after missing the cut at the Canadian Women’s Open.

“It was in Canada that I captured my very first win on tour,” said Steinhauer of her victory at what was then a major tournament called the Du Maurier Classic in 1992 in Winnipeg. “My parents were there and it was their wedding anniversary.

Her brothers and father flew in for the tournament. Steinhauer opened with a 79 on Thursday and shot 71 on Friday to miss the cut by seven strokes.

The 48-year-old won eight times since joining the Tour in 1986, including two majors.



Fred Couples has told Tiger Woods  that he decided to add him to the 12-member Presidents Cup team.

Couples took the drama out of the debate over whether Woods would be on the team, saying Thursday it’s already a done deal.

“I’ve told him that he’s going to be on the team,” Couples said just before a practice round preparing for the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. “There is no reason for me to wait till Sept. 26 to pick Tiger. He’s the best player in the world forever.”

Ten players automatically qualify for the team based on points accumulated over the past two years. Couples is then given two captain’s picks to round out his squad, which will compete against a team of non-European International players at Royal Melbourne in Australia on Nov. 14-20.

Woods, who is 28th on the Presidents Cup list, had a long summer layoff because of soreness in his left knee and left Achilles’ tendon. He played in two recent tournaments, finishing 37th in the Bridgestone Invitational in early August then missing the cut the following week at the PGA Championship.

And finally congrats to Gerry from Long Island who picked correctly choosing Dustin Johnson to win the Barclays. His pick this week Matt Kuchar or Phil Mickelson. Good luck.



NO PODCAST THIS WEEK DUE TO HURRICANE IRENE

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