Monday, September 5, 2011


 Webb Simpson clinched his second PGA Tour title with a  playoff victory over fellow American Chez Reavie for the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston on Monday.

Simpson sealed the win by sinking an eight-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole, the par-four 17th, after Reavie had missed his attempt there from 23 feet.

The pair had finished the 72 regulation holes on 15-under-par 269, Simpson firing a six-under 65 and Reavie, who had been two strokes ahead with two holes to play, bogeying the par-five last for a 66.

British world number one Luke Donald signed off with a 67 in the second leg of the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs to tie for third at 13 under, level with American Brandt Snedeker (66) and Australian Jason Day (68).

The leading 70 players in the points standings move on to next week’s BMW Championship in Illinois before the top 30 qualify for the Tour Championship finale at Atlanta.

 Thomas Bjorn won back-to-back titles for the first time in his career, shooting a 9-under 62 Sunday to take the European Masters by four strokes.

Bjorn made nine birdies and an eagle in a blistering final round to finish with a 20-under total of 264 to earn the $473,000 winner’s prize.

The victory came a week after the 40-year-old Dane won a five-man playoff in Gleneagles, Scotland, and is his third title of the year. Before 2011, he had not won two titles in one year on the European Tour since 1998.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer began his round at a furious pace, with two eagles on his first five holes followed by birdies on Nos. 7 and 8. But he finished his round with 10 straight pars for a 65. U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy shot 68 to finish tied for third at 15 under with Jaco van Zyl of South Africa and overnight leader Jamie Donaldson of Wales.

Bjorn is set to move into the top 30 from 59th when new rankings are confirmed Monday.

A non-playing vice captain for Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team last year, Bjorn also took the early lead in the qualification race to defend the trophy in the United States next year.

England’s Gary Christian won the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic on Sunday, shooting a 4-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over John Mallinger.

The 40-year-old Christain earned $108,000 to jump from 27th to fourth on the money list. The top 25 at the end of the season will earn 2012 PGA Tour cards.

Christian, a former Auburn player, finished at 17-under 267 on the Southpointe course.

Mallinger closed with a 68. Craig Bowden (66) and Scott Brown (67) tied for third at 15 under.

India’s Rahil Gangjee became the third player in Nationwide Tour history to make a hole-in-one on a par 4. He used a driver to ace the 316-yard 15th, and finished with a 70 to tie for 32nd at 6

The PGA Tour announced Thursday its longest network television deal in history Thursday that secures broadcast rights for the next 10 years.

The tour agreed to a nine-year deal with CBS Sports and NBC Sports. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem did not disclose financial terms, although he said there was an increase in the rights fee and players would see modest advances in prize money.

The TV contract was the last big hurdle in getting through an economic crisis. The tour still managed to sign 10 new title sponsors of tournaments, and it renewed contracts with title sponsors of 12 other events.

Now, it has its television partners locked up for the next 10 years. One reason for getting a nine-year deal was to be concurrent with the 15-year deal the tour signed with Golf Channel, which began in 2007 and expires in 2021.

Cristie Kerr is the third-ranked women’s golfer in the world right now.
Hunter Mahan is 21st among the men.

Wednesday, they teamed up to be No. 1 – again – in the fourth annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at Atunyote Golf Club.

Kerr dropped a 5-foot bird putt on the 624-yard 18th hole to get her team to 11-under par and edge Annika Sorenstam and Ricky Fowler by a stroke.

Tiger Woods, making his second appearance at Atunyote – he won a skins game format in the Challenge in 2009 – and his partner, Suzann Petterson, finished another stroke back at 9 under. Host Notah Begay III and Natalie Gulbis finished at 7-under par.

Officials estimated the crowd at 3,500 for the Challenge, which supports the Notah Begay III Foundation’s mission to combat obesity and diabetes among Native American youth.
It was the second consecutive year Kerr and Mahan won the $100,000 top prize. They shot 10-under par last year, when Sorenstam and Fowler finished 8-under par.

The challenge raised at least $500,000 for the foundation. Begay said additional sponsorships and other fundraising tools would add to that.

The Deutsche Bank Championship's first round and  brought attention to Phil Mickelson  for two items that looked out of place.

The day after he took batting practice at Fenway Park and wore a Red Sox jersey while throwing out the first pitch before the Yankees' 4-2 win, Mickelson wore pinstripes at the TPC Boston.

"Lost a wager with a friend and had to wear these today," Mickelson said. "What can you say? I've got to suck it up and bear it."

Stranger still was the sight of Mickelson sticking the grip of a long putter into his gut.

Yes, Mickelson became the latest to try a belly putter.

Nick Watney took an 11 on the second hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He started only three shots out of the lead and quickly was out of contention.

Watney went over the green with his second shot on the par-5 second hole at TPC Boston. He chipped over the green and into the hazard, then tried to play his fourth shot. But it struck a rock and stayed in the hazard. Watney was so frustrated he slammed his club to the ground.

He took a penalty drop in the fairway, hit onto the green and three-putted. Watney later was assessed an additional two-shot penalty because he slammed his club inside the hazard line—and his ball was still in the hazard.

It’s a two-stroke penalty to ground the club in a hazard.

Jack Nicklaus is trying something new to get more people to play golf. He is holding events at his Muirfield Village Golf Club in which the cup will be twice as large and the tournaments only will be 12 holes.

Nicklaus is concerned that fewer people are playing golf. He says it’s important to think beyond the traditional rules and try something different to make the game more appealing.

As part of the Labor Day activities at Muirfield Village, Nicklaus will host 12-hole tournaments in which the hole will be 8 inches in diameter instead of the traditional 4 inches. To encourage faster play, participants are required to complete the round in 2 1/2 hours. They will be penalized one stroke for every five minutes over the allotted time.

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