Sunday, October 30, 2011

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 10-30-2011


DUKE WINS NATIONWIDE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Ken Duke won the season-ended Nationwide Tour Championship on Sunday to also secure a spot on the big tour.

Duke closed with a 4-under 68 to finish at 10 under on Daniel Island Club’s Ralston Creek Course, two better than Scott Brown. The 42-year-old Duke earned $180,000 and went from 36th to seventh on the money list.

J.J. Killeen won the money title, which made him fully exempt on the PGA Tour and gave him entry into the The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May.

And the day ended with some drama as Brown made a long par-saving putt on the 17th and birdie on the 18th to finish alone in second when a bogey down the stretch would’ve dropped Billy Hurley III from the final qualifying spot at No. 25.

James Nitties, who began the week in 23rd, fell to 26th, just outside what it took to join the PGA Tour.

  Erik Compton earned a PGA Tour card when he finished in the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list.

Compton wasn’t sure he’d ever play pro golf, let alone be member of the PGA Tour.

Yet the two-time heart transplant recipient finished off his dream Sunday. Compton mostly secured his spot in June when he won his first Nationwide title at the Mexico Open. He ended 13th overall with $239,737 to advance.

The 31-year-old Compton has played 30 career PGA events, but none with a tour card in his bag.




 VAN PELT WINS ASIA PACIFIC CLASSIC
 Bo Van Pelt ran away with the Asia Pacific Classic on Sunday in hot and humid conditions, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a 7-under 64 and a six-stroke victory.

The winner of the PGA Tour’s 2009 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, Van Pelt finished at 23 under at The Mines and earned $1.3 million in the second-year event sanctioned by the PGA and Asian tours.

Fellow Indiana player Jeff Overton was second after a 69.

Van Pelt pulled away with birdies on Nos. 13-15, hitting within a foot on the par-4 13th and par-3 14th and holing a 4-footer on the short par-4 15th after driving into a greenside bunker. He added a two-putt birdie on the par-5 17th.

The 36-year-old former Oklahoma State player opened with rounds of 66, 64 and 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Overton into the final round.

Fredrik Jacobson had a 68 to finish third at 16 under, and Cameron Tringale, Camilo Villegas and Mark Wilson were 15 under.



 GARCIA TAKES SECOND IN A ROW
 Sergio Garcia held off fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez to win the Andalucia Masters by one shot on Sunday for his second straight European Tour victory.

Garcia shook off two early bogeys with two birdies on a flawless back nine to card an even 71 and finish with a 6-under total of 278 at the Valderrama course.
Jimenez seized the lead early when Garcia three-putted the sixth hole and bogeyed the next. The 47-year-old Jimenez dropped shots on the 13th and 15th before making a pair of birdies to press Garcia until the last hole.

Jimenez had a chance at pulling even with a birdie on the 18th, but his 15-foot putt fell short and Garcia calmly made par.

Richie Ramsay of Scotland, who led for the first two rounds, finished two shots back in third, with Irish golfer Shane Lowry a further shot behind in fourth.

The 31-year old Garcia won the Castello Masters by 11 strokes last weekend to end a nearly three-year title drought.

His fifth European Tour win on his home soil will lift him back into the top 20. It also qualified him for next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and moved him to the top of the European Ryder Cup points race.



 MCILROY TAKES HOME THE  CASH
U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy won $2 million in the Shanghai Masters on Sunday, beating Anthony Kim with a par on the first hole of a playoff.

McIlroy holed a 2-foot putt for the victory after Kim missed a 3-footer.
McIlroy had a chance to win in regulation, but the 22-year-old star from Northern Ireland missed an 8-foot birdie putt. He closed with an even-par 72 to match Kim  at 18 under.

The $2 million first prize is the richest in golf. The top players, staying in Shanghai another week for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International, also received appearance money and last place paid $25,000. Because the event isn’t sanctioned by a major tour, there were no ranking points at stake.

Kim earned $750,000.

Hunter Mahan  and South Korea’s Noh Seung-yul tied for third at 13 under in the 30-man event. Second-ranked Lee Westwood aced the par-3 12th en route to a 67 that left him fifth at 12 under.
McIlroy gave up an early three-shot lead, then rallied from a stroke down on the back nine to force the playoff.

Ian Poulter was 11 under, Retief Goosen  and K.J. Choi  were another stroke back and Y.E. Yang, Padraig Harrington  and John Daly were 6 under.




 IN OTHER NEWS
Luke Donald has withdrawn from the HSBC Champions next week in Shanghai to be with his wife for the birth of their second child.


“Making history in the sport is very important to me, but the roles of husband and father are the most important in the world to me and being there for my wife and family is where I have to be,” said Donald, who on the PGA Tour’s season-ending event last week to take the tour’s money title.

“My goal has been to try and top the money list on the PGA Tour and the European Tour and I still hope to accomplish that. WGC-HSBC Champions is a world-class event, and as a player you look forward to competing against the best. I think it is great for the game to have such an important event in Asia, and I look forward to being able to participate next year.”



The LPGA Tour is returning to Australia, co-sanctioning the Women’s Australian Open in February at Royal Melbourne.

The LPGA Tour and Australian Ladies Professional Golf said  that the $1.1 million Women’s Australian Open will be played from Feb. 9-12 and begin a three-tournament swing in Asia that includes stops in Thailand and Singapore. In 2013, the Australian Open will move to Royal Canberra.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng won the event this year at Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne.

The Australian Ladies Masters was co-sanctioned by the LPGA and ALPG from 1997-2000, and they also sanctioned an unofficial team event in Perth in 2007.


The Japan LPGA has canceled a team event against South Korea in Bangkok in December because of the severe flooding that has hit the Thai capital.

The competition, the first to be held between the two countries since 2009, was scheduled to take place in a suburb of Bangkok on Dec. 3-4.

The Japan LPGA said  that the decision to cancel the tournament was taken after consulting with organizers in Bangkok.


The PGA Tour was going to send its postseason awards ballot to the players on Tuesday until realizing the World Golf Championship in Shanghai counts as official if a PGA Tour member wins.
So it will wait until after the HSBC Champions next week.


The Nationwide Tour Championship will be played at the TPC Craig Ranch course in Texas next fall.
The course in McKinney, Texas, hosted the 2008 tournament. Tour officials said a formal announcement would come Monday.

The Tour had said last month it would not return to the Daniel Island club after three seasons hosting its year-ending tournament because the area is also holding the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island.

The tour and Daniel Island are discussing a return to the Ralston Creek Course here in 2013.



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