Sunday, May 27, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 5-27-2012

 JOHNSON GETS SECOND COLONIAL IN 3 YEARS

Zach Johnson was so caught up in the emotion of another Colonial title and a victory in honor of his caddie's late father that he forgot to properly remark his ball before his final putt.

Even with a two-stroke penalty, Johnson won by one over Jason Dufner and got to slip on the plaid jacket Sunday for his first victory since also winning at Hogan's Alley two years ago.

Johnson moved his original ball mark out of the line of Dufner's putt on the 18th green. But he never moved it back before his final 5-foot putt.

The penalty was assessed before he signed his scorecard, and Johnson's 12-under 268 total was enough to edge Dufner, who finally faltered and closed with a 74.

The victory came 10 days after Green's 88-year old father died from stomach cancer. After Johnson's runner-up finish at The Players Championship two weeks ago, the caddie drove to Pensacola, Fla., to see his father. But Damon Green was ready to get back on the course this week. 

It is the eighth PGA Tour victory for Johnson, who won $1,152,000 even as his record streak of 15 consecutive under-par rounds at Colonial ended.

Tommy Gainey was a distant third at 7 under after a 67, a stroke better than Jim Furyk.

In what was essentially a match-play final round, Johnson took command at the 414-yard 15th hole. Dufner's approach hit the left side of that green then rolled into a ditch, leading to a triple bogey that put him four strokes back after Johnson's par.

Dufner's only two PGA Tour victories came in the previous four weeks, a stretch when he also got married.

After winning last week at the Byron Nelson Championship, he was trying to match Ben Hogan, his hero, as the only players to win both PGA Tour events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the same year. Hogan did it in 1946, when the tournaments weren't played in consecutive weeks.


There had already been four two-stroke swings between Dufner and Johnson before that fateful 15th hole.

Dufner drove into a fairway bunker before the shot that trickled over a ledge into the water. He then pitched his drop all the way over the green and missed a 4-foot putt for double bogey.

Johnson made par at the same hole where a day earlier his approach settled into a grassy clump only inches from going into that ditch. With his feet together to keep from falling over himself, Johnson's pitch from about 81 feet rolled only inches from the cup.

Johnson had blown a two-stroke lead before going back ahead with his 9-foot birdie putt at the 445-yard 14th.

And then came the 15th and Dufner was finished.


CHAPMAN WINS SENIOR PGA

Roger Chapman has won the Senior PGA Championship, holding on for a two-stroke victory after leading comfortably throughout the final round Sunday.

Chapman led by five after 54 holes and was never really threatened Sunday. His closing 1-over 72 was his worst score of the tournament - but it was enough to give the Englishman a win at the major championship.

Chapman, who had never won on the Champions Tour, finished at 13 under. He bogeyed three of the last five holes but had enough of a cushion that it didn't matter.

John Cook was at 11 under after a 69. Hale Irwin shot 68 to finish another stroke back.
Kenny Perry shot a tournament-record 62 at Harbor Shores but finished five shots behind in ninth place.


DONALD TAKES BMW AGAIN
Luke Donald held off Justin Rose to win the BMW PGA Championship for the second straight year Sunday and overtake Rory McIlroy for the No. 1 ranking.

Donald won by four strokes after starting the fourth round at Wentworth with a two-stroke lead. He shot a 4-under 68 to finish at 15 under. Sharing second place at the European Tour's flagship event were Rose (70) of England and fast-closing Paul Lawrie (66) of Scotland.

This was Donald's second victory of the year, following the Transitions Championship in the United States in March.

This is the fourth time Donald has been ranked. No. 1. It's the sixth change at the top of the rankings in 12 weeks between Donald and Ryder Cup teammate McIlroy.

McIlroy missed the cut at Wentworth after a second-round 79. Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, birdied the last hole to finish alone in fourth place after a 71, with Branden Grace (70) a shot further back in fifth.

Rose drew even for the lead after a birdie on No. 4 while Donald made his only bogey of the round on the same hole. At that time, Ireland's Peter Lawrie and Paul Lawrie were within two shots after strong starts in sunny conditions, but Donald found another gear.

He picked up shots at Nos. 6 and 7 and a 30-foot birdie at No. 10 drew cries of ''Luuuuke'' from the gallery to give him a three-stroke cushion.

Rose - looking for a victory that could have lifted him into the world's top five for the first time - couldn't respond. Further birdied by Donald at Nos. 12 and 16 allowed him to stroll down the par-5 18th. He is the third player, after Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, to win successive titles in this event.


NEWS & NOTES

Ernie Els has apologized for his expletive-laden outburst about the softness of the greens in the PGA Championship at Wentworth, European Tour officials said on Sunday.

The 42-year-old South African hit out at tour organizers and the West Course green-keeping staff on Saturday for not taking the bite out of the course during a third round when gusts of up to 40-kph wind sent scores soaring.

Former world number one Els complained that insufficient water had been applied to the putting surfaces and sprinkled his tirade with the occasional swear word.Memorial Tournament winners Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose and Vijay Singh have each committed to play in the 37th tournament,coming up at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village Golf Club.

The tournament also announced that Luke Donald was coming to play and that former Ohio State standout Bo Hoag will receive an exemption to play in the field.

Donald's presence gives the tournament nine of the top 10 players in the world rankings.

Els won the Memorial in 2004, Furyk in 2002, Rose two years ago and Singh in 1997.

Hoag, like Nicklaus a product of Upper Arlington, Ohio, will be making his first appearance at the Memorial. He will be playing in his second PGA Tour event this season after missing the cut at the Honda Classic.


PGA Tour rookie Harris English shot a course best and International Finals America qualifying record 60 and easily qualified for the British Open on Monday.

English shot a 63 in the afternoon in the par 70 Queens Course at Gleneagles Country Club, just outside of Dallas, for a 123 total, to snag one of the eight available spots for the Open from July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

The 60 was the lowest 18-hole qualifying score since the R&A began holding qualifying in the United States in 2004. Records were incomplete if it was the lowest 18-hole score ever shot in British Open qualifying.


Anthony Kim will miss the rest of the FedEx Cup season to treat chronic tendinitis in his left arm.
Kim has made only two cuts this year and has withdrawn from his last three tournaments. Along with nagging pain in his left forearm, Kim hurt his right elbow when his club struck a rock while he was trying to hit out of a bush at the Texas Open.

He decided to take time off after seeing the same Cleveland doctor who operated on his left thumb two years ago.

Kim says he's been trying to revive his game and has been held back by injuries. Treatment is expected to last four to five months. That gives Kim hope of returning after the Ryder Cup for the Fall Series.


UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay was given the Ben Hogan Award on Monday night at Colonial as the top NCAA player in men's golf across all divisions. Cantlay is the second-youngest player to win the award behind Rickie Fowler, who was a freshman when he won in 2008. Cantlay was the low amateur at the U.S. Open and the Masters.


Ben Curtis
, a former British Open champion with four PGA Tour wins, was among six athletes to be inducted into the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame last week. Curtis went to Kent State

Until next time.

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