Sunday, May 6, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 5-6-2012

FOWLER GETS MAIDEN VICTORY
Rickie Fowler has his long-awaited first PGA TOUR win, in a Wells Fargo Championship playoff.

Fowler, billed as one of the rising American stars, delivered a clutch shot on the 18th hole in a playoff for a 4-foot birdie to beat U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points on Sunday in the Wells Fargo Championship. McIlroy had a shot at winning in regulation and missed a 15-foot birdie putt.

The 23-year-old Fowler won in his 67th PGA Tour start as a pro. He already has become one of the most popular players, especially with the kids. Dressed in his Sunday orange, he closed with a 3-under 69 and got into a playoff when Points made his first bogey of the final round on the last hole.

In the playoff, all three hit the fairway, with McIlroy hitting a 3-wood that traveled nearly 340 yards. Fowler's wedge covered the flag and spun some 4 feet away. Points went long and did well to two-putt for his par, making the second one from 12 feet. McIlroy hit his wedge well right of the flag and had to work hard for a two-putt par.

That set the stage for Fowler, and he wasn't about to let this chance get away.

Even though they're the same age, McIlroy has a two-year head start on Fowler. They were in the Walker Cup together in 2007, and McIlroy turned pro that fall. Fowler didn't turn pro until two years ago.

The only other win as a pro for Fowler was last year in South Korea, when he beat McIlroy.


FUNK IS A WINNER AGAIN
Fred Funk birdied the final hole to edge Tom Lehman and win the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.

Tied with one hole left, Funk hit his approach on No. 18 to 2 feet. Lehman missed his birdie putt, and Funk tapped in for his seventh victory on the 50-and-over tour first since 2010. He finished with a 5-under 67 for a 14-under 202 total.

The 55-year-old Funk added one more good memory at the Woodlands Country Club, where he won the Houston Open in 1992 for his first win on the regular tour. He met his second wife, Sharon, at a post-tournament event that year and Sharon was the first to run onto the green and congratulate him Sunday.

Lehman closed with a 68.

Season points leader Michael Allen, who was going for his third straight win, finished five shots back after a 71.


MOLINARI WINS SPANISH OPEN
Francesco Molinari shot a 7-under 65 Sunday to win the Spanish Open by three strokes, the first Italian to capture the European Tour event.

Molinari finished at 8-under 280 in the 100th edition of the tournament for his third victory on the tour. He entered the final round four strokes behind leader England's Simon Dyson, who shot a 76 and tied for 12th place.

Molinari was followed by Spaniards Pablo Larrazabal (71) and Alejandro Canizares (69) and Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen (69).

Matteo Manassero (70) was tied for seventh. The Italian will have to wait until Monday's rankings to see if he has moved back inside the top 60 to qualify for the U.S. Open next month. Manassero arrived in Seville ranked 64th but needed to finish seventh on his own to be assured of qualifying.


PHATLUM TAKES LPGA EXHIBITION EVENT
Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand shot a 6-under 67 to win the LPGA Tour's Brazil Cup on Sunday, four shots ahead of Amy Hung of Taiwan.

Phatlum had six birdies and no bogeys to finish 13-under for the tournament at the Itanhanga Golf Club in Rio de Janeiro. Five of her birdies came on the front nine.
Hung had nine birdies and a bogey for an 8-under 65, the low round of the day.

Paula Creamer eagled the par-5 ninth hole, but gave it back with two bogeys on the back nine to shoot 69 and finish at 8-under for the tournament, tied for third.

Karine Icher of France entered the final round tied for the lead with Phatlum at 7-under, but shot even par to finish tied for fourth.


SWAFFORD WINS NATIONWIDE EVENT
Former Georgia golfer Hudson Swafford banked a shot off the pin and into the 18th hole from a bunker 30 feet away for a birdie, capping a new course-record round and winning the Stadion Classic at UGA on Sunday.

Swafford bridied his final three holes to wrap up a record 9-under par 62 round and finish with a 72-hole 17-under 267.

His tee shot on No. 18 landed in the rough just to the right of the fairway and his second shot hit the lip of the bunker and rolled back into the sand. His final shot, from about 30 feet from the pin, cleared the bunker, hit low on the pole and dropped in.

Luke List, winner of last week's South Georgia Classic in Valdosta, threatened Swafford's lead but hit a tree and botched a shot out of the rough to bogey No. 18 and finish the day with a 6-under 65 and in a tie for second with Lee Janzen with a 72-hole 16-under 268.


IN OTHER NEWS 
 Phil Mickelson  will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday night along with four others, taking an undisputed place among the best who ever played this game.

His 42 wins worldwide include three Masters, a PGA Championship and two World Golf Championships.


Arnold Palmer curled in a 25-foot putt on the 18th hole, raised his right hand and acknowledged the massive, cheering gallery with a thumbs-up sign and his trademark smile.
Jack Nicklaus gave Palmer a hard handshake. Gary Player offered a pat on the back, a fitting end to a memorable day for the golf greats.

Nicklaus, Palmer, Player made up a threesome in a nostalgic, 18-hole exhibition round Saturday in conjunction with the second round of the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship and that threesome took home the biggest trophy, shooting 11-under par.
Lee Trevino played in the threesome ahead in the nine-man scramble.

 Miller Barber, Don January, David Graham, Gene Littler and Dave Stockton also participated.


Researchers have found evidence that a lost English colony from the 16th century may sit beneath the Arnold Palmer-designed golf course at Scotch Hall Preserve.

According to a recent story in The Seattle Times, researchers at the British Museum in London, acting at the request of a group of North Carolina historians and archaeologists, have found a symbol hidden on an ancient map that could show where members of the English colony established on Roanoke Island in 1587 settled. The "Virginea Pars" map was created by members of Sir Walter Raleigh's Roanoke Colony expeditions of 1584-1590, which was the first attempt to establish an English colony in the New World, and is said to be "unusually accurate" for its time.

On the map created by the leader of the 1587 colony expedition, John White, were two small patches, which were commonly used by artists at the time to make alterations to the original. One of the patches was in an area the settlers had explored, and where some historians think they might have moved. 

When the British Museum officials put the map on a simple light table, they found a large symbol under one of the patches that appeared to show the location of a fort roughly at or near what is now the Scotch Hall Preserve. Earlier efforts to match pottery recovered from the area to the correct time-period have also produced positive results, researchers said.


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