Sunday, June 10, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 6-10-2012

 JOHNSON WINS ST. JUDE
Dustin Johnson won the St. Jude Classic on Sunday in his second event back on tour after a back injury cost him nearly three months, shooting a 4-under 66 that held off John Merrick by a stroke.

Johnson began the final round two strokes back and held a piece of the lead three different times. He won his sixth career title with consecutive birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 and finished 9-under 271.

He aggravated his back in early March lifting a jet ski at his home and didn't return to the PGA Tour until last week at the Memorial, where he tied for 19th.

Johnson, who picked up the check for over $1 million, led by only a stroke going to No. 18. Rory McIlroy, Chad Campbell and Nick O'Hern, three of the four who had a chance to tie Johnson with a birdie, knocked their tee shots into the lake.

Davis Love III, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, shot a 69 and tied for third with O'Hern (69), Campbell (68) and Ryan Palmer (66) at 273. McIlroy, who now heads to San Francisco and The Olympic Club to defend his U.S. Open title, had a 69 and tied three others at 274.Tour officials pushed tee times up more than three hours and sent players off both tees in threesomes to avoid thunderstorms predicted for Sunday afternoon.

Johnson carded four birdies and a bogey in the round. He took control with consecutive birdies, rejoining the lead pack at 8 under when he rolled in an 11-footer on the par-5 16th. 

Johnson then moved to the top of the leaderboard by himself at 9 under by hitting his second shot from 161 yards to 9 feet on the par-4 No. 17 before sinking the birdie putt.

He found the fairway with his tee shot on No. 18 and finished up with a par that proved to be just enough.

 

LEHMAN REPEATS AT REGIONS
Tom Lehman won his second straight Regions Tradition, finishing the Champions Tour major with a 4-under 68 on Sunday to take a two-stroke victory.

Lehman overcame a near-constant drizzle and occasional heavy rains at Shoal Creek - plus hard charges by Bernhard Langer and Chien Soon Lu - for his sixth Champions Tour victory. Langer and Lu each finished with a 66 to share second behind Lehman's 14-under 274.

The former British Open champion, who shot in the 60s all four days, joins Jack Nicklaus, Gil Morgan and Fred Funk as the only players to win the Tradition multiple times. He played the final hole with his cap turned backward in the rain.

He's the first player to repeat in a senior major championship since Allen Doyle won the U.S. Senior Open in 2005 and 2006. Gil Morgan in 1997 is the only other Tradition winner to post four rounds in the 60s.

Lehman won $335,000 with his first victory since last year's Regions Tradition, a 13-month drought. Lehman is the 11th winner of 2012.

After beating Peter Senior in a playoff last year, Lehman didn't have to sweat this one out nearly as much on a brisk day that began with an early two-tee start and ended with storms closing in. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place the ball because of the conditions.

Lehman made long birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 12 after Langer briefly tied him at 9 under, pushing his lead to two strokes with a short birdie putt on the par-3 13th hole.

He bogeyed No. 17, but that added little drama since he avoided trouble on the 18th.

Fred Couples closed with a tournament-low 65 and entered the final hole with four straight birdies but still finished four strokes back.

Russ Cochran and Bill Glasson, who led after each of the first two rounds, were five shots back. Jeff Sluman and Brad Bryant were six strokes behind. Sluman had eagled the par-5 No. 3 for the second straight day to move to 10 under, six of that coming from that hole.


 
FENG MAKES HISTORY AT WEGMANS
Shanshan Feng fired a 5-under-par 67, the lowest round of the tournament,  to become the first player from mainland China (male or female) to win a major championship.

 Unflappable from her opening tee shot, Feng also fired one of the just three bogey-free rounds in the entire tournament.

Stacy Lewis, bidding to win her third straight stroke-play event on the LPGA Tour, shot a 70 to tie for second with Mika Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen and third-round leader Eun-Hee Ji. Miyazato shot 69, Pettersen 70, and Ji 72.

Karrie Webb, who started the day one shot behind Ji, had a 72 to finish at 3 under. Little-known Gerina Piller, a star in college at UTEP, and Ai Miyazato each had a closing 68 to also finish at 3 under.

Paula Creamer had a 71 and Giulia Sergas and Inbee Park each shot 72 to finish another shot back.

Defending champion Yani Tseng had a closing 76 and was 13 over in a tournament she won a year ago by 10 shots.


 
 WILLIAMS GETS FIRST WIN IN MEXICO
Lee Williams posted three birdies on the back nine Sunday en route to a two-under 70, which helped him win the Mexico Open by a single stroke.

Williams, who won for the first time on the Nationwide Tour, finished at 14- under-par 274 at El Bosque Golf Club.

Paul Haley II closed with a four-under 68 to take second at minus-13. This was his second runner-up finish of the year.

Scott Gutschewski birdied eight of the first 10 holes to grab the lead at 13- under par, However, he went one-over through the final eight holes to end alone in third at 12-under-par 276.

Tyrone Van Aswegen  and Philip Pettitt, Jr.  shared fourth place at minus-11.


 
WESTWOOD TAKES EURO TITLE
LEE Westwood heads for the US Open with the Nordea Masters title.

The world No.3, desperate to land his first Major in San Francisco, strolled to a five-shot win at Bro Hof Slott, Stockholm.

Westwood fired a final round of three-under 69 for an impressive total of 269.

It was the Englishman’s 22nd European Tour victory and third Scandinavian Masters following successes in 1996 and 2000.

After missing five putts of under 10 feet in the first 10 holes Westwood found his three-shot overnight lead cut to two first by Sergio Garcia then by Sweden’s Peter Hanson and Englishman Ross Fisher.

But at the par-five 12th he put daylight between himself and the field as he hit a great six iron to 10 feet and drilled in the eagle putt.

Hanson’s chances of victory were dashed when he drove into water at the 15th and made double bogey.

Fisher called off the chase by dropping two shots at the 13th when he also found the drink. Three closing birdies allowed Fisher to sign for 71 and take outright second at 14 under as he bounced back from being handed a one-shot penalty for slow play in the Wales Open.


NEWS & NOTES
Britain-Ireland rallied past the United States on Sunday to win the Curtis Cup, ending the Americans' 16-year domination of the tournament.

The outcome means that for the first time all four major professional and amateur men's and women's team trophies are held by Britain, Ireland and Europe.

Britain-Ireland beat the Americans 10 1/2 to 9 1/2 despite needing to win five of the eight singles matches Sunday. Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland scored the critical point by defeating Amy Anderson.

Britain-Ireland and Europe now hold the Curtis Cup, men's amateur Walker Cup plus the pro Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup titles.



Casey Martin and his cart are headed back to The Olympic Club for the U.S. Open.

Martin, who successfully sued for the right to ride a cart because of a rare circulatory disorder in his right leg, earned a spot in the U.S. Open on Monday night when he holed a 5-foot par putt in darkness on the final hole at Emerald Valley Golf Club.

The 40-year-old Martin, now the golf coach at Oregon, turned with his hands on his hips and looked toward the darkening clouds after making the putt for a 36-hole score of 138. Had he missed, he would have been in a three-man playoff for two spots.

Martin earned his way onto the PGA Tour in 1999 and eventually won his lawsuit to ride a cart. He failed to keep his PGA Tour card after one year, and eventually became the golf coach at Oregon. But with the U.S. Open returning to Olympic, and a qualifying site so close to home, he decided to give it a try.


Davis Love III qualified for his 23rd U.S. Open, playing 36 holes in 2 under in rounds at Scioto Country Club and Ohio State's Scarlet Course. He was one of 16 players at the biggest of the 11 qualifiers across the country on Monday.

Others making the grade included medalist Charlie Wi, Kevin Streelman, D.A. Points, Steve Marino and Rod Pampling.

The 48-year-old Love has won 20 tournaments around the world, including the 1997 PGA Championship.

 
Grace Park, who won one major among her six victories on the LPGA Tour, announced her retirement Friday at the LPGA Championship.

''I'm ready for a new phase in my life,'' said the often-injured Park, who finished her two rounds at 6 over par and wasn't likely to make the cut. ''It's my own fault for not taking care of my body.''

The 33-year-old Park, who won the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, suffered from back, neck and hip problems, underwent two surgeries, and missed the better part of three years on tour because of her ailments. She won more than $5 million on tour.



Congratulations to Gerry of Long Island for picking Dustin Johnson to win the St Jude Classic. His pick for the US Open is Hunter Mahan


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