Sunday, July 29, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 7-29-2012

 PIERCY TAKES CANADIAN OPEN
Scott Piercy made four straight birdies early and one big par late to win the Canadian Open on Sunday.

Piercy closed with a 3-under 67 and tied the oldest 72-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour. He two-putted from 50 feet for par on the 18th hole to finish on 17-under 263.

William McGirt, atop the leaderboard for much of the day, three-putted for bogey on the 15th and failed to save par from a bunker on the 18th for a 69 that left him one shot behind. Robert Garrigus, the 54-hole leader, three-putted the 16th hole for bogey. He shot 70 and also finished a shot behind.

Piercy won for the second time in his career.

Garrigus  missed six putts inside 8 feet. The last one was the most costly. He three-putted from long range just off the green on the 16th, missing an 8-footer for par that left him one shot behind. He missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to force a playoff and had to settle for a 70.

Pierce won while sitting in the clubhouse. Moments earlier, he two-putted for par from 50 feet on the 18th to finish on 17-under 263 and tie the oldest 72-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour.

Now, Piercy is headed to his first World Golf Championship, and then off to the PGA Championship. More perks arrive next year when Piercy goes to Augusta National for the first time to play in the Masters.

Josh Teater (66), Bud Cauley (66) and Chris Kirk (68) tied for fourth, three shots behind. Vijay Singh closed with a 67 to tie for seventh.


COUPLES WINS SR.BRITISH OPEN
Fred Couples won the Senior British Open by two strokes over Gary Hallberg after holing a 25-foot putt to finish with consecutive birdies.

The 1992 Masters champion shot a 3-under 67 in the final round to finish at 9-under 271 to win his first tournament in Britain. Hallberg shot a 66, equaling the best round of the day with American Mark Calcavecchia and Carl Mason.

English pair Barry Lane  and Mason and American Dick Mast had a share of third at 4 under. Overnight leader Bernhard Langer dropped five shots in five holes on the way home to shoot a 75 and slip into a tie for sixth.

Couples was locked in a struggle with Langer until the German double bogeyed No. 12 and the American birdied for a three-shot swing. Langer then bogeyed three holes in a row from No. 14 to slip out of contention.

Hallberg posted the best round of the tournament with a 63 on Friday before following that up with a 73 on Saturday. On Sunday, he made six birdies and didn't drop a shot. Calcavecchia had four birdies and no bogeys, while Mason had three birdies, an eagle and just one bogey.

Tom Watson closed with a 69, his third sub-par round of the tournament to share 10th place at 1-under 279.


WIESBERGER WINS AUSTRIAN OPEN
Bernd Wiesberger had a 7-under 65 to win the Austrian Open by three strokes on Saturday for his second European Tour title.

The Austrian, who was four strokes off the lead going into the final round, finished with an overall 19-under 269. Shane Lowry (66) of Ireland and Thomas Levet (68) of France tied for second.

Wiesberger won the Ballantine's Championship in April.

Overnight leader Thorbjorn Olesen dropped to fifth place after the Dane shot 74 with three bogeys on the back nine.

Wiesberger had four birdies in five holes around the turn. His tee shot at the 17th hit a tree and bounced to leave him in a good position to get onto the green. At the 18th, he made a 50-foot putt on the final hole.

Wiesberger became the third player to win more than one European Tour event this season, along with South Africans Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen.


 PARK WINS EVIAN MASTERS
Inbee Park of South Korea ended her four-year wait for an LPGA Tour title when she shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the Evian Masters, beating veteran Karrie Webb and overnight co-leader Stacy Lewis by two shots.

It was Park's second LPGA Tour title and the first since the U.S. Open in 2008. She finished with a 17-under 271.

The 24-year-old Park made birdies on the last three holes to coast home.
Lewis, who shared the overnight lead with Park, made a run at the end, but her long putt for eagle on the 18th came too late.

China's Shanshan Feng made a late charge as well, shooting a 66 that also included an eagle on the 18th. She finished tied for fourth at 14 under with South Korean amateur Hyo Joo Kim (68) and American Natalie Gulbis (68).

Lewis, who had been seeking her third LPGA Tour title of the year, fell behind with a poor run in the middle of her round - she went eight holes without a birdie, including a bogey on No. 14.

This is the last Evian Masters before the event becomes the Evian Championship and the fifth women's major in September 2013.

Lewis, who tied the course record with a 63 on Friday, missed a birdie on the fourth hole as her shot drifted left. After missing a good birdie chance on the fifth, she hunched forward in frustration with hands on her thighs.

Park birdied the ninth to take the lead at the turn and then moved to 14 under with another birdie on No. 10.

Webb and 2007 Evian winner Gulbis had a chance to make up ground after Park bogeyed the 11th. Webb, the 2006 champion, chipped out of the green rough to sink a birdie on No. 13 to pull even with Gulbis and Park at 13 under.


KOHLES GETS VICTORY IN 1st PRO START
 Ben Kohles won the Web.com Tour's Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in his first professional start, beating Luke Guthrie with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

Kohles closed with a 1-under 70 to match Guthrie at 12-under 272. Guthrie birdied three of the final five holes in regulation for a 66.

One of 12 college All-Americans invited to the event, Kohles turned pro after finishing his amateur career last week in the Porter Cup.

Casey Wittenberg, a two-time winner this year who tops the money list, shot a 68 to tie for second with Cliff Kresge at 11 under. Kresge finished with a 69.



NEWS & NOTES
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson is a father again. Simpson's wife, Dowd, gave birth Saturday to daughter Willow Grace.

Simpson's agent, Thomas Parker, said mother and daughter are doing well.

Ariya Jutanugarn's petition to enter Q-School this year has been denied by the LPGA. Jutanugarn, who is 16 years old, will turn 17 on November 23rd. The LPGA rule states that a player must turn 18 years old by January 1 to be eligible for the qualifying process.

Ariya's primary reason for filing this petition was that her sister Moriya Jutanugarn, 17 and turning 18 on July 28, is going to Q-School and the younger sister wants to play alongside her older sister.

Ariya is a very good playerr. In her two starts on the LPGA this year, she finished T12 at the Honda LPGA Thailand Championship and T22 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Lexi Thompson was an exception to the rule, as she proved by setting a record in winning on the LPGA at 16 years of age. If Ariya had won on the LPGA Tour, then the commissioner would have been forced to do the same.



One day after Ernie Els won the British Open to become the third major champion using a belly putter, the Royal & Ancient said long putters were ''firmly back on the radar'' and that a decision could come soon on whether players can keep using them.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said discussions with the U.S. Golf Association about longer putters anchored to the body began before Els holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the claret jug at age 42.

Keegan Bradley at the PGA Championship and Webb Simpson at the U.S. Open both used belly putters. Adam Scott, who had a four-shot lead with four holes to play in the British Open, was using a long putter that he says helped turn around his game.

Dawson said the discussion with the governing bodies has switched from an equipment issue to a rules issue.

''The initial determination has been that we are examining the subject from a method of stroke standpoint rather than length of putter standpoint, and that takes it into the area of the rules of play, the rules of golf, rather than the rules of equipment,'' he said.

The rules committees of the R&A and USGA are conducting the study, and each will make a recommendation.


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Sunday, July 22, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 7-22-2012


ELS WINS OPEN - SCOTT PULLS MAJOR CHOKE JOB
Ernie Els kept saying all week that he felt something special was going to happen for him in a tournament he's extremely fond of being held on a golf course he loves.Five shots behind pace-setting Adam Scott at the turn and still four shots in arrears with three holes to play on Sunday, the extraordinary happened for Els as he birdied the last hole at Royal Lytham & St Annes and won the British Open when Scott finished with four consecutive bogeys.

Els was the only player to break par among the last five groups to tee off and shot a final-round 2-under-par 68 to finish at 7 under, one shot ahead of Scott, the overnight leader by four. Els made three birdies on the back nine, the final one from 18 feet on the final hole to win his fourth major and first since capturing this championship in 2002.

Scott, on the other hand, was trying to win his first major and seemed in total control all week as he tied the course record with a 64 in the first round, shot 67 in the second and 68 in the third. After a birdie at the 14th, Scott was at 10 under and four shots clear of the field. A bogey at 15 was the result of a poor drive. He missed a three-footer for par on the 16th, couldn't get up-and-down from thick grass behind the 17th green, and drove into a bunker on the 18th.

After laying up from the bunker on 18 and hitting his third to eight feet, Scott's final attempt at salvation slipped by on the left side.



STALLINGS TAKES TRUE SOUTH CLASSIC

Scott Stallings shot a 4-under 68 in the final round on Sunday to win the True South Classic at Annandale Golf Club.

The 27-year-old won his second career tournament and his first in 2012, shooting a 24-under 264, which is a tournament record at Annandale.

Jason Bohn shot a 5-under 67 to finish second, two strokes back. Billy Horschel was alone in third at four strokes back.

Stallings jumped on top of the leaderboard by shooting back-to-back 64s in the second and third rounds. He wasn’t quite as spectacular on Sunday, but late birdies on 16 and 17 allowed him to pull away for the victory.

Stallings was one of the Tour’s best rookies last season, but has struggled because of injuries this season until blazing through Annandale.



NEWS AND NOTES
Anthony Kim, who just three years ago was supposed to be the next big star, has had surgery on his left Achilles tendon, and is expected to be out from 9-12 months. He had injured the tendon while doing some sprint training.

Kim broke through in 2008 when he won his first PGA Tour event (the Wells Fargo Championship), nearly won the Tour Championship and performed well in a United States victory in the 2008 Ryder Cup. But a succession of injuries to his wrist, elbow and thumb have sidelined him for long stretches since then.

This year, he has withdrawn from his last three tournaments, the Shell Houston Open, the Valero Texas Open and the Wells Fargo. He hasn't played competitively since the first round of the Wells Fargo, where he shot a 2-over 74. His best finish is a T42 at the Honda Classic


Yani Tseng fired her caddie Jason Hamilton after 16 wins together. Jason will be moving over to the PGA Tour, where his new employee will be Danny Lee from New Zealand.


And sticking with caddie news….

Luke Donald played the second round at the British Open on Friday with a new caddie after giving regular bagman John McLaren the day off to attend the birth of his first child.

The world number one is accompanied by Gareth Lord who normally works with Swede Robert Karlsson, a late withdrawal from the tournament.


In the first round of the Open Championship - Rory McIlroy bounced a tee shot off a spectator's head and wound up making double-bogey.
When McIlroy went in search of his drive at No. 15, he wasn't expecting anything worse than a tough lie. Instead, at the end of his wild slice, he discovered a bloodied teenager with a bandaged head and his golf ball out of bounds -- by a few inches -- next to a burger stand.

The 16-year-old spectator, Jason Blue, from Bristol, England, got a considerable bruise and an autographed glove for his troubles. In addition to an apology, McIlroy drew a smiley face on the souvenir.



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Sunday, July 15, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 7-15-2012

 JOHNSON WINS THRILLER AT JOHN DEERE
Zach Johnson beat Troy Matteson with a birdie on the second playoff hole, after both players botched the first playoff hole - to win the John Deere Classic. Johnson closed with a 6-under 65 and won the event in his 11th start there. It marks his second victory of the season (Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial) and his ninth career PGA TOUR win.

Johnson carded a final-round, 6-under 65, withstood some late heroics from Troy Matteson , and then defeated Matteson with a spectacular shot that resulted in a winning birdie on the second playoff hole at TPC Deere Run.

Johnson, who trailed by as many as five shots on the front nine, rallied with birdies on Nos. 7, 8, 10, 13 and 14. He took the lead when Matteson double-bogeyed the 15th hole.

Johnson added a birdie on the par-5 17th to get to 20 under, seemingly clear of the field. But Matteson canned a 60-footer for eagle on the 17th to tie Johnson. After making par from the trees on the 18th, Matteson joined Johnson on the 18th tee for the playoff.

Both players struggled on the first playoff hole, matching double bogeys after hitting their second shots in the hazard left of the green.

On the second playoff hole), Johnson hit his 190-yard second shot 6-iron from the fairway bunker to within inches of the hole. He would tap in for birdie and the win.

It was Johnson’s ninth career victory and second of the season. It moved him up to second in the FedExCup standings, trailing only Tiger Woods.

Steve Stricker, who was attempting to become just the fifth player in history to win the same event four times in succession, carded a final-round 70 and finished four shots back in a tie for fifth place.

Stricker’s run became undone with bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15. He had got within one shot of the lead three times.

Scott Piercy finished third and John Senden was fourth.

Despite the playoff defeat, Matteson qualified for next week’s British Open, as the highest top-five finisher not already exempt.

 
CHAPMAN TAKES ANOTHER MAJOR
Roger Chapman came from four strokes back to win his second major of 2012 - the U.S. Seniors Open Championship.

Chapman, who won this year’s Senior PGA Championship, shot 4-under 66 for an aggregate 10-under 270. He became the first British-born player to win a U.S. Senior Open. He’s two for two in majors thus far.

With a birdie on the par-4 14th hole, he built a three-stroke lead over Fred Funk and Tom Lehman. However, Lehman closed the gap to two strokes when he birdied the par-5 15th hole. Chapman’s lead fell to one stroke through 16 holes.

 Lehman, Fred Funk and Corey Pavin were in pursuit at eight under. But Chapman hit his tee shot stiff on No. 17, knocking the ball to within 1 foot, before carding his 18th birdie of the week to get back to 10 under.

As much as the story was about Chapman erasing a four-stroke deficit, equally compelling was the way third-round leader Bernhard Langer lost his cushion. Langer carried a four-stroke lead over five players entering the fourth round. But he had an errant drive on No. 2 that led to a double bogey. He shot two over and got back to eight under for the championship with a birdie on No. 18.


SINGH TAKES SCOTTISH OPEN
Jeev Milkha Singh birdied the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Francesco Molinari and win the Scottish Open.

Singh shot a bogey-free, 5-under 67 to finish at 17-under-par 271. He then waited 90 minutes for the final groups to complete their rounds.

Molinari bogeyed the 15th to drop to minus-17. He parred the last three holes to close out an even-par round of 72 at Castle Stuart Golf Links.

In the playoff, the duo headed back to the 18th hole and both found the short grass off the tee. They both laid up in the fairway with their second shots.

Molinari's third landed 25 feet behind the hole before Singh placed his 15 feet right of the cup. Molinari left his birdie effort well short.

Singh stepped up and dropped his in the middle of the cup for the win.

As an added bonus, Singh claimed one of the final spots in the field for next week's British Open thanks to his fourth European Tour title.

Soren Kjeldsen birdied the sixth and seventh to grab a piece of the lead, but had two bogeys and nine pars over the final 11 holes. He finished at 15-under- par 273 and ended alongside Thomas Levet (70) and Matthew Baldwin (67).

World No. 1 Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington were among eight players that shared 16th place at 12-under-par 276. Donald, last year's winner, closed with a 73, while Mickelson struggled to a 2-over 74. Harrington posted a 1-under 71 on Sunday.


LaBelle II WINS IN UTAH
Doug LaBelle II won the Web.com Tour’s Utah Championship Sunday, shooting a 68 on the final day to come from five strokes back to win it

LaBelle II had a great first day of the four-day tournament, shooting a 64 to tie him for the lead and put him in contention right from the outset.

But after shooting a 68 and a 69 the next two days, LaBelle II fell from the top of the board slightly and appeared to be perhaps settling for something slightly less than the top prize.

Instead, LaBelle shrugged off the five-shot deficit and played an outstanding back nine to overtake the competition and go into the clubhouse at 15-under par.

LaBelle II had two bogies and two birdies on the front nine, but then tallied three birdies and no bogies on the back nine to complete his Sunday at 3-under.

For the tournament, LaBelle recorded a total of 19 birdies and one eagle to only six bogies.

The last golfer on the course capable of dethroning LaBelle II was Michael Putnam, but Putnam bogied the 17th hole before finishing with a birdie on 18 to end one shot back.

The foursome of James Hahn, Scott Gutschewski, Sam Saunders, and Putnam all finished at 14-under. Craig Bowden completed the tournament at 13-under.

It is LaBelle’s second career win on the Web.com Tour, which was formerly known as the Nationwide Tour.


NEWS AND NOTES
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson withdrew from the British Open on Friday as he awaits the birth of his second child.

It will be the second time in the last five years that the British Open is missing the U.S. Open champion. Tiger Woods did not play in 2008 because of season-ending knee surgery the day after he won the U.S. Open.

Simpson has said all along it was doubtful he would travel to Royal Lytham & St. Annes because his wife, Dowd, was expecting their second child. The British Open starts next Thursday.


The Madrid Open has been removed from the European Tour's calendar due to a lack of funding.

Tournament spokeswoman Maria Acacia Lopez-Bachiller tells The Associated Press that no sponsors for the Sept. 20-23 event were found to replace Bankia, the bailed-out Spanish bank that previously sponsored the tournament.

Acacia Lopez-Bachiller says ''organizers are hoping to find new sponsorship to bring the tournament back next year. It's a shame, but the situation in Spain has left it this way.''

Acacia Lopez-Bachiller adds ''at the moment the Andalucia Masters is on.'' That European Tour event, with a prize fund of $3.7 million, is scheduled for Oct. 18-21 at a yet-to-be-determined location.

The Castellon Masters is another Spanish tournament that has been removed from this year's schedule.


T.J. Vogel  won the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He made six birdies over a seven-hole stretch and coasted to a 12-and-10 win over Kevin Aylwin, earning him a spot in the 2013 Masters field.

Vogel seized control during the first 18 holes in the morning, with birdies on the second and fourth to go 3 up. Aylwin bogeyed the first, sixth and eighth to drop back even further and never quite settled into a groove after those three holes.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 7-8-2012

FIRST TIME WINNER AT GREENBRIER
Ted Potter Jr.'s first PGA Tour victory came by making a 4-foot birdie putt on the third hole of a playoff  to beat Troy Kelly in the Greenbrier Classic, Potter earned a spot in the Masters, something he listed as career goal.
 
Simply winning, though, had been the top priority for a player who first joined the former Nationwide Tour in 2004 and didn't have much success until last year.

Potter finished second on the Nationwide money list last year to advance to the PGA Tour. He tied for 13th in his first event of the year but had missed five straight cuts entering the week.The left-hander became the sixth first-time winner on the tour this season. He jumped from 173rd to 51st in the FedEx Cup standings.

He also gets a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. And Potter, Kelly and Marc Leishman, who won two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship  can pack their bags for the British Open, which starts July 19 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

Ranked 218th in the world, Potter overcame a four-stroke deficit with four holes to play, finishing with his second straight 6-under 64 to match Kelly at 16 under. Kelly closed with a 66.

It marked the third straight year of close finishes on the Old White TPC course. Scott Stallings beat Bob Estes and Bill Haas on the first hole of a playoff last year, and Stuart Appleby shot a 59 to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke in 2010.

Webb Simpson lost a one-stroke lead on the back nine at the tournament for the second straight year. The U.S. Open champion made three straight bogeys, shot 73 and tied for seventh at 11 under.

During the fourth round, Potter made long putts for a birdie at No. 15 and an eagle at No. 17, and his 5-footer for birdie at No. 18 tied Kelly, who could have avoided the playoff but missed birdie putts on the final two holes.

Charlie Wi and rookie Charlie Beljan tied for third at 14 under. Wi shot a 65, and Beljan had a 67.

Daniel Summerhays finished fifth at 13 under after a 64. Martin Flores (67) was another stroke back.

Simpson, the third-round leader, had gone 50 consecutive holes without a bogey but made three of them in a row starting at the par-5 12th.

Joining him at 11 under were Robert Castro (63), Kevin Na (65), Sean O'Hair (66) and Ken Duke (70). Duke was within a shot of the lead on the 14th hole before fading with a pair of double bogeys.


Na Yeon Choi is U.S. Women's Open Champ

Na Yeon Choi survived a triple bogey on the back nine Sunday to win the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run.

It's the first major and sixth career LPGA Tour victory for the 24-year-old South Korean star, who came into the tournament ranked fifth in the world.

Choi shot a 1-over 73 on Sunday and finished at 7 under for a four-stroke victory. Fellow South Korean player Amy Yang  finished  second.Yang carded a one-under 71 for a three-under total of 285, with no other players finishing under par for the event.

Choi came into Sunday with a six-stroke lead after shooting a 7-under 65 on Saturday. Choi then got into trouble when she triple-bogeyed No. 10, but she recovered to win at the same course where Se Ri Pak won South Korea's first major title in 1998.

Germany’s Sandra Gal was third at 1-over 289 after a final-round 74. Paula Creamer, the 2010 champion, was the low American at 3-over 291, which shared seventh place. Creamer had a final-round 74.


TRIPLETT TAKES FIRST TEE OPEN

Kirk Triplett won the First Tee Open, shooting a final round of 66 to finish 10-under for the tournament.

Triplett, a two-time PGA Tour winner making his eighth start on the senior tour after turning 50 in March, finished at 10-under 206. He opened with a 70 at Pebble Beach and had a 70 at Del Monte on Saturday to enter the final round four strokes behind leaders Tom Kite and Brad Bryant.

Triplett eagled the par-5 second hole, and chipped in on the par-4 16th for the last of his five birdies. He had only one bogey in the final round, on the par-3 12th.

Mark McNulty was second after a 69.

Bryant, Jay Haas and Bill Glasson tied for third at 6 under. Haas and Glasson shot 69, and Bryant had a 74.

The 62-year-old Kite closed with a 76 to tie for ninth at 4 under. Jeff Sluman, the 2008, 2009 and 2011 winner, also was 4 under after a 67.


GERMAN TAKES FRENCH OPEN
German Marcel Siem won the Alstom French Open by a stroke from Italian Francesco Molinari at Le Golf National near Paris.

Siem, whose performance also earns him a place in the Open Championship, took continental Europe's oldest golf title with a superb closing 67 and eight-under-par total of 276.

He began the week 120th on the rankings, but has moved into the top 60 with the win.

Molinari, who lost a play-off to Miguel Angel Jimenez on the course two years ago, threatened to pull off an astonishing win after double-bogeying the opening hole.

He was eight behind at that point, but then grabbed nine birdies and set the target with a best-of-the-week 64.

Siem was joint leader at the time and responded by splashing out of sand to seven feet at the long 14th, then hitting a glorious iron to four feet on the dangerous next.

There were still three tough holes to come, but he parred the first two and after driving into a bunker on the last achieved the bogey which he knew was probably going to be good enough
to win.

French hope Raphael Jacquelin could have forced sudden death by holing his second to the 18th, but a par four left him third on his own on six under.

One stroke further back were English trio Ian Poulter, David Lynn and joint overnight leader David Howell.



NEW AND NOTES

There's a new beer in town and it's called Slammin' Sam, "the smoothest beer in golf," as it bills itself.
Slammin' Sam, inspired by Sam Snead and made by Wisconsin's Stevens Point Brewery, debuted, at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., site of the Greenbrier Classic.

"Dad considered the Greenbrier his home away from home," Snead's son Jack said in a news release. "He'd be real proud of Slammin' Sam beer, I can tell you that."

Slammin' Sam will be in available cans, bottles and kegs and will be introduced nationally at a later date. Snead represented the Greenbrier for decades, hence its introduction there, timed with the playing of the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic.


The PGA Tour has extended its contract with the Greenbrier Classic through 2021.

Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice made the announcement Tuesday.

Justice bought the resort in 2009, and the tournament debuted a year later as a replacement on the FedEx Cup schedule for the Buick Open in Michigan. 

The Greenbrier Classic's original contract was set to run through 2015.


Canada's premier golf tournament is returning to Glen Abbey Golf Club in 2013.

Officials announced Friday that the course will host the RBC Canadian Open for the 26th time, and for the first time since 2009, on July 22-28, 2013.

Past Glen Abbey champions include Greg Norman, Nick Price and Tiger Woods. Woods won the 2000 tournament with a 216-yard 6-iron shot that landed on the green on the 18th hole.

This year's tournament is at Hamilton Golf and Country Club from July 23-29.


Dottie Pepper has been appointed assistant captain for the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup team.

U.S. captain Meg Mallon announced the selection Wednesday at Blackwolf Run, which is hosting the U.S Women's Open this week.

It's a sign that Pepper and the U.S. team have moved past a controversial comment Pepper made on air while working as a television analyst at the 2007 Solheim Cup. Pepper referred to the U.S. team as ''chokin' freakin' dogs,'' believing she wasn't on the air.

Pepper says there ''was definitely a lot of hurt'' and she still regrets it.

Mallon said Pepper needs to ''stop carrying this burden around.''

The 2013 Solheim Cup will be held at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. Mallon said the course has not been affected by recent wildfires.


Lorena Ochoa is making a limited return to golf and will play in October at the French Open on the Ladies European Tour.

The 30-year-old Mexican retired in 2010 and gave birth to a son in December 2011. She has always said she would play a few occasional events, but did not foresee a return to a competitive schedule.

A statement on her website Thursday said the tournament in France would be one of two sanctioned events she plans to play. She will also enter her own tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on Nov. 8-11 in her hometown of Guadalajara. She missed the event last year when she was pregnant.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 7-1-2012

TIGER ON TOP WINS THIRD OF YEAR
Tiger Woods won for the third time this year by outlasting Bo Van Pelt in a back-nine duel Sunday in the AT&T National.

Woods closed with a 2-under 69 and won for the 74th time on the PGA Tour, moving past Jack Nicklaus and into second place on the tour's career list. He is eight wins away from catching Sam Snead.

Van Pelt had Woods on the ropes until a surprising turnaround on the par-5 16th, where both players made bogeys and remained tied. Van Pelt flew the 17th green and had to scramble for bogey, giving Woods a one-shot lead that he did not give back.

Woods remained at No. 4 in the world golf rankings behind No. 1 Luke Donald, No. 2 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Lee Westwood.

Tiger next plays this week in the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia. After an off week, he will resume his march toward Nicklaus' major record on July 19 in the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

Woods' victory ends a bizarre weekend at the AT&T National. Because of a massive storm that thundered across the area on Friday night, the course was closed to spectators for the third round Saturday. PGA Tour officials were concerned about safety because of broken and downed tree limbs throughout the course.

Officials cleaned up the course outside the ropes in time for play on Saturday, and Woods and the field played in front of a handful of media, security and essential volunteers. But the fans came back on Sunday to root the golfers on.

With the win Woods moved to the top of the PGA Tour money list and the FedEx Cup standings for the first time since September 2009.



AI MIYAZATO TAKES LPGA EVENT
Ai Miyazato shot a 6-under 65 on Sunday to overcome a five-shot deficit and win the NW Arkansas Championship for her second LPGA Tour victory of the year.

She made a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to reach 12 under for the tournament, and her ninth career LPGA Tour victory was secured when Mika Miyazato missed a 15-foot birdie attempt on No. 18.

 Ai Miyazato had seven birdies and one bogey in the final round to finish a stroke ahead of Mika Miyazato and Azahara Munoz.

Ai Miyazato also won the LOTTE Championship in April.

Mika Miyazato had a 67, and Munoz closed with a 65.

Veronica Felibert, the rookie from Venezuela who opened the day with a four-shot lead, shot a 72 to tie for fourth at 10 under.



DALEY GET FIRST CHAMPIONS TITLE
Joe Daley won the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday for his first Champions Tour title, closing with a 2-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Tom Lehman.

The 51-year-old Daley, winless in his PGA Tour career, had a 14-under 266 total at Fox Chapel. He earned $405,000 and full Champions Tour status for a calendar year.

Lehman finished with a 69. He was trying to win his second straight Champions Tour major after taking the Regions Traditions in his previous start.

 Olin Browne was third at 11 under after a 65. Mark Calcavecchia, tied with Daley for the third-round lead, had a 72 to match 2011 winner Fred Couples at 10 under. Couples finished with a 71.

Daley capped the victory with a 15-foot putt on the final hole for his tournament-high 24th birdie.

Couples, fighting chronic back problems all weekend, bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16 to drop out of contention.

Lehman also faltered late in the 90-plus-degree heat, bogeying three of the final six holes.



TOMASULO IN A PLAYOFF
Peter Tomasulo parred the fourth playoff hole Sunday to defeat David Lingmerth and win the United Leasing Championship at Victoria National Golf Club.

Tomasulo made a four at No. 18 after Lingmerth found trouble off the tee on the fourth hole of sudden death. It was Tomasulo's third victory on the Web.com Tour and first since 2010.

He managed a 2-under 70 in Sunday's final round, but could have avoided a playoff altogether had he not bogeyed the 18th in regulation.

Lingmerth shot a 4-under 68 to post 11-under 277. Tomasulo matched him there, then prevailed four holes later.

Richard Scott carded a 1-under 71 and took third at 10-under 278.

Scott Gardiner , Aaron Watkins , Morgan Hoffman, Derek Fathauer and Chris Riley  tied for fourth place at 9-under 279.

It was a tough day for third-round leader Alistair Presnell. The Aussie recorded three double bogeys, three bogeys and three birdies for a 6-over 78 and a share of 21st at minus-5.



DONALDSON TAKES IRISH OPEN
Jamie Donaldson finally landed his first European Tour title at the Irish Open.

The 36-year-old, who had 32 top-10 finishes to his name since turning professional 12 years ago, won the Irish Open at Royal Portrush by four shots from England's Anthony Wall, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti.

Donaldson was overtaken by Swede Mikael Lundberg early in the day, but kept his composure and with five birdies in the last seven holes closed with a superb 66, only one off the lowest round of the week.

In the first Irish Open in Northern Ireland since 1953, an event watched by sell-out crowds totalling more than 112,000, he posted an 18 under par total of 270.

The week had also included his first hole-in-one on the circuit - and he began it at Sunningdale by qualifying for The Open after a round of 62.

Padraig Harrington had a frustrating day with a round of 70 leaving him six shots behind the winner. Not for the first time, it was the putter that failed to emulate the brilliance of his approach play.



IN OTHER NEWS
The PGA Tour announced another important sponsorship Wednesday, agreeing to a 10-year deal with Web.com as the sponsor of its developmental tour.

The Web.com Tour replaces what had been known as the Nationwide Tour, and the change was effective immediately.

The agreement comes four months after the tour renewed its deal for the FedEx Cup, a $35 million bonus series. Last fall, the tour negotiated a nine-year television deal with NBC Sports and CBS Sports, meaning its TV contracts are set through 2021.

Web.com takes over a tour that is to become the primary path for players to reach the PGA Tour.

Starting in September 2013, the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour and the top 75 PGA Tour players who failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs will meet in a three-tournament series that effectively replaces Q-school. Fifty cards would be awarded after those three events.

Web.com, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is a provider of internet services and online marketing solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses.


Matt Dobyns completed a runaway victory in the PGA Professional National Championship, closing with a 2-under 70  for a record eight-stroke margin.

The 34-year-old Dobyns, the PGA head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y., finished at 13-under 275. The former University of Texas player shot a 68 to open and followed with rounds of 68 and 69  to take a six-stroke lead into the final round.

Hall of Famer Sam Snead, the PGA Tour's career victory leader, had the previous largest victory in the event, winning by five strokes in 1971

.The top 20 earned spots in the PGA Championship in August at Kiawah Island. Dobyns also received $75,000 and six PGA Tour exemptions over a 12-month period.


Sixteen-year-old Scottie Scheffler, a  junior at Highland Park (Texas) High School moved into the national spotlight with a couple of eye-popping rounds that would make even Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson shake their head in disbelief.

As the Dallas Morning News reported, Scheffler fired back-to-back 61s in the Dallas area, breaking the course record at Northwood Club with a 10-under 61, just one week after the club celebrated the 60th anniversary of hosting the 1952 U.S. Open.

Scheffler took only eight putts on the back nine.in the morning round then one-putted seven of the final nine greens in the afternoon.

Scheffler went on to tie the course record at Dallas Country Club just a couple days later with another 61 during a practice round.

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