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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