Sunday, December 9, 2012

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-9-2012

 I'm back so let's get to it.

JAMIESON WINS EUROPEAN 2013 OPENER

Scotland's Scott Jamieson won his first European Tour title on Sunday, beating England's Steve Webster and Spain's Eduardo de la Riva in a playoff after the season-opening Nelson Mandela Championship was reduced to a 36-hole shootout because of rain.

Jamieson won with a par on the second playoff hole after Webster made a bogey. De la Riva was eliminated on the first extra hole as the three returned to play the par-4 No. 18 until the first tournament on the 2013 Race to Dubai was decided.

Jamieson had carded an 8 under 57 in his second round at the shortened Royal Durban Golf Club course, which was adjusted to a par-65 and reduced by about 1,600 yards after being deluged on Thursday and Friday because of thunderstorms.

Jamieson's score - the second 57 of the day after South Africa's Jaco van Zyl - gave him a 7 under total of 123 to tie with Webster and De la Riva.

Germany's Maximilian Kieffer, England's Matthew Nixon, Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen and South Africa's Tim Clark tied for fourth behind the playoff trio on 6 under 124.

The 29-year-old Jamieson birdied his last regular hole to snatch a place alongside Webster and De la Riva in the playoff. The 57s carded by him and Van Zyl were the first ever recorded on the European Tour but won't count as records after the par score for the course was reduced by five shots because of the troublesome weather over the past week in Durban.

He birdied five of his opening nine and had eight birdies and no dropped shots in all, making use of the many more short holes on the layout after the readjustment to avoid some of the waterlogged fairways.

Webster, who was the only one of the three playoff contenders to have won a Tour title, posted five birdies for a 5 under 60. De la Riva had six birdies and two bogeys to finish with a 61.

Late finisher Clark was on course for a place in the playoff, and maybe even outright victory, until the former Players champion double-bogeyed No. 17. Even a birdie on the last saw him finish one stroke off the three leaders.

Van Zyl was tied for eighth after he earlier became the first man to return a 57 on the European Tour - but he knew it wouldn't count as the low-round record.




SENIOR WINS AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Peter Senior won the Australian Open by one stroke Sunday, overcoming severe weather conditions that forced a three-hour suspension because of gale-force winds.

The 53-year-old regular on the U.S. Champions Tour shot an even-par 72 in the final round at The Lakes to become the oldest Australian Open champion. Senior finished with a total of 4-under 284, keeping his composure while several other contenders struggled with the winds to drop down the field.

Fellow Australian Brendan Jones was second after a 71, while countryman Cameron Percy finished third after a 73, two strokes behind.

England's Justin Rose finished in a tie for fourth after a 76, three strokes behind Senior.




SCHWARTZEL WINS IN THAILAND

 Charl Schwartzel shot his third 7-under 65 of the tournament Sunday to wrap up a dominating victory at the Thailand Golf Championship, extending his already commanding lead to win by 11 shots.

Schwartzel led from the first round and never slowed down, finishing with a 25-under total of 263 at the Amata Spring Country Club for the South African's first victory since last year's Masters. This year's Masters winner Bubba Watson also shot a 65 to finish in a tie for distant second with Thai golfer Thitiphun Chuayprakong, who finished with a 70.

Sergio Garcia of Spain (70) was fourth in the Asian Tour event, 12 shots back.

Schwartzel finished second here last year, when Lee Westwood was the runaway winner by seven shots.

And he finally got to lift another trophy, following a drought since his victory at the Masters in 2011.

After three inconsistent rounds, American Bubba Watson made no mistake on Sunday, making seven birdies in his first bogey-free outing of the tournament.

The 20-year-old Thitiphun mixed three birdies with three bogeys but an eagle from the bunker on the 11th hole helped him earn a tie for second.

Daniel Chopra, who was in second place after the third round, five shots behind Schwartzel, shot a disappointing 75 yesterday to fall into a tie for sixth with Australian golfer Scott Hend, Simon Dyson of England and the Thai duo of Prom Meesawat and Kiradech Aphibarnra.

Westwood finished with a 70 for a share of 11th place, 16 shots back.
  


FENG WINS LADIES MASTERS

Shanshan Feng of China won the Dubai Ladies Masters by five strokes on Saturday after shooting a 3-under 69 to capture her second Ladies European Tour title.

The sixth-ranked Feng had an eagle, two birdies and a bogey to total 21-under 267 at Emirates Golf Club.

Dewi Claire Schreefel of the Netherlands (69) was next. Caroline Masson of Germany (71) and Becky Brewerton of Wales (65) were nine strokes behind the leader. Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 68 and earned the Order of Merit.

American Cindy Lacrosse (72) was 10 strokes back, while defending champion Lexi Thompson (70) was 12 behind. Michelle Wie (69) tied for 19th.

Masson needed to finish second to win the Order of Merit, but a double-bogey on No. 12 ended her hopes. Ciganda became the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to win the Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year in the same season.



NEWS & NOTES
Phil Mickelson is starting his new season in the desert, only much closer to home.

Mickelson announced Wednesday he will play in the Humana Challenge on Jan. 17-20 in La Quinta, Calif. That's the same week several of golf's biggest names will be across the globe  at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Tiger Woods and Jason Dufner are among the Americans playing in Abu Dhabi.

Mickelson won the tournament in 2002 and 2004 when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He set the tournament record in 2004 with 37 birdies when it was a 90-hole event.

Mark Wilson is the defending champion. FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker also said he would play the Humana Challenge.



Tom Watson says he'd consider captaining the U.S. team at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland, 21 years after his first successful effort.

The 63-year-old Watson said Sunday at the Australian Open that he hadn't been approached, but that it would be a privilege to take over from Davis Love III.

Watson played on Ryder Cup teams in 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1989 and successfully captained the Americans to victory over Europe at The Belfry in England in 1993.



Golf officials are investigating a fight between two caddies near the practice chipping area at The Lakes before the first round of the Australian Open.

PGA Tour of Australasia officials said Friday that Grant Buchanan and Matt Kelly had to be separated after coming to blows as their players prepared for the opening round. Buchanan is James Nitties' caddie, and Kelly works for Marc Leishman.

The caddies were interviewed by tour officials and could face disciplinary action.



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