Sunday, February 10, 2013

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 2-10-2013

 SNEDEKER GETS HIS FIRST - WINS AT PEBBLE BEACH
Brendt Snedeker holed a 10-foot birdie on the 17th hole, and then tapped in for par to finish at 19-under 267. That broke the tournament record by one shot held by Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997), who each had a 20-under 268 when Poppy Hills was still in the rotation.

The hottest player in golf, Snedeker finally has a trophy to show for it.


In five starts this year, he already had a win, two second-place finishes and a third. He never had much of a chance against Woods at Torrey Pines or Mickelson at the Phoenix Open, who each had big leads going into the final round.


Snedeker was tied with James Hahn, a 31-year-old rookie from the Bay Area, and seized control with an eagle and three birdies on the opening seven holes. Snedeker responded to his only bogey, a three-putt at No. 9, by rolling in birdie putts on the next two holes.


He took a long gaze out at the Pacific while waiting on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach, perhaps reflecting on an amazing ride over the last six months -- winning the Tour Championship to capture the FedExCup and its $10 million prize, his first Ryder Cup team, and a blazing start to the new season.


Snedeker goes to No. 4 in the world, the highest ranking of his career and second only to Woods among Americans.


He now heads off to a vacation on Maui before returning for the stretch run leading to the Masters. Winning a major is the next step for Snedeker, a 32-year-old from Nashville who has emerged as a veritable threat wherever he plays with a confident putting stroke and a dramatic increase in hitting fairways off the tee.


Hahn wound up with a 2-under 70 and tied for third with Jimmy Walker (66) and Kevin Stadler (65). The day wasn't a total loss for Hahn. He previously tied for fourth at the Humana Challenge, and his tie for third gets him into Riviera next week. He hasn't missed a cut this year and is already 11th in the FedExCup standings.


 

ROCCO TAKES ALLIANZ
In his first outing on the Champions Tour Rocco Mediate took home the trophy with a two shot victory over Bernhard Langer and Tom Pernice Jr. at the Allianz Championship.
 

He finished the tournament at 17-under 199 and became the 16th player to have a winning debut on the Champions Tour.
 

Mediate's 4-foot birdie putt came after Tom Pernice Jr. missed a 5-footer at No. 18 that could have forced a playoff.

Mediate started the day with a three-shot lead, lost it by the 14th hole, but regained it when Pernice bogeyed the par-4 17th from a greenside bunker. Mediate protected that lead with a birdie on the par-5 closing hole.


Pernice, who had a final-round 70, finished tied with Bernhard Langer  for second place. It was Langer's fourth top-three finish in this event in the past five years. Langer won here in 2010.
Mediate won six PGA Tour titles and also lost a memorable playoff to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. 


Mediate shot a course-record 61 in the second round on Saturday.
Mark O'Meara  and defending champion Corey Pavin were both six shots off the lead.



STERNE WINS JOBURG OPEN
Richard Sterne cruised to his first European Tour title in more than four years, winning the Joburg Open by seven shots.


Sterne shot a bogey-free 64 to finish with a tournament record total of 27 under at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington golf course and win by the largest margin in tournament history.


Fellow overnight leader Trevor Fisher Jr. faltered on the final day, allowing Sterne to finish well clear of Charl Schwartzel  in second. Fisher eagled the first but sank to a 1-over 73 that dropped him to joint sixth, despite sitting five shots clear of the field with Sterne at the start of the final round.


Fisher eagled the first but sank to a 1-over 73 that dropped him to a tie for sixth, despite sitting five shots clear of the field with Sterne at the start of the final round.


The victory was Sterne's first since the 2008 South African Championship, and represented a major milestone for the 31-year-old player, who led at the halfway stage of last week's Omega Dubai Desert Classic before finishing second to Stephen Gallacher.


Ricardo Santos of Portugal matched Sterne's final-day score of 64 to earn a share of third place alongside Chilean Felipe Aguilar (67) and South African George Coetzee (67).



TEENAGER MAKES HISTORY
Teenager Lydia Ko became the youngest winner of a women's European Tour golf event when she took victory at the New Zealand Women's Open in Christchurch on Sunday.

The New Zealander cried with joy after winning her third professional title from 12 events at the age of 15 years, eight months and 17 days.

Ko, who made a three-foot putt on the final hole to finish on 206, one ahead of American Amelia Lewis, beat the record set by South Korean Amy Yang, who was aged 16 years, six months and eight days when she won the Ladies Masters in Australia as an amateur in 2006.

Ko became the third amateur to win on the women's European Tour, after Gillian Stewart, at the 1984 European Open, and Y

Ko, already number 38 on the world professional rankings, now heads for the Australian Open in Canberra, which starts on Thursday.



NEWS & NOTES
Triple major champion Padraig Harrington and 2011 U.S. Masters winner Charl Schwartzel will join world number three Luke Donald in the field for next month's Malaysian Open, organisers said on Monday.


Harrington, up to 47th in the rankings after finishing tied-ninth at the Phoenix Open on Sunday, last appeared in Malaysia in 2006 and ended a two-year victory drought in October at the elite four-man Grand Slam of Golf event in Bermuda.


Matteo Manassero of Italy has also confirmed his participation in the March 21-24 tournament he won in 2011.


Rory McIlroy has formally committed to play in the Houston Open, which takes place two weeks before The Masters.


The two-time major champion and current No. 1 player will make his third start in the event and his first since 2010. This year, as part of his ''6 Bags'' charity drive, McIlroy will use a bag emblazoned with the logo of Chinquapin Prep, a Houston-area school for disadvantaged youth. The bag will be auctioned off through McIlroy's foundation and all proceeds will go to the school.

Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood are among the other top international players committed to play in Houston.


Nike, the Beaverton, Ore.-based company announced on Monday that David Duval, who became the first to win a major championship using Nike clubs when he captured the 2001 British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, had re-signed with “the Swoosh” for 2013.

Duval, who split from Nike in 2010, spent 29 weeks as world No. 1 in 1999 and won 13 PGA TOUR titles between 1997 and 2001. But following the 2001 season, Duval's game hit a rough patch due in large part to a number of nagging injuries.
 

Over the past 10 seasons, Duval's finished inside the top 125 on the money list only once; he also made just 12 cuts in 41 PGA TOUR starts over the last two seasons.


 

The U.S. Open at Merion will be the shortest course for a major championship in eight years.
 

USGA executive director Mike Davis said Merion, which has not hosted a major since 1981, will be 6,992 yards on the scorecard. The last major course that was under 7,000 yards was Shinnecock Hills for the 2004 U.S. Open, which played 6,996 yard. Merion will be the shortest since Southern Hills, which was 6,973 in 2001.

Retief Goosen won both those U.S. Opens.

The USGA decided to cut down on tickets because Merion, located near Philadelphia, is not a big piece of property like Bethpage Black or Pinehurst. The USGA will take a financial hit compared with other venues, but it felt it was worth it.


The Canadian Women's Open will be looking for a new title sponsor after CN announced a change in its golf involvement. CN instead will expand its sponsorship of Canada's national junior golf program. .



The Scottish Open will be the first regular European Tour event to be shown live on an American network. NBC Sports plans to show 2 1/2 hours of live coverage from the final two rounds at Castle Stuart to complement Golf Channel coverage. A Golf Channel spokesman says the European Tour has agreed to push back starting times on the weekend because of the five-hour time difference.



 Phil Mickelson has chosen to opt out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

 Mickelson confirmed this week that he will not be in the field of 64 for the season's first World Golf Championship later this month.

Mickelson will instead take a trip with his family, as his three children are out of school during the event week.

 Mickelson skipped the event both last year and in 2010, and next week's Northern Trust Open will  mark the fifth straight event in which he has participated.

 


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