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John Merrick never allowed himself to think about winning at Riviera. Not when he was a kid attending his local PGA Tour event in Los Angeles. Not when he was at UCLA and could play the fabled course. And certainly not late Sunday afternoon in a playoff when he faced a daunting 3-iron shot under a row of eucalyptus trees, and his opponent was in the middle of the fairway with a wedge in his hand.
With one last birdie, Brandt Snedeker finally had a chance to catch his breath at one of the best places in golf. He was on the 18th tee at Pebble Beach, Calif., with a three-shot lead Sunday as he gazed into the sun at an endless ocean and tried to grasp just how far he has come in the past few months.
Brian Gay found the extra distance he was looking for without sacrificing control. That was clear late Sunday afternoon in the Humana Challenge at La Quinta, Calif., when Gay cracked a 300-yard drive down the center of the fairway to set up a birdie on the first playoff hole.
Guan Tianlang is an eighth-grader from China who barely weighs 125 pounds and doesn’t hit the golf ball far enough to reach some par 4s. The next stop for the 14-year-old prodigy will be the Masters, where he will tee it up with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson at Augusta National. Guan completed a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Bangkok, making a 5-foot par putt on the final hole at Amata Spring Country Club for a one-shot win that earned him an invitation to the Masters.
Nick Watney missed a chance for a 59 on Sunday in his CIMB Classic victory in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, closing with a course-record 10-under 61 at The Mines despite a bogey at the 18th. Needing a birdie on the par-4 18th for a 59, Watney drove into the left rough, failed to reach the green with his approach and left his long birdie pitch just short of the putting surface.
Sweden’s Jonas Blixt won the Frys.com Open in San Martin, Calif., on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, holing a 4-foot par putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory at CordeValle. Blixt became the third PGA Tour rookie to win this season, closing with a 3-under 68 for a 16-under 268 total. He earned $900,000 in the Fall Series event.
The first impression Tom Lehman had of the Greater Hickory Classic course in Conover, N.C., came from looking at past tournament scores. Lehman thought it was an easy course. Then after he played his first practice round earlier this week on the course designed by Robert Trent Jones, the former British Open champion quickly changed his mind. Lehman enters this week’s PGA Champions Tour event, which begins today ( 10:30 a.m. on Golf), trailing Bernhard Langer by 69 points in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. Langer took over the points lead by winning last week’s event, ending Lehman’s eight-week run as the leader. – AP
U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox and Chris Williams each shot 2-under 69 to help the United States win the rain-shortened World Amateur Team Championship in Antalya, Turkey, with a record score. Fox, from Hendersonville, Tenn.; Williams, a University of Washington senior from Moscow, Idaho; and Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky.; combined for a 54-hole total of 24-under 404. Thomas shot a non-counting 70 on Sunday.
Nick Watney salvaged a dismal season Sunday at The Barclays in Farmingdale, N.Y., with a victory that could not have come at a better time. Watney turned a two-shot deficit against Sergio Garcia into a three-shot lead in a decisive four-hole stretch around the turn at Bethpage Black, and no one got closer than two shots. Watney made a 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 2-under 69 to capture the opening playoff event for the FedEx Cup.
Japan’s Mika Miyazato won the Safeway Classic on Sunday for her first victory on the LPGA Tour, finishing with a 2-under 70 to beat Brittany Lincicome and Inbee Park by two strokes. The 22-year-old Miyazato finished at 13-under 203 in her wire-to-wire victory on Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Course in North Plains, Ore. She shared the first-round lead and had a two-shot advantage after the second.
There’s a simple explanation for Kirk Triplett’s smooth transition as a rookie on the Champions Tour. It’s the same reason why the former Pullman resident won three times, placed in the top 25 in one-third of 501 career starts and pocketed more than $14 million on the PGA Tour.
There’s a simple explanation for Kirk Triplett’s smooth transition as a rookie on the Champions Tour. It’s the same reason why the former Pullman resident won three times, placed in the top 25 in one-third of 501 career starts and pocketed more than $14 million on the PGA Tour. “When I had success on the (PGA) tour there was nothing about my game where anyone would say, ‘He’s great at this or great at that.’ It wasn’t one thing,” Triplett said in a telephone interview earlier this week. Triplett, who turned 50 in March, has converted strong statistics into impressive results. He’s earned $625,747, made nine cuts in nine starts, finished in the top 10 four times and won the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
LAKE ORION, Mich. – Tom Watson has accomplished a lot in golf, winning the British Open five times, the Masters twice along with a U.S. Open. The 62-year-old has had success on the Champions Tour as well, winning three of its five majors, including the Senior PGA last year.
Kirk Triplett won the First Tee Open on Sunday at Pebble Beach for his first Champions Tour title, making an early eagle and closing with a 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Mark McNulty.
Marc Leishman shot an early 8-under 62 and won the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Conn., for his first PGA Tour title Sunday when Charley Hoffman blew a two-stroke lead. The 28-year-old Australian began the day six strokes behind the leaders, but made eight birdies and no bogeys, then sat in the clubhouse for over two hours and watched. He finished at 14-under 266.
Dustin Johnson won the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., on Sunday in his second event back after a back injury sidelined him nearly three months, shooting a 4-under-par 66 to beat John Merrick by a stroke. Johnson birdied Nos. 16 and 17 and closed with a par to finish at 9-under 271. He earned $1,008,000 for his sixth PGA Tour title.
Kirk Triplett put together the best round of golf anyone had ever played Sunday in the Principal Charity Classic in West Des Moines, Iowa. But Jay Haas was brilliant for three rounds instead of one, proving yet again that nobody can dominate the Glen Oaks Country Club like he can.
Rickie Fowler finally picked up his first PGA Tour win Sunday in what might be the start of a rivalry for years to come. Fowler brought style and substance to a sudden-death playoff at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., and delivered a clutch shot – a wedge into 4 feet to birdie the 18th hole and win the Wells Fargo Championship over U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points.
Ben Curtis won on the Texas Open on Sunday in San Antonio for his first PGA Tour title since 2006, holding off Matt Every and John Huh in a tense back-nine finish for a two-stroke victory. Curtis birdied the par-5 18th for an even-par 72 and 9-under total. It was a redeeming and emotional win because he had only limited tour status after a long slump.
Carl Pettersson had another fast start and finished with a 2-under 69 for a five-shot victory over Zach Johnson on Sunday in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head Island, S.C. Pettersson had a run of five straight birdies on the front nine during the third round Saturday to move in front. This time, Pettersson birdied three of the first five holes and built a five-shot lead by the turn that he never relinquished. He finished at 14 under.