|Kenny Perry shoots 63 to win US Senior Open|
|Monday, July 15, 2013 12:13 AM|
OMAHA, Neb. — Kenny Perry is getting the hang of these majors. He only wishes it had happened sooner.
Perry completed a masterful performance with a 7-under 63 on Sunday that gave him a 5-shot win over Fred Funk in the U.S. Senior Open.
The 52-year-old Kentuckian won his second straight senior major with a flurry. His 64-63 finish and the 10-shot deficit he overcame after 36 holes set tournament records. His 13-under total of 267 matched the lowest four-round score.
“It all came together. Why, after all these years?” Perry asked. “Here I am, (almost) 53 years old, and it finally came together for me.”
On the regular tour, Perry won 14 times but was best known for collapses in the 2009 Masters and 1996 PGA Championship. Those memories haunted him again in May when he squandered a 3-shot lead with six holes to play in the Senior PGA Championship and lost by two to Kohki Idoki.
Just as he did two weeks ago in the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel, Pa., where he won by two shots over Fred Couples and Duffy Waldorf, Perry came from well behind to win in the hills and heat at the par-70 Omaha Country Club.
“This is by far the biggest tournament I ever won,” Perry said. “I lost the playoff at the Master’s and the PGA playoff. I didn’t get the job done. Now to have a USGA title, it’s an Open, it’s our Open, it’s what the players play for.
“To finally get it, even though it’s a Senior Open, I still regard it as a very high honor.”
Perry, who started Sunday two shots behind leader Michael Allen, was in front to stay after he birdied the second and third holes and Allen bogeyed the third.
Perry’s 63 matched Allen’s Friday score for best round of the tournament and was the best ever in a U.S. Senior Open final round.
“He put it to us,” Funk said. “Six under yesterday, seven today, back-to-back. It’s kind of what he did two weeks ago at Fox Chapel. He just smoked the field on the weekend. He just lapped us.”
Perry made par over the last three holes. A wide smile crossed his face as he tapped in for par on 18. He dropped his putter, raised both arms and waved his visor to the gallery.
Perry is the ninth player to win consecutive senior majors. He said he wouldn’t go for three in a row. He’s staying home to rest rather than play the British Senior Open in two weeks.
Perry had six birdies and one bogey on his way to a 5-under 30 on the front nine Sunday. He started a run of four straight birdies when he blasted out of the sand to within 5 feet on No. 6.
By the time he made the turn, he was three shots ahead of the fading Allen.
Things momentarily got interesting when Rocco Mediate made a 10-foot putt on No. 15 for his third straight birdie to get within two shots. Over on the par-5 14th, Perry was buried in the left rough. He chipped into the fairway and was left with 130 yards to the pin.
He knocked his wedge within a foot, yelling “Be right” as his ball plopped onto the green and rolled toward the cup. After the tap-in, another birdie on No. 15 and Mediate’s bogey on 16, Perry’s lead was up to five and he was well on his way to his fourth win since he joined the Champions Tour in 2010.
Funk, the 2009 champion, was runner-up for the second straight year and third time since 2008. He was tied with Perry after the third round but couldn’t make much headway, shooting a final-round 68.
Mediate (66) and Corey Pavin (67) tied for third at 7-under 273.
The 54-year-old Allen needed acupuncture treatments for a pinched nerve in his neck to be able to play the last three rounds. His 5-shot lead through 36 holes was the largest in tournament history. He followed his course-record 63 on Friday with a pair of 72s that left him in fifth place.
John Deere Classic
SILVIS, Ill. — Jordan Spieth can say that he’s accomplished something that Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy never did.
Spieth won a PGA Tour event as a teenager — and now he’s joining all those stars at next week’s British Open.
The 19-year-old outlasted David Hearn and Zach Johnson on the fifth hole of a playoff Sunday to win the John Deere Classic, becoming the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in 82 years.
Spieth, a Dallas native who doesn’t turn 20 for another two weeks, hit a short par putt to earn a spot in the field at Muirfield.
He is the first teenager to win since Ralph Guldahl took the Santa Monica Open in 1931.
“I didn’t think it would happen this early,” said Spieth, who turned pro in December after an All-American season as a freshman at the University of Texas. “I had a plan. I guess the plan got exceeded.”
Spieth started the day six shots behind third-round leader Daniel Summerhays. A bogey on the first hole left him seven back with 17 to play.
But Spieth forced his way into the playoff with three straight birdies. The last came when he holed out of the bunker from 44 feet, delighting a crowd that had expected to see Johnson, the hometown favorite, defend his title.
Spieth caught a break when that 44-footer took a pair of fortuitous bounces. But he also put himself in that position with a brilliant final round.
Spieth, Hearn and Johnson all made par on the first four playoff holes. Spieth simply made one more to stave off Johnson and Hearn on the fifth.
Johnson seized control from Summerhays midway through the final round of regulation and looked to be on his way to another win at Deere Run. But Johnson simply couldn’t get enough birdies to put the field away and his uncharacteristic bogey on No. 18 set up a three-man playoff.
All three players had their chances to make a winning shot before the final hole — with Johnson narrowly missing from the back of the green on a shot that clipped the cup on the first playoff hole.
Johnson hit the ground in disbelief. It would turn out to be the closest he would get to victory.
Hearn also had a shot at the win, which would have been his first on the PGA Tour, as well. But he missed a makeable putt on the fourth playoff hole.
Spieth, Hearn and Johnson all went right on their final tee shot. Spieth scrambled out of the rough, though, finding the back of the green to save par and win his first PGA event.
Woods, Mickelson and McIlroy were all 20 when they picked up their first victories but none of them could match Spieth, who is now the fourth-youngest winner in Tour history.
Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
WATERLOO, Ontario — Hee Young Park and Angela Stanford both put up birdies on their first three tries at the 18th hole at Grey Silo Golf Course on Sunday.
Stanford finally blinked on the deciding playoff hole and Park kept her birdie streak alive for the victory at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
Both players tied the LPGA Tour record for lowest total score at 26-under 258. It would take three playoff holes — all on the 471-yard, par-5 finishing hole — before Park ended the drama by hitting a short putt for her second career LPGA victory.
“When we started (the) final round, I just kept reminding (myself) this is just another round,” Park said. “It doesn’t matter (if it’s the) final round or a first round, keep it simple and just think about always (hitting) my target.”
She hit the target when it counted, reaching the green in two on the deciding hole. Stanford, meanwhile, needed three shots to get on the back fringe and her long birdie putt ended up a few feet short.
Park hit her 45-foot eagle putt to within a few feet of the cup. She hit the birdie, raised her fist in the air and later threw the ball into the grandstand surrounding the green.
The effort capped a remarkable week for the 26-year-old South Korean, who recorded a career-best 61 on the par-71 course a day earlier. Stanford closed with a 64, while Park, who had a 1-shot lead on the American after three rounds, had a 65.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew had a 66 and settled for third place at 23 under. South Korea’s Inbee Park (68) finished well back at 16 under, ending her 3-tournament winning streak.
Matthew made a move early in the round. She picked up her third straight birdie on No. 7 to move into first place, leaving Stanford and Park a shot behind.
The trio quickly moved ahead of the pack as they approached the turn.
Matthew birdied Nos. 11 and 12 but a bogey on the 15th hole snuffed her momentum. Stanford had seven birdies over a bogey-free round, while Park went on a tear with three birdies over her last four holes heading into No. 18.
That set the stage for a showdown that would last about an hour.
Sitting tied at 25 under after 71 holes, Stanford reached the green in two and hit a 2-putt for birdie. Park pushed her approach shot wide and hit a nice chip from beside the grandstand to within four feet before draining the birdie putt to force a playoff.
The players hopped into golf carts and returned to the tee to keep playing the hole until there was a winner.
Park had a chance for eagle on the first extra hole, hitting a beautiful approach that bounced once before settling eight feet from the cup. She pushed her eagle putt wide and settled for birdie.
Stanford chipped on from beside the fringe and hit a short putt for a birdie of her own.
On the second playoff hole, both players landed in the first cut beside the green. Stanford went first and chipped it within three feet and Park did the same before both players hit their putts.
Stanford was unlucky on the third playoff hole as her tee shot found the rough and settled into a depression. She used a 4-wood to get out but didn’t hit it clean, with the ball landing in a fairway bunker. Stanford did well to get it to the back fringe but with Park already laying two, Stanford needed to chip in to force play to continue.
When her ball settled a few feet from the hole, Park had the opportunity to go up and down for the victory and she took advantage.
Park earned $195,000 for the win. Stanford picked up $120,353 of the $1.3-million tournament purse with the runner-up finish.
South Korea’s Meena Lee (66) was fourth at 20 under and Karine Icher of France (63) was another shot back in fifth place. American Michelle Wie closed with a 66 to finish tied for 16th place but was still 11 strokes off the pace.