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Still Time to Sign up for GSC’s Land Resources Golf Tournament

The Free Press WV

The green fairways of Bel Meadow Golf Club in Clarksburg, West Virginia are calling area golfers to the 19th Annual Glenville State College Department of Land Resources Golf Tournament. The tournament will be held on Friday, April 28 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Proceeds from the event will be used to enhance student learning within GSC’s Natural Resource Management programs.

Funds received from the golf tournament will help provide extra tools and equipment for students studying environmental, forestry, land surveying, land management, and other natural resource management programs at GSC.

Multiple prizes are available, including two hole-in-one prizes of $10,000 cash and a STIHL Homeowner’s Package (package consists of a MS170 Chainsaw with 16-inch bar, BG 86 Handheld Blower, and FS70R Trimmer) and a closest second shot prize of a STIHL MS251 Chainsaw. The top three teams will receive cash awards and trophies including $400 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes also will be awarded for Closest to Pin, Log Driver Champion, Longest Putt, and Longest Drive.

Participants can enter the scramble golf outing for an entry fee of $80 per person or $320 per team of four. The entry fee includes green fees, cart rental, and lunch. Organizations and individuals are also welcome to sponsor a hole, starting at $100. Sponsors will be recognized in a GSC Department of Land Resources newsletter and will have the name of the person or organization displayed during the event. Checks can be made payable to GSC Land Resources Fundraiser and sent to Glenville State College Department of Land Resources, 200 High Street, Glenville, WV 26351.

For more information and to register, contact the Land Resources Department at 304.462.6370.

GSC Land Resources Department Plans Golf Tournament

The Free Press WV

Glenville, WV – Planning is underway for the 18th Annual Glenville State College Department of Land Resources Golf Tournament to be held on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. Proceeds from the event that will take place at the Bel Meadow Golf Club in Clarksburg, West Virginia, will again be used to enhance student learning within GSC’s Natural Resource Management programs.

Funds received from the golf tournament will help provide extra tools and equipment for students studying environmental, forestry, land surveying, land management, and other natural resource management programs at GSC.

Multiple prizes, including $10,000 cash and a Honda Rancher TRX 4-Wheeler for Hole-in-One prizes and a Stihl MS251 Chainsaw prize for the closest second shot, are up for grabs. The top three teams will receive cash awards and trophies including $400 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes also will be awarded for Closest to Pin, Log Driver Champion, Longest Putt, and Longest Drive.


Participants can enter the scramble golf outing for an entry fee of $80 per person or $320 per team of four. The entry fee includes green fees, cart rental, and lunch. Organizations and individuals also are welcome to sponsor a hole, starting at $100. Sponsors will be recognized in a GSC Department of Land Resources newsletter and will have the name of the person or organization displayed during the event. Checks can be made payable to GSC Land Resources Fundraiser and sent to Glenville State College Department of Land Resources, 200 High Street, Glenville, WV 26351.

For more information and to register, contact the Land Resources Department at 304.462.4135.

British Open

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Record prize money up for grabs at the British Open

St. Andrews, Scotland - This year’s British Open champion will earn more than 1 million pounds for the first time in the storied history of the event.

The Royal & Ancient announced the increase in prize money for 2015 on Wednesday and the champion will receive 1.15 million pounds, which equates to about $1.8 million in U.S. dollars.

This year’s total purse is 6.3 million pounds, up 900,000 pounds from 2014.

“The Open is one of the world’s pre-eminent sporting events,“ said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson in a statement Wednesday. “The Championship represents the pinnacle for the world’s greatest golfers and this increase is appropriate for an event with The Open’s global appeal.“

This year’s British Open will take place from July 16-19 on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland.

GOLF

The Gilmer Free Press

►  This Week in Golf—June 18-21

PGA TOUR - U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Chambers Bay Golf Course, University Place, Washington - The best players in the world are geared up this week for the second major championship of the season, the U.S. Open.

Chambers Bay Golf Course is set to play host to its first ever major championship. It was also the site of the 2010 U.S. Amateur, which was won by Peter Uihlein.

Martin Kaymer returns as the defending champion after running away with an 8- shot victory at Pinehurst No. 2 last year. It was the German’s second career major title as he also took home the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Kaymer also became the first player ever to win the Players and U.S. Open in the same year.

Kaymer used an exceptional short game to open with a pair of 65s and he later closed with a 69 on Sunday to finish the week at 9-under-par 271. The next closest finishers were Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, who ended in a distant second at 1-under 279.

The defending champion heads to Washington struggling a bit of late. He has not notched a single top-10 finish in his last nine worldwide starts, including four missed cuts during that span.

Another big name that has been reeling recently is world No. 1 and 2011 champion Rory McIlroy, who missed his last two cuts at European Tour events. However, the Ulsterman does have three victories on the season and a total of seven top-10 finishes in 11 events worldwide, including a runner-up.

Masters champion Jordan Spieth is seeking his third win of the season and his second consecutive major title. The No. 2 ranked player in the world is having a career season with nine top-10s and seven top-5s in 16 starts, not to mention three runner-up finishes.

Six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson looks to finally break his winless streak and complete the career grand slam with a victory at Chambers Bay. Mickelson has not won since the 2013 Open Championship, but he comes in playing well of late with three top-4 finishes in his last five events, including a tie for second at the Masters.

Tiger Woods is back in the U.S. Open field after the three-time champion missed last year due to back surgery. The 14-time major champion enters the week at No. 195 in the world, searching for his first victory since winning five times in 2013 and his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

FOX SPORTS 1 will have early coverage on Thursday and Friday, while FOX has coverage off all four rounds.

The PGA Tour is in Connecticut next week for the Travelers Championship, where Kevin Streelman won by a shot last year. The European Tour is in Germany next week for the BMW International Crown. Fabrizio Zanotti won in a four-way playoff last season.

GOLF

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kisner, Sullivan among those rounding out U.S. Open field

University Place, WA - Kevin Kisner and Andy Sullivan earned spots in this week’s U.S. Open Championship via the world rankings, while four alternates from sectional qualifying rounded out the field.

Kisner enters the week ranked 55th in the world thanks in part to four top-10 finishes in his last six starts. He lost in a pair of playoffs in the last seven weeks.

He lost to Jim Furyk at the Heritage and fell to Rickie Fowler in an extra session at the Players Championship. This will be Kisner’s second major championship start. He missed the cut at Pinehurst last year.

Sullivan, world No. 58, won twice earlier this season on the European Tour, with both wins coming in South Africa. He has three straight top-20 finishes at events in England, Northern Ireland and Ohio.

The Englishman will be competing in his first major championship.

The USGA had held six spots for players that possibly could have moved into the top-60 in the world rankings. With Kisner and Sullivan the only ones earning spots in the field via the world rankings, four alternates - Kevin Chappell, Jimmy Gunn, Steve Marino and Josh Persons - were added to the field at Chambers Bay.

Chappell lost in a 5-for-3 playoff at the Columbus, Ohio qualifier, then bested Alex Cejka for the top alternate spot from that qualifier. This will be Chappell’s seventh major. He tied for third at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.

Persons lost to Tim O’Neal in a playoff at the Rockville, Maryland qualifier. He will play his first major championship this week.

Marino and Gunn both narrowly missed out on qualifying, then won playoffs to earn the top alternate spot at their respective qualifiers.

Marino bettered Rod Pampling and Peter Malnati. Marino will make his 14th major championship start. His best finish was a tie for 14th at the 2010 Masters.

Gunn beat J.J. Henry in a playoff at the Memphis, Tennessee qualifier. Gunn will compete in his first major this week.


►  Gomez jumps to 131 in world rankings

Fabian Gomez ran away with a 4-shot victory at the St. Jude Classic on Sunday and that vaulted the Argentine to No. 131 in the world rankings.

Gomez moved up 157 spots from 288th to 131st following his first career victory on the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth remained firmly in control of the one and two spots in the world, while Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson both stayed put as well at three and four.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson swapped spots, with Rose up one to five. Despite withdrawing last week due to illness, Dustin Johnson is still at No. 7.

Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler traded places as Garcia rose to eight. Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Adam Scott, J.B. Holmes, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Chris Kirk are Nos. 10-16 for another week.

With his tie for third in Memphis, Phil Mickelson improved two spots to 17, dropping Matt Kuchar and defending U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer down a slot each. Billy Horschel was No. 20 once again.


►  115th U.S. Open Championship Preview

The 115th U.S. Open Championship heads to the great northwest and the great unknown, Chambers Bay.

The 8-year-old course is hosting its second USGA championship, but first major. The course hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur, where Peter Uihlein, the top- ranked amateur in the world at the time, beat David Chung.

Eleven players that are qualified for this U.S. Open also played in that U.S. Amateur. Topping that list is Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who failed to make it to the match play portion of that championship.

Spieth, like the others from that 2010 Amateur, have seen Chambers Bay in tournament conditions and will have a little bit of a leg up on their competition. Spieth has a little greater advantage than some since his caddie, Michael Greller, used to loop it at Chambers Bay.

That’s just what the rest of the field needs - the Masters champion and world No. 2 with an advantage like that.

All kidding aside, Spieth isn’t the only possible contender that competed at that Amateur. Brooks Koepka, who shared third place last week in Memphis, also didn’t make it to match play.

Patrick Reed fell in the second round of match play, while Byeong-Hun An advanced the furthest of the 11, reaching the semifinals. An would go on to win the Amateur the following year at Southern Hills, and he won his first European Tour title a few weeks back at the BMW PGA Championship, the tour’s flagship event.

While that group played in a championship at Chambers Bay, Ryan Moore has played the course, maybe, more times than the rest of the field combined. The Washington native has played the course countless times.

Moore will need to rely on those memories if he is to improve on his major championship record this week. He has posted only two top-10 finishes in 28 major championship starts. He tied for 10th at the 2004 U.S. Open and shared 12th last year at the Open Championship.

That is an important note since many believe Chambers Bay, a links course, will play like an Open Championship.

Spieth will be a solid pick this week, not only because he won at Augusta National, but also because he is playing well of late. He shared second at Colonial and tied for third at the Memorial after a closing 65.

While Spieth enters the season’s second major championship with some momentum, the same cannot be said for world No. 1 Rory McIlroy or defending champion Martin Kaymer.

McIlroy played five straight weeks, and you could tell by the end as he missed the cut in his last two starts. With two weeks off to rest and scout Chambers Bay, the reigning Open Championship and PGA Championship winner should be able to bounce back, but with the unpredictable nature of links golf, no one knows for sure if McIlroy can do it this week.

While McIlroy missed his last two cuts, Kaymer has four missed cuts and cracked the top-20 just once in his last nine worldwide starts. Kaymer has shot 74 or worse in seven of his last 16 stroke-play rounds.

Spieth leads the PGA Tour in top-5 and top-10 finishes this year, while Hideki Matsuyama ranks second on both those lists. Matsuyama, who has made the cut in nine of his 10 major championship starts, has six top-5 and eight top-10 finishes in 16 tournaments this season on the PGA Tour. He will start contending in majors on a regular basis sooner rather than later.

Dustin Johnson, who withdrew in Memphis last week due to illness, is always an intriguing player in majors. He has the length to make any course seem smaller than it really is, but he has also stumbled late in two majors.

Johnson led by three after 54 holes of the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but struggled to an 82 in the final round. Later that year, he cost himself a chance at winning the PGA Championship with a late penalty.

The WGC-Cadillac Championship winner has finished inside the top-10 in two of the last three majors he competed in. Johnson missed last year’s PGA Championship at the beginning of a leave of absence from the tour.

While Johnson withdrew in Memphis, Phil Mickelson battled to tie for third at TPC Southwind. Mickelson broke par in three of the four rounds in his warm-up for Chambers Bay.

The six-time runner-up has just three top-10 finishes this year, but all three have come in his last five starts. The second-place finish at Augusta was Mickelson’s second straight runner-up in a major as he lost to McIlroy in the dark at the PGA Championship last August.

While Mickelson has started to come on, the same can’t be said for three-time champion Tiger Woods. The former world No. 1 has completed 14 rounds over four PGA Tour events this year and has broken par in four of them.

Woods struggled to an 85 in the third round at the Memorial. That was his highest score on the PGA Tour, which led to his highest four-day total on tour as well.

The 14-time major champion hasn’t had a top-10 finish in a major since sharing sixth at the 2013 Open Championship. His last top-10 at the U.S. Open was a tie for fourth in 2010.

Woods won five events in 2013, but hasn’t won a major since he beat Rocco Mediate on a broken leg in 2008 at Torrey Pines. He shared sixth and fourth the next two years at the U.S. Open. Woods has played just two of the last four Opens and finished outside the top-20 both times.

While many players entering the second major of the season with question marks surrounding their games, the biggest question marks will be about Chambers Bay.

There are many unique characteristics about Chambers Bay, none more so than the fact that the first and 18th holes can be played as either a par-4 or a par-5. The first can be stretched to 598 yards or used as a par-4 measuring 496 yards. The 18th could be a 525-yard par-4, or a brute of a par-5 at 604 yards.

Eight other holes could vary in length by 30 yards or more depending on the tee box used and placement of the pin on the putting surface.

The USGA loves to tinker with the setup from round to round, so there is no telling what they will do with some of these holes. Another interesting characteristic is the grass on the course - it is all fescue grass.

This will mark the first time a major is played on fescue greens. The putting surfaces may look shoddy on television, but that is their natural look.

Those are a few of the things players will battle this week along with the pressure of winning a major. Chambers Bay will play around 7,400 yards most days, so one would think a bomber is a better choice than a short hitter.

However, conditions are likely to be firm and fast, so that could take length out as advantage. The winner this week will be someone with a strong short game, like Kaymer showed at Pinehurst last year or Spieth showed at Augusta in April.

GOLF

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Cazaubon wins Dominican Republic Open by 3

La Romana, Dominican Republic - Rodolfo Cazaubon carded an even-par 72 in Sunday’s final round and that was good enough to give him a 3- shot win at the Dominican Republic Open.

Cazaubon finished the week at 10-under-par 278, three strokes ahead of Santiago Rivas and Alexandre Rocha. This is the second win of the season for Cazaubon as he also took home the Panama Classic in early May.

The 25-year-old Mexican, who held the third-round lead, was up and down on the front nine. He traded a bogey on two for a birdie on three before running off a trio of pars from four.

Another bogey on seven was later canceled out by a birdie on nine and Cazaubon made the turn at even par at Teeth of the Dog Casa de Campo. It was more of the same on the back side as Cazaubon made birdie on 11 and bogey on 13.

Following three more pars from 14, Cazaubon drained his fourth birdie on 17 and despite a bogey at the last, he still rolled to a 3-shot win.

Rivas shot a 3-under 69 and finished tied for second at 7-under 281 with Rocha (71). Willy Pumarol (67), Vince India (72) and Justin Hueber (73) tied for fourth at minus-6.


►  Lingmerth beats Rose in Memorial playoff

Dublin, OH - David Lingmerth parred the third playoff hole Sunday to defeat Justin Rose and win the Memorial.

Lingmerth closed with a 3-under 69 to post 15-under-par 273. Rose birdied the 17th to match him at minus-15, then parred the last to cap a round of even-par 72 at Muirfield Village.

The duo returned to the 18th for the first extra hole. Both players missed the green with their approach shots. After Rose rolled in an 18-footer for par, Lingmerth matched him from 10 feet out.

They returned to No. 18. Rose had the advantage as he hit the green, while Lingmerth was in a greenside bunker. Lingmerth blasted to four feet. Rose 2- putted for his par and Lingmerth converted his par effort and they were off to the 10th

Rose hit his drive into thick rough right of the fairway, then missed the green left. Lingmerth found the putting surface from the fairway, but was 40 feet from the hole.

Lingmerth rolled his birdie try six feet by the cup. Rose chipped to about 20 feet and missed his par effort left. Lingmerth poured in his par putt to win for the first time on the PGA Tour.

Francesco Molinari had the lead on the front nine, but was done in by a double-bogey on the 17th. He closed with a 71 to share third-place with Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who fired a 65, the low round of the day by two strokes. They ended at 13-under-par 275.

Last year’s winner Hideki Matsuyama closed with a 2-under 70. He was joined in fifth place by 2002 champ Jim Furyk (71) and Marc Leishman (69). Tony Finau (67), Kevin Kisner (70) and Keegan Bradley (70) tied for eighth at minus-11.

GOLF

The Gilmer Free Press

►  This Week in Golf—June 04-07

PGA TOUR

MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT, Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio - After a two-week stint in Texas, the PGA Tour heads to Ohio this week for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield.

Last year, Hideki Matsuyama parred the first playoff hole to defeat Kevin Na and win for the first time on the PGA Tour. While Matsuyama has proven his worth since, he is still seeking his second victory.

Matsuyama fired a 3-under 69 in the final round, while Na came from way back with an 8-under 64 to tie Matsuyama at 13-under-par 275 at the end of regulation play. Third-round leader Bubba Watson managed an even-par 72 and finished a shot back in third at minus-12.

Na’s fate was sealed when he found water to the left of the fairway on the extra hole. While Matsuyama hit into a bunker with his first shot and came up short with his second, he was able to get up and down for par, making a 10- foot putt for the win.

Matsuyama and Na are both back in the field this week as they look to create more fireworks. Watson will not be playing this week.

Masters champion and world No. 2 Jordan Spieth is the highest ranked player in the field, while Rickie Fowler is making his first appearance on the PGA Tour since winning the Players three weeks ago.

Also making his first start since the Players is five-time Memorial champion Tiger Woods, who tied for 69th at TPC Sawgrass in early May. This will be Woods’ fifth start of the season as he looks to win this event for a sixth time.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds of this event and will hand things off to CBS in the afternoon on the weekend.

The PGA Tour is in Memphis, Tennessee next week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, where Ben Crane won by one shot to pick up his fifth tour victory and his first since 2011.


EUROPEAN TOUR

NORDEA MASTERS, PGA Sweden National (Lake Course), Malmo, Sweden - The European Tour is back in Sweden this week for another installment of the Nordea Masters.

Thongchai Jaidee made birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat 2014 European Ryder Cup team members Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher. The win was Jaidee’s sixth on the European Tour.

Jaidee came from behind with a final-round, 7-under 65 to tie Dubuisson (67) and Gallacher (68) at 16-under-par 272. On the par-5 18th for the playoff, all three laid up with their second shots and Jaidee stuck his approach to within four feet, while the other two were still far from the hole.

Dubuisson and Gallacher missed their ensuing birdie putts and Jaidee drained his for his first win since 2012.

Jaidee, Dubuisson and Gallacher are all back in the field again this week. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson will certainly be a fan favorite as he too will be in attendance. Stenson serves as the highest ranked player in the field at No. 4.

Golf Channel will have extensive coverage of all four rounds.

The European Tour travels to Austria next week for the Lyoness Open, where Mikael Lundberg won for the third time on tour with a playoff victory over Bernd Wiesberger last season.


CHAMPIONS TOUR

PRINCIPAL CHARITY CLASSIC, Wakonda Club, Des Moines, Iowa - After a week off following the first two major championships of the season at the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship, the Champions Tour travels to Iowa for the Principal Charity Classic.

Tom Pernice, Jr. was able to make birdie on the second playoff hole last year to beat Doug Garwood and win for the third time on the Champions Tour. Pernice has since picked up his fourth win at last year’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Pernice shot a 3-under 69 in the final round, while Garwood managed a 1-under 71 and the duo headed to a playoff after finishing regulation tied at 12-under 204. After trading pars at the first playoff hole, Pernice’s approach on the next hole came to rest about eight feet from the pin and he made that for a winning birdie.

The defending champion will be back in the field this week, while Garwood will not. Also missing from the field will be Charles Schwab Cup leader and Senior PGA Championship winner Colin Montgomerie.

However, Regions Tradition champion Jeff Maggert as well as five-time 2014 winner Bernhard Langer will be playing.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds of this event.

The Champions Tour is back next week for the third major championship of the season, the Constellation Senior Players, where Langer topped Jeff Sluman in a playoff last year


LPGA TOUR

MANULIFE LPGA CLASSIC, Grey Silo Golf Course, Ontario, Canada - The LPGA Tour heads north of the border this week for the Manulife LPGA Classic in Ontario, Canada.

Inbee Park used a huge 10-under 61 in the final round to cruise to a 3-shot victory over Cristie Kerr at 23-under 261. Park’s 61 tied the course record held by Hee Young Park, who set the mark in 2013.

Last year’s victory was the first of three wins for Inbee Park in 2014. She also won the LPGA Championship and the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship. Park is already a two-time winner on tour this season and has 14 career victories.

Park, the No. 2 player in the world, will be joined by world No. 1 Lydia Ko and world No. 3 Stacy Lewis this week. The field features 17 of the top-20 players in the world.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds.

Park will get a chance to defend another title next week at the Women’s PGA Championship, where she defeated Brittany Lincicome in a playoff.


WEB.COM TOUR

GREATER DALLAS OPEN, The Lakes at Castle Hills, Lewisville, Texas - The Web.com Tour is in Texas this week for the inaugural Greater Dallas Open.

Nine of the 10 winners on the 2015 season are set to play this week, including last week’s victor Kyle Thompson, who defeated Miguel Angel Carballo and Patton Kizzire in a playoff.

The only player who has won this season that will not be playing is Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship winner Patrick Rodgers, who will be playing in the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament.

There will be no television coverage of this event.

The Web.com Tour is back again next week for the Rust-Oleum Championship, formerly called the Cleveland Open. Steven Alker took down Dawie van der Walt last year in a tour-record 11-hole playoff.


PGA TOUR CANADA

BAYVIEW PLACE ISLAND SAVINGS OPEN, Uplands Golf Club, Victoria, British Columbia - The PGA Tour Canada is set for its second event of the season, the Bayview Place Island Savings Open.

Last year, Josh Persons closed with an even-par 70 and was able to hold on to win by one shot over Brock Mackenzie and Timothy Madigan. Persons finish the week at 12-under-par 268.

Persons, who has played in seven events on the Web.com Tour this season, will not be back to defend his title. Persons has tied for 69th twice to go along with a tie for 75th. He has also missed four cuts on the Web.com Tour.

Drew Weaver, who beat out Adam Svensson, Riley Wheeldon, Ross Beal and Taylor Pendrith in a playoff last week at the PC Financial Open, will be back playing.

There will be no television coverage of this event.

The PGA Tour Canada will be off after this week until June 25 for the Syncrude Boreal Open.

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The Gilmer Free Press

►  Golf Tidbits: Bowditch’s long, winding road to success

Steven Bowditch has never lacked the talent, he just couldn’t get out his own way for many years. Nearly a decade ago, he was succeeding on the Web.com Tour, but something was wrong.

It took a while to figure it out, but when he did, the diagnosis was clinical depression. The years it affected him most were 2006-07.

In those two seasons, Bowditch started 52 events on the PGA and Web.com tours. He missed 31 cuts, withdrew five times, was disqualified five more times and earned 11 paychecks.

Bowditch was off the PGA Tour from 2008-10, but played on the Web.com Tour, improving each season. When asked about that on Sunday, Bowditch preferred not to talk about his past, saying it made him the man he is today.

That man battled through tough conditions to win the AT&T Byron Nelson in wire-to-wire fashion this weekend. Rain the first two days threw the tournament schedule off and forced officials to change a par-4 hole into a par-3 due to flooding.

The victory was Bowditch’s second on the PGA Tour as well as in the state of Texas. He also win the 2014 Valero Texas Open.

Though his mind may be clear of the demons from earlier in his career, Bowditch has struggled to find consistency. Since the start of the 2011 season, he has made 58 cuts in 117 PGA Tour starts. He has just one withdraw in that span, but it was his first since the 2007 season.

In 2011 and 2013, he was on the bubble for keeping his PGA Tour card as he finished 125th and 124th, respectively, on the FedExCup points list. The top 125 keep their card for the following year.

Thanks in part to his win in San Antonio last year, Bowditch ended 59th on the points list, playing in three of the four FedExCup playoff events. He is on a similar path now as he soared to 16th on the points list with his victory over the weekend in Irving, Texas.

The win at the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas was extra special considering he married his wife at the resort.

With his personal life going well and two wins in the last 15 months, Bowditch has his game on the right track. Let’s hope they stay there.

TIRED MCILROY MISSES ANOTHER CUT

Playing five events in consecutive weeks, spanning from San Francisco to London, took its toll on Rory McIlroy. He won the two of the first three tournaments, finished eighth in the other, but ended the run with a pair of missed cuts.

In his first win in San Francisco, McIlroy played 121 holes over five days, including 69 holes spanning four matches over the final two days at the WGC- Cadillac Match Play Championship.

After that grueling week, he flew to Florida and finished four strokes off the pace at the Players Championship. McIlroy caught his wind in North Carolina and cruised to a 7-shot win thanks to a third-round 61 at the Wachovia Championship.

McIlroy then headed to overseas for the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship and the Irish Open, where he also served as host. The travel, albeit in private jets, caught up with the world No. 1 as he missed the cut at both by four strokes.

People frequently try to compare McIlry to Tiger Woods. He has this many wins by this age, while Woods had this many. McIlroy already has more missed cuts in his career than Woods has in his. Whatever the comparison might be, they are generalizations.

The comparisons are fun for argument’s sake, but they are not realistic, and McIlroy said so himself. In an interview two weeks ago, McIlroy said, “I’ll never be able to do for golf what Tiger did. He was a phenomenon, he brought so many more people into the game because of his background and how he started on tour and everything.“

Comparisons aside, no one needs to worry about McIlroy and his missed cuts quite yet. He has two weeks off to rest and prepare for the U.S. Open. If he plays poorly at Chambers Bay, which is hosting its first major, then we can raise the level of concern slightly.

McIlroy will be fine. These two weeks were just blips on the radar.

MINI-TIDBITS

* Adam Scott has lured longtime caddie Steve Williams out of retirement. Williams will be on the bag for the remaining three majors and the WGC- Bridgestone Invitational.

* The officials at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship have been more forceful than their counterparts on the any of the major golf tours. Officials penalized four players, three of whom were in the same group, for slow play in the third round. There had been warnings the first two days, but no penalties until the third round.

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The Gilmer Free Press

►  Anna Nordqvist wins ShopRite LPGA Classic

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ — Anna Nordqvist gave her visiting mother the perfect gift Sunday, which also happened to be Mother’s Day in Sweden.

The 27-year-old Nordqvist birdied the 16th and 17th holes to break out of the pack and win the ShopRite LPGA Classic by a stroke. She closed with a 2-under 69 in windy conditions to finish at 8-under 205 at Stockton Seaview’s Bay Course.

The former Arizona State player has five career LPGA Tour titles, winning twice each in 2009 and 2014. And none of those victories could have been any sweeter than Sunday’s, with mother Maria in the gallery.

“It’s the first time I’ve won on the LPGA Tour and one of my family members were there with me, so it’s definitely special,“ Nordqvist said. “It’s Mother’s Day in Sweden, so I couldn’t have given her a better present than to spend the day with her.

“I’m just speechless right now. I fought hard today and I can’t believe I’m sitting here with the trophy.“

A stroke behind leader Morgan Pressel entering the round, Nordqvist made her move on the closing three holes — a stretch she played in 5 under the first two days.

She sank a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-4 16th to break a tie with Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands and get to 8 under. Nordqvist hit her tee shot on the short par-3 17th to 8 feet to the left of the hole and drained that putt as well to move to two strokes in front.

“I thought I hit a lot of good putts” all day, Nordqvist said. “Just knowing that I hit good putts helped me. I hit a real good putt on 16 and even on 17 to give me a little bit of space there at the last. I felt like I played really well and I put myself in a position to win.“

With Boeljon, winless in five years on the LPGA Tour, missing an 18-inch birdie putt at the 18th while playing in the group ahead, Nordqvist was not hurt by a bogey at the last. She finished her round, played in steady afternoon wind, with five birdies and three bogeys.

After she putted out, she was sprayed with champagne by some fellow players, and then looked for her mother.

“I tried to find her but it was quite a bit of people,“ she said. “I saw her after 17 after I just made two straight birdies. And then on 18 I had a short putt to win and just in my line I saw my mom.“

Boeljon, who played for Purdue and was the second in the 2007 NCAA tournament, was a career-best second after a 68. Pressel, who fell out of the lead following a bogey-double bogey stretch on the front nine, tied for third at 5 under after a 73. Rookie Kelly Shon got within one stroke of the lead, but a tough finish dropped her to a 70 and a tie with Pressel.

Nordqvist picked up her first birdie of the day at the par-4 fourth with a 5-foot putt. She moved into a tie for first after Pressel bogeyed the sixth hole and lost the lead to Boeljon after she missed the eighth green and made bogey.

Nordqvist picked up two shots with birdies at the par-5 ninth and short par-4 10th, draining putts of 8 and 6 feet. She dropped back into a tie for first after a three-putt bogey on the difficult par-3 15th but surged into the lead for good with her birdie at 16.

Pressel, who birdied the par-5 third, ran into her worst stretch of the weekend at the sixth and seventh holes. After her approach at No. 6 ran into the collar, she chunked her chip shot and made bogey. Then at the par-3 seventh, she came up well short with her tee ball, hit a bad pitch and three-putted.

The three lost shots dropped her from 8 under to 5 under, trailing by two, and she never held as much of a share of the lead the rest of the day in her bid for her first LPGA Tour win since 2008.

“I just didn’t make anything today,“ Pressel said. “I didn’t hit it quite as well. I certainly made a mess of 6 and 7 and got behind the 8-ball early, and these greens are just a little bit too bumpy to make a ton of putts out here, even with good strokes.

“I just had way too many putts and you’re not going to win a tournament hitting 2 over on Sunday.“


►  Bowditch vaults to 65 in world rankings

Steven Bowditch coasted to a 4-shot victory at the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday and that helped him jump all the way up to No. 65 in the world rankings.

Bowditch, who earned his second career victory, vaulted well into the top-100. The Australian improved 62 spots from 127 to 64.

Despite missing his second consecutive cut on the European Tour at last week’s Irish Open, Rory McIlroy remains in firm control of the No. 1 ranking. Masters champion Jordan Spieth sits comfortably at No. 2 as well.

Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson swapped spots, with Watson up one to three and Stenson down to four. Jim Furyk and Justin Rose held steady at five and six, respectively.

Players champion Rickie Fowler and WGC-Cadillac winner Dustin Johnson both jumped a pair and are up to Nos. 7 and 8. Sergio Garcia and Jason Day each fell two to Nos. 9 and 10.

Jimmy Walker and Adam Scott traded places, pushing Walker up to 11 and Scott down to 12. J.B. Holmes, Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Reed are Nos. 13-15.

Chris Kirk and Martin Kaymer exchanged places, while Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel rounded out the top-20 once again.

Irish Open winner Soren Kjeldsen jumped a whopping 198 spots from 303 to 105.

GOLF   15053001

The Gilmer Free Press

►  McIlroy misses cut at Irish Open after even-par 2nd round

NEWCASTLE, Northern Ireland — Early exits are becoming a habit for Rory McIlroy, especially in his home country.

The 26-year-old Northern Ireland native failed to make the Irish Open cut for the third straight year Friday, shooting an even-par 71 that failed to make up for an 80 in the opening round. It is the second straight week the world’s top-ranked golfer failed to make the weekend, having exited early at the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

This one, he said, hurt more because it’s personal.

“Obviously I’m playing at home in front of a lot of friends and family. To not play the way I wanted is very disappointing. But I’m sort of getting used to it,“ said a downcast McIlroy, whose Rory Foundation charity hosted the Irish Open for the first time.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton showed the field at Royal County Down that the seaside links course, bedeviled with unseasonably frigid gales and pelting showers, could be tamed.

The 23-year-old Hatton, ranked 142nd in the world, set a new course record of 66 to join a five-way tie for the lead at 3-under 139. His score tied a mark from 1939, but club and European Tour officials said it was considered a new record because the course has greatly changed over the past 76 years.

Only 15 of the 156-player field managed to beat par Friday as the changing weather drove the cutoff score to 5 over.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry summed up the sense of frustration when he smashed his putter against his bag and broke it after missing a short putt for par on his third hole. Lowry actually played better when forced to putt with his wedge, managing three birdies and making the cut with a 74.

“Golf’s a weird game and it’ll drive you mad sometimes,“ said Lowry, who thanked his caddie for persuading him to stay on the course.

Local fans made the Irish Open a four-day, 80,000-ticket sellout in hopes of seeing McIlroy at his best. He gave them brief hope Friday when he sank a 30-foot putt on the short seventh for his first birdie of the tournament. He picked up another shot at the 12th and needed just two more birdies to make the cut.

But McIlroy mis-hit his approach to the 15th and three-putted for a double bogey, erasing the day’s gains.

“I just shot myself in the foot,“ he said.

He drove his shot off the 18th tee into an impenetrable wall of thorny gorse bushes and, after taking a penalty drop, saved par with a 15-foot putt in front of the cheering grandstand.

But McIlroy said he wasn’t relishing the tournament’s final two days.

“I might have to show my face at a couple things,“ he said.

He now has nearly three weeks to prepare for the U.S. Open.

“I’m honestly looking forward to a couple weeks off,“ he said.

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