European Seniors Tour
The Senior Open Championship
Royal Troon GC, Ayrshire
Jul 24-27, par 71, 7,064 yards
America’s Bruce Vaughan won the Senior Open Championship at Royal Troon after a playoff against countryman John Cook. The little known player from Kansas held his nerve to birdie the first extra hole, win the tournament and pick up the biggest pay-cheque of his career.
Vaughan made a remarkable comeback on Sunday as, for much of the final round, Cook looked as though he would cruise to victory. After birdying the “Postage Stamp” 8th hole, Cook opened a three shot lead and seemed in command of the tournament. But double bogey at the 11th and a bogey at the 12th saw his cushion eroded.
Cook, who narrowly lost the Open Championship of 1992 to Nick Faldo despite holding a two shot lead with two holes remaining, then failed to get up and down from short of the 18th green and dropped back to six under par – tied with Vaughan.
The players returned to the 18th tee from where Vaughan played two great shots to the heart of the green then holed from 15 feet for the win. “I wasn’t nervous. I hit three of best shots of the week right there on that hole.” He said.
It was an emotional victory for Vaughan whose mother died in a car crash just seven weeks ago. The 51-year-old also had to overcome a knee injury that’s plagued him for a number of years. “I’ve had problems with my knee and haven’t been able to play much for a long time.” He said. “You’ve got to believe you can. You never give up, or I don’t ever give up, anyway.”
It was a painful defeat for Cook who was forced to relive the closing holes at Muirfield 16 years ago when interviewed after his round. “It never entered my mind but I’m sure it will now.” He said. “It’s disappointing that I got done on the back nine but Bruce won it. Bruce played his heart out. He battled yesterday and battled through the first nine today.”
Following his epic performance at Royal Birkdale where he finished tied third, Greg Norman closed with a 68 to finish tied fifth at Troon. The 53-year-old was glad to reflect on his efforts, “I enjoyed the last two weeks, on a scale of 1 to 10 – probably a 10. I enjoyed every step.” He said.
1 Bruce Vaughan (USA) 68 71 69 70 278 €199,055
2 John Cook (USA) 69 71 67 71 278 €132,766
3 Eduardo Romero (Arg) 68 73 68 70 279 €74,740
4 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 70 71 71 68 280 €59,729
T5 Gene Jones (USA) 70 76 68 68 282 €42,746
T5 Greg Norman (Aus) 75 72 67 68 282 €42,746
T5 Tom Watson (USA) 70 71 71 70 282 €42,746
T8 Philip Blackmar (USA) 74 72 71 68 285 €28,300
T8 Constantino Rocca (Ita) 73 73 72 67 285 €28,300
10 Andy Bean (USA) 69 75 73 69 286 €23,854
Key Moment: Cook uses a putter from short of the 18th green and fails to get up and down.
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.
Inteco Russian Open Golf Championship 2008
Le Meridien Moscow CC, Russia
Jul 24-27, par 72, 7,154 yards
Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg held off a charging Jose Manuel Lara to win the Russian Open for a second time. The 34-year-old who won the event in 2005 shot a final round of 68 to finish on a total of -21. Two shots clear of Lara.
The Spaniard set the clubhouse lead at -19 after shooting a blistering 64 and, when Lundberg hit into the trees on the 15th, it looked as though that mark might be good enough. But Lundberg made a great par save then went on to birdie the 16th and 17th holes giving himself a two shot cushion down the final hole.
Lundberg was delighted to pick up his second European Tour title and to succeed fellow Swede Per-Ulrik Johansson as Russian Open Champion. “This is my absolute favourite place, everything is great here.” He said. “The worst part is you come here and it feels like I always play well and I should do well, so you put a lot of pressure on yourself and you wonder when you are going to screw up! But I’m pretty satisfied with my game.”
It’s a significant win for Lundberg who lost his card in 2006. He’d failed to record a single top-ten finish on the 2008 European Tour prior to this event but now has a cheque for €210,000 and a two-year exemption on tour. “I told my coach and everyone back home that the game was there and hopefully it would all turn around this week, and it did.” He said.
England’s Benn Barham birdied the final hole to finish alone in third place and Scotland’s David Drysdale fired a final round of 64 to climb into fifth position. Young Jamie Moul, who’d been just one shot off the lead after three rounds, struggled to a closing 73 and ended the week in a tie for sixth with Lloyd Saltman and Darren Fichardt.
1 Mikael Lundberg (Swe) 67 64 68 68 267 €210,237
2 Jose Manuel Lara (Esp) 67 68 70 64 269 €140,158
3 Benn Barham (Eng) 69 68 65 68 270 €78,966
4 Jan-Are Larsen (Nor) 68 65 72 66 271 €63,072
5 David Drysdale (Sco) 68 71 69 64 272 €53,485
T6 Darren Fichardt (RSA) 66 71 66 70 273 €37,843
T6 Jamie Moul (Eng) 68 68 64 73 273 €37,843
T6 Lloyd Saltman (Sco) 69 70 66 68 273 €37,843
T9 Soren Juul (Den) 69 68 69 68 274 €25,565
T9 Sam Little (Eng) 70 69 70 65 274 €25,565
T9 Robert Rock (Eng) 68 64 71 71 274 €25,565
Key Moment: Lundberg finds the trees at the 15th but manages to extricate himself and save par.
Note: Players in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.
RBC Canadian Open
Glen Abbey GC, Ontario
Jul 24-27, purse $5,00,000, par 71
26-year-old rookie Chez Reavie picked up his first PGA Tour victory at the RBC Canadian Open. The former Arizona State player fired a one-under-par 70 to beat Billy Mayfair by three strokes.
The young American measures just 5 foot 9 inches and is one of the shortest hitters on tour, but it was accuracy rather than distance that won the day. The ground at Glen Abbey was extremely soft after heavy rain and a lift, clean and place system was in operation. Through the week Reavie found 44 of 56 fairways and 54 of 72 greens in regulation. “It was crucial to hit fairways so you could lift and clean your ball and place it in a good lie, especially when you don’t hit it as far as some of the other guys do,” Reavie said. “So, it really played into my hands.
Prior to this week Reavie had earned just $746,414 in 27 PGA Tour and 52 Nationwide Tour starts so, with a cheque for $900,000, he more than doubled his career winnings. “How much? $900,000. That’s unbelievable, really,” He said. “Yeah, wow! That’s all I can say is wow to that.”
In addition, Reavie has earned starts at next week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational and at the PGA Championship. He’ll also receive an invite to the 2009 Masters.
Anthony Kim started the round just a shot off the lead but a closing 75 saw him drop down the field and end the week tied for eighth. “I played terrible.” Kim said.
Reavie started the final round poorly with bogeys at the first and third but steadied the ship with a birdie at the fourth. He then birdied the ninth and 10th and made a superb par save at the 11th. With Kim faltering, Reavie just had to hold it together down the stretch and he closed out in style with a birdie at the 72nd hole.
1 Chez Reavie (USA) 65 64 68 70 267 $900,000
2 Billy Mayfair (USA) 68 66 68 68 270 $540,000
T3 Steve Marino (USA) 67 67 67 70 271 $290,000
T3 Sean O’Hair (USA) 65 71 67 68 271 $290,000
T5 Scott McCarron (USA) 66 72 63 71 272 $182,500
T5 Nicholas Thompson (USA) 67 66 70 69 272 $182,500
T5 Mike Weir (Can) 65 70 68 69 272 $182,500
T8 Glen Day (USA) 71 70 64 68 273 $145,000
T8 Anthony Kim (USA) 65 69 64 75 273 $145,000
T8 Kevin Na (USA) 69 66 70 68 273 $145,000
Key Moment: Reavie makes a clutch par at the difficult 11th hole.
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage.