It's Vegas Time in Canada as Broadhurst Triumphs at Carnoustie
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
JHONATTAN VEGAS put almost four years of injury and indifferent form behind him to win the Canadian Open after a stunning eight-under-par final round of 64 at the challenging Glen Abbey Golf Club near Ontario.
Vegas birdied the second, third, fourth and fifth holes, and just when it seemed that his momentum had stalled, he birdied the 16th and 17th and very nearly eagled the par-five 18th. It all added up to a round of 64 and a 72-hole total of 276, 12 under par. It left him level with Steve Wheatcroft. All that Vegas could do was sit back and see whether Wheatcroft could overtake him. The 31-year-old Venezuelan won the Bob Hope Classic in 2011, in only his second start on the PGA Tour, and nearly won again the following week. But he has struggled ever since, suffering more than his fair share of injuries, including shoulder surgery that very nearly ended his career.
"I started the year with no status," he said. "So to win this event and qualify for the US PGA Championship means everything to me. I am struggling to find the right words. I always believed I would get back, but you just never know"
Dustin Johnson eagled the 16th to move to 10 under - he still wasn't out of it, especially with a par five to close.
Wheatcroft, looking for his first victory, made a huge mistake at the 17th, coming up short with his approach from only 80 yards and looking on in horror as the ball plugged in a greenside bunker and it cost him a shot. He was now one behind Vegas coming to the last.
There was an encouraging performance by Martin Laird, of Scotland, who has started playing well in recent weeks. He birdied the second, sixth and ninth to turn in 32, and although he dropped a shot at the 12th, birdies at the 10th, 11th and 16th meant he stood on the final tee on 11 under par. He also required a birdie to draw level with Vegas. A wayward second shot left him a tricky pitch and he was unable to make his birdie.
Brandt Snedeker, the 54-hole leader, was not at his best but he hung in all day and he, too, came to the last hole still in with a shout - an eagle would draw him level with Vegas.
Wheatcroft and Johnson both found the middle of the 18th fairway. Wheatcroft pulled his second and finished in a greenside bunker while Johnson's shot covered the flag all the way but flew a fraction too far. He was only about 15ft from the hole, but his ball was sitting down in the collar of rough. Wheatcroft's bunker shot was not a difficult one, but could he handle the pressure? Sadly, the answer was a resounding and heartbreaking no. The 38-year-old journeyman thinned the ball right across the green and into the lake and finished with a bogey and a share of fifth place.
Now it was all eyes on Johnson. Could he hole his pitch for the eagle he needed? The ball was right on line, but finished two feet short. The birdie wasn't good enough.
That left Snedeker as the only man left who could catch Vegas. He also found the fairway and went at the green with a five iron. Unfortunately for the American, the ball found the bunker behind the green and was unable to get the ball out with his first attempt.
John Rham, playing in only his fourth tournament as a professional, missed an eagle at the 18th by a whisker. Had he holed the putt he would have been in a playoff. The Spaniard hits the ball miles and has taken to professional golf like a duck to water - he finished third at the Quicken Loans National. "I just need to keep working," he said. "I am so disappointed not to make that putt on the last, so it is a bitter-sweet feeling for me."
There was no fairytale ending for Jared du Toit, the Canadian amateur. He putted brilliantly for the first three days but reality struck home in the final round. The 21-year-old still finished in a tie for ninth place after a 71 saw him end his week on nine under par.
Senior Open Championship
SEVENTEEN years ago Jean van de Velde went into the final round of The Open Championship at Carnoustie with a five-shot lead. The Frenchman lost in a playoff after taking a seven at the last hole when a six would have won him the Claret Jug. Memories of Van de Velde's collapse were revived at Carnoustie when Miguel Angel Jimenez threw away the Senior Open Championship after starting the day four strokes ahead.
Paul Broadhurst produced a superb final round of 68 and an 11-under par total of 277 to beat Scott McCarron, of America, by two shots. Englishman Broadhurst picked up a cheque for £200,000 and now gets full playing rights on the Champions Tour. He will surely take advantage of that and head across the Atlantic and make himself millions of dollars.
"It feels incredible," Broadhurst said. "This sort of thing doesn't happen to me. I am usually the bridesmaid. I am speechless. I am not going to lie - the thought of winning my playing rights to compete on the Champions Tour was definitely on my mind, and now I will be looking at working out a new schedule."
For Jimenez it was a day to forget. He missed a tiny birdie putt on the fourth, but birdied the sixth and was still three ahead when he stood on the ninth tee. But he dropped a shot there and two more on the 11th and suddenly the Spaniard found himself trailing McCarron.
But Broadhurst kept plugging away and birdies at the 10th, 13th and 15th holes turned things his way. The Englishman is 50 years old and is playing his first full season on the Seniors Tour.
The surprise of the day was the play of JImenez, who had looked to be in complete control until those three dropped shots. He is a doughty competitor and birdied the 11th and 14th, but was left to rue a dropped shot at the 13th. He was only one behind coming to the last but both men found a greenside bunker with their approach shots. Jimenez, playing first, thinned his bunker shot across the green and very nearly went out of bounds. It cost him a six, a round of 75 and saw him finish third.
Broadhurst, meanwhile, hit his bunker shot to six feet and holed the putt for a par.
The 52-year-old Jimenez has been a serial winner since turning 40 - he picked up 14 titles on the European Tour and has won three times on the Champions Tour in the United States. Everybody loves him, and it is not difficult to understand why. His swing is anything but orthodox, he is overweight and he has shoulder-length hair, kept in kept place in a ponytail when he plays golf. He also makes no secret of the fact that he enjoys the odd glass or two of rioja.
Jimenez leapt from the pack with a third round of 65, just one off the course record on this ferociously difficult links course. He has had nine top-10 finishes in the majors and finished in a tie for 18th place at this year's Open, so he arrived in Angus in good form.
He knew that he could afford to play fairly conservatively on a calm day and duly parred the first five holes before a birdie four at the sixth took him to 12 under par. At that point he was three ahead of Magnus Atlevi, of Sweden, who was six under par for the day after 13 holes, and McCarron, who reached the turn in 33. Broadhurst and Tom Byrum were a shot further adrift on eight under.
Atlevi made his ninth birdie of the day at the 14th, a par five, recovering brilliantly after a wild drive. At the same time, Jimenez was dropping a shot at the ninth and, all of a sudden, the lead was down to a solitary stroke.
Worse was to follow. McCarron struck a magnificent approach at the 11th and tapped in for a birdie to move to 10 under while Jimenez's second shot at the 10th struck a tree and dropped into a water hazard. It cost him a double-bogey and now he was one behind McCarron and Atlevi and tied with Broadhurst, who birdied the 10th.
McCarron also birdied the 12th to take the lead on his own at 11 under, as Atlevi bogeyed the 16th and Jimenez struck a magnificent approach at the 11th to move back to 10 under. Suddenly, we had a tournament on our hands.
Byrum was next to join the chase with an eagle at the 12th taking him to nine under. Jimenez's woes continued at the 13th, a par three. He missed the green and failed to get up and down in two, falling back to nine under. Broadhurst birdied the same hole and, at 10 under par, was one behind McCarron.
Meanwhile, Atlevi dropped another shot at the final hole to finish on eight under par after a round of 67.
By now, the rain was falling and conditions were becoming quite difficult for those still on the course. McCarron had started the day six behind Jimenez and now led him by two. At the par-five 14th Jimenez missed the green on two but nearly holed his chip for an eagle. The birdie took him back to 10 under. So McCarron was 11 under, Jimenez and Broadhurst on 10 under, Byrum nine under.
When McCarron dropped a shot at the par-three 16th after finding a bunker, there was a three-way tie for the lead, but Broadhurst made his fourth birdie of the day at the 15th to move to 11 under and lead by one.
Broadhurst hit a brilliant bunker shot to save his par at the 17th and went to the final hole with a one-shot lead. Up ahead, McCarron faced an eight-foot putt for par but it failed to drop and he finished on nine under after a round of 69.
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Tags: PGA Tour