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Lyle finishes 11 under in U.S. return

Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:36:00 PM

Jarrod Lyle finished 11 under par, good for a share of 11th place, in his return to golf on U.S. soil.

The Australian, who has twice beaten leukemia, shot a 2-under 69 Sunday in the final round of the Tour's Midwest Classic in Overland Park, Kansas. He finished at 11-under 273, eight shots behind winner Zach Sucher.

Afterward, he tweeted:

This was the first of three warm-up starts for Lyle on the Tour. He also plans to play in the Price Cutter Charity Championship and News Sentinel Open next month. Lyle's ultimate goal remains a return to the PGA Tour, and when he begins next season he will have 20 starts with which to earn $283,825 to fulfill the obligations of his major medical extension.

Lyle last played in the U.S. at the 2012 Northern Trust Open, where he recorded a career-best T-4 finish. He returned to competition in his native Australia last fall after undergoing chemotherapy, 

After Further Review: A tough week for golf

Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:45:00 PM

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on a difficult week for the golf industry, the inspiring return of Jarrod Lyle, and the future of the International Crown.

As far as the state of the game is concerned, this wasn't exactly a banner week for golf.

On Sunday, television ratings were down for a third straight major; on Monday, about 500 PGA professionals were laid off by a major retailer; on Tuesday, a long-time golf magazine announced it would cease publishing its print edition; and it was all punctuated by a previously planned national TV program featuring the numerous current issues within the industry.

On the surface, it might seem like there isn't a whole lot of glass-half-full to the situation, but it's often been said that the first step to finding a solution is identifying the problem. Golf has some measurable problems right now. The industry has already started finding some potential solutions, but this week's developments should spur even more efforts. - Jason Sobel

Each week in golf there are no shortage of moral victories: journeymen professionals cashing a check to keep the dream alive, an injured player straight off the DL testing his game, or maybe just a guy who has endured two brushes with cancer working his way back to the game’s highest stage.

Jarrod Lyle returned to competitive golf in the United States this week at the Tour’s Midwest Classic, where he tied for 11th place, following his second bout with leukemia and a stem cell transplant.

The affable Australian still has two rehabilitation starts before returning to the PGA Tour early next season, but if his play - and his perspective - remains unchanged, this week’s stop in Kansas will mark an impressive new beginning. - Rex Hoggard

Someday, the International Crown will be bigger than the Solheim Cup. It has all the elements that make the Solheim Cup work, but it’s potentially so much larger in scale, so much more emotionally charged.

That’s because there is more than the U.S. flag and the European Union flag flying over this competition. Flags for the United States, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Thailand and Chinese Taipei flew over this week's event. Bringing eight national teams together under their own flags was LPGA commissioner Mike Whan’s idea, and it makes all the difference in the world. It's so much easier to embrace and emotionally invest in than a Presidents Cup, where an Internationals team concept feels so coldly contrived.

All the International Crown needs is some history, and it will become super-sized with passion, especially once Whan begins taking it around the world. - Randall Mell

Stat attack!: RBC Canadian Open review

Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:27:00 PM

Somehow it’s fitting that the man who knocked Jim Furyk off the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open is a player who is best-known for finishing second on the PGA Tour. Tim Clark, who has been runner-up in at least one PGA Tour event every year since 2005 with just one win in that span, finally won his second Tour title at Royal Montreal, edging Furyk by one stroke at 17 under par. Clark caught Furyk on the back-nine Sunday, making five birdies on the closing side to Furyk’s one. Clark needed just 10 putts on the back, missing only a 44-footer on the last hole. Clark didn’t have any gimmes. Every putt he made on the back was from more than five feet. He gained more than four strokes on the field with his putting on the back nine and for the week was second in strokes gained/putting.

Tim Clark’s back nine at the RBC Canadian Open

 Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
 Par 4 4 5 3 4 4 4 3 4 35
 Score 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 2 4 30
 Fairway hit Y N Y   Y Y Y   Y 6 of 7
 Green hit N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y 6 of 9
 No. of Putts 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 10

Leaders in strokes gained/putting at the RBC Canadian Open

 Player Str. gained./putting Last nine holes Finish
 Kevin Kisner 9.596 2.936 T-9
 Tim Clark 6.469 4.201 Won
 Nathan Green 6.379 0.247 T-53
 Tim Herron 5.745 0.772 T-34
 Ben Curtis 4.926 0.406 T-12

In contrast, Furyk was just 24th in the field in strokes gained at 2.535 and lost 1.355 strokes to the field on the last nine holes of the week.

In addition to his stellar putting, Clark led the field in driving accuracy, hitting 47 fairways and was fourth in approach shot distance to the pin. His 83.93 driving accuracy percentage helped him move to third on tour in that stat for the season, trailing just Joe Durant and David Toms. Clark and Zach Johnson are the only players in the top 10 on tour in fairways hit who also have a victory this season.

PGA Tour leaders in driving accuracy in 2013-14

 Player Accuracy pct. Top 10s Best finish
 Joe Durant  75.92 T-11 Greenbrier 
 David Toms  74.97  T-4 Puerto Rico 
 Tim Clark  74.43  Won Canadian Open 
 Justin Hicks  73.56  Third Canadian Open 
 Heath Slocum  72.25  T-16 McGladrey Classic
 Zach Johnson 71.49  Won Hyundai T of C 
 Paul Goydos  71.01  T-61 Sony Open 
 Jim Furyk  70.47  Second, three times
 Ken Duke 70.43 T-15 Las Vegas
 Billy Hurley III  70.34  4 T-4 Greenbrier

It was the second straight outstanding performance for Clark, who has missed seven of 10 cuts entering the John Deere Classic. But he found himself in the middle rounds at Deere Run, with scores of 63-64 to finish T-5 at 18-under par. With his 17-under finish at Royal Montreal (that included a 64-65 weekend), Clark is 35-under par on his last eight PGA Tour rounds. He’s not along in his hot performances. Among the top-10 finishers in Canada, seven of them were at least 10 under par in their previous PGA Tour start 

Top-10 finishers at the Canadian Open, and their previous PGA Tour start

 Finish Player Canadian Open Previous tournament
 1 Tim Clark 17 under 18 under (JDC)
 2 Jim Furyk 16 under 13 under (British)
 3 Justin Hicks 13 under 10 under (JDC)
 T-4 G. Fdez-Castano 11 under 6 over (British)
 T-4 Matt Kuchar 11 under 2 over (British)
 T-4 Michael Putnam 11 under 4 under (Greenbrier)
 T-7 Graham Delaet 10 under 3 over (British)
 T-7 Dicky Pride 10 under 10 under (JDC)
 T-9 Kevin Kisner 9 under 12 under (JDC)
 T-9 Brad Fritsch 9 under 14 under (JDC)
 T-9 Graeme McDowell 9 under 10 under (British)

For Furyk, it marks the seventh straight time he has failed to hold a 54-hole lead, and is the third time this season he has finished second. He has 28 runner-up finishes in his career, fourth among active full-time PGA Tour players behind Davis Love III, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Furyk’s last PGA Tour victory came at the 2010 Tour Championship. In the last four seasons he has made 87 starts and has earned more than $12 million. He has finished second six times, with 26 top 10s. He just hasn’t been able to close.

Jim Furyk's last seven starts with the 54-hole lead

 Tournament 54-hole lead Finish
 2014 RBC Canadian Open 3 Second (one back of Tim Clark)
 2013 BMW Championship 1 Third  (three back of Zach Johnson) 
 2013 PGA Championship 1 Second (two back of Jason Dufner)
 2012 McGladrey Classic Tied Third (two back of Tommy Gainey)
 2012 WGC-Bridgestone 1 T-2 (one back of Keegan Bradley)
 2012 U.S. Open Tied T-4 (two back of Webb Simpson)
 2012 Transitions Tied T-2 (lost playoff to Luke Donald)

Runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour among active full-time players

 Player Career seconds Runner-ups in 2013-14
 Davis Love III 30 0
 Tiger Woods 29 0
 Phil Mickelson 29 0
 Jim Furyk 28 3
 Vijay Singh 27 1

Furyk has more top-10 finishes in the last four years than any other player who has not won on the PGA Tour. Charles Howell is second with 20.

Most top 10s without a win: 2011-2014

 Player Top-10s
 Jim Furyk 26
 Charles Howell III 20
 Lee Westwood 18
 Bo Van Pelt 17
 Graham Delaet 17
 Ryan Palmer 16
 Charley Hoffman 15
 Robert Garrigus 15

Furyk’s next chance for redemption comes at this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where, I’m afraid to note, he has finished second two times.

Spain captures inaugural International Crown

Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:22:00 PM

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Spaniards swept all four of their singles matches Sunday to win the inaugural International Crown at Caves Valley Golf Club.

Spain’s Belen Mozo clinched the victory with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th hole that closed out her 3-and-2 winy against Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn. The Spaniards finished with 15 points, winning easily. Sweden finished second with 11 points and Korea and Japan tied for third with 10 points each.

International Crown: Articles, videos and photos


Spain 15 7-2-1
Sweden 11 5-4-1
S. Korea 10 5-5-0
Japan 10 4-4-2
Thailand 9 4-5-1
*USA 6 3-3-0
*Chinese Taipei 4 2-4-0
*Australia 3 1-4-1

* Eliminated in pool play.


Match 1

South Korea’s Inbee Park def. Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, 4 and 2.

The lowdown: Hedwall came into the match looking to extend her unbeaten streak in international team play to 10 straight, but Park ended the run. Park birdied the second hole and never surrendered the lead. 

Match 2

Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum def. South Korea’s I.K. Kim, 1  up.

The lowdown: Phatlum knocked the Americans out of this competition on Saturday, and she carried the momentum of that feat into Sunday. She won three of the four matches she played in the week.

Match 3

Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg def. Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, 6 and 5.

The lowdown: Lindberg picked up where she left off Saturday. She made five birdies in helping win a fourballs match on Saturday and made six birdies through the first 12 holes against Jutanugarn on Sunday.

Match 4

Spain’s Carlota Ciganda def. South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, 8 and 6.

The lowdown: Ciganda birdied the first hole and never let up on Choi. Cigana made three consecutive birdies on two different runs and never lost a hole.

Match 5

South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu def. Japan’s Sakura Yokomine, 1 up.

The lowdown: In a tight match with the lead bouncing back and forth, Ryu won the 16th hole with a birdie and held on to win. Ryu won three of the four matches she played on the week.

Match 6

Spain’s Beatriz Recari def. Sweden’s Mikaela Parmlid, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: Recari birdied three of the first five holes to take command with a 3-up lead and didn’t need another birdie the rest of the way.

Match 7

Spain’s Anna Nordqvist defeated Japan’s Mamiko Higa, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: Nordqvist added to her successful Solheim Cup record, going undefeated at the inaugural International Crown. Nordqvist was the only player who didn’t lose a match in this event. She was 3-0-1.

Match 8

Spain’s Belen Mozo def. Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn, 3 and 2.

The lowdown: Mozo didn’t just win her match. She clinched for the Spaniards with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th hole that closed out her match against Jutanugarn.

Match 9

Japan’s Mika Miyazato def. Thailand’s Onnarin Sattayanbonphot, 3 and 1.

The lowdown: Miyazato went 2 up with birdies at the fourth and fifth holes and never trailed, but the outcome of her match didn’t matter to the team competition. Spain closed out the title before Miyazato’s match was finished.

Match 10

Spain’s Azahara Munoz def. Japan’s Ai Miyazato, 2 and 1.

The lowdown: Munoz completed a Sunday sweep for the Spaniards, who won all four of their singles matches.

Quotes of the Week: July 27, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014 5:15:00 PM

From the USA's disappointing ouster at the inaugural International Crown to the national pride of the RBC Canadian Open to Jack Nicklaus' thoughts on Tiger Woods, enjoy this edition of Quotes of the Week.

Clark catches Furyk, wins Canadian Open

Sunday, July 27, 2014 4:58:00 PM

Tim Clark shot a final-round 65 to chase down Jim Furk and win the RBC Canadian Open. Here's what you might have missed from Royal Montreal:

Leaderboard: Tim Clark (-17), Jim Furyk (-16), Justin Hicks (-13), Matt Kuchar (-11), Michael Putnam (-11), Gonzalo Fdez-Costano (-11)

What it means: The win is only Clark's second on Tour in 283 career starts dating back to 1998. His other victory, hardly a small one, was at the 2010 Players. The 39-year-old opened with a bogey but made the turn at even and then ripped off four bridies in five holes at Nos. 11-15. Coming out of a brief weather delay, Clark made birdie at the 15th to take a lead he wouldn't relinquish. He added another at 17 to shoot a back-9 30.

Biggest disappointment: Jim Furyk's winless drought persists. Furyk, 44, hasn't won since the 2010 Tour Championship and has now failed to close his last seven 54-hole leads. He shot a 1-under 69 Sunday, with one birdie and one bogey on the front before a stretch of nine straight pars allowed Clark to catch him. Furyk did birdie the 17th to get back to within one shot but missed a 12-footer on 18 that would have forced a playoff.

O-fer Canada: Honorary mention in the above category goes to Graham DeLaet - and Canada. DeLaet was 7 under Friday but was just 3 under the rest of the week to finish tied for seventh. Now a 60-year wait, no Canadian has won his country's open since Pat Fletcher in 1954.

Round of the day: Dicky Pride tied the Royal Montreal course record with a 63 Sunday. Pride made seven birdies against zero bogeys. He played the final four holes 3 under and stuffed his approach from 163 yards to six feet at 18, setting up his final birdie. Furyk and DeLaet also posted course-record 63s on Friday.

Best of the rest: Justin Hicks (T-3), Kevin Kisner (T-9) and Canadian Brad Fritsch (T-9) all shot 64 Sunday to finish a shot off the Pride-Furyk-DeLaet record. RBC Heritage champ Matt Kuchar posted 65 and Michael Putnam and Gonzalo Fdez-Costano 66s as all three men played their way into a tie for fourth.

Photos of the Week: July 27, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014 5:22:00 PM

From the American flop at the International Crown to the PGA Tour stop north of the border, here are the Top Photos of the Week.

Phatlum hero in upset of Americans

Saturday, July 26, 2014 11:26:00 PM

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Jutanugarn sisters were a formidable pairing over the first two days of the International Crown, but Pornanong Phatlum emerged as Thailand's star Saturday, leading the nation to an upset of the Americans.

Phatlum teamed with Onnarin Sattayabonphot to defeat Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer, 1 up, in a fourballs match that won Thailand a spot in Sunday singles and led to the elimination of the American team.

Phatlum made five birdies in six-hole stretch on the back nine to hold off the American hopes. She buried a 10-foot birdie at the 14th hole that gave Thailand a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

International Crown: Articles, videos and photos

“Pornanong was amazing on the back nine,” Sattayabonphot said.

Phatlum is ranked No. 28 in the world. She has won two Ladies European Tour titles and eight Ladies Asian Golf Tour titles.

“Pornanong just went crazy there on the back nine on us,” Lewis said. “If she wasn't hitting it to gimme range, she was making a 20-footer.”

Lewis: Great event, but format needs tweaking

Saturday, July 26, 2014 11:06:00 PM

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The inaugural International Crown was loaded with drama late Saturday afternoon, but it left the Rolex world No. 1 player wishing there will be some tweaks in future stagings of the event.

Frustrated that the Americans failed to advance to Sunday singles, Stacy Lewis went on record hoping for some format changes.

“It's just crazy to think that we're two points out of the lead of this thing and we're not able to play tomorrow,” Lewis said. “So that's really what's the most disappointing part about the format. We just wish we had an opportunity tomorrow, because I think that we really could win tomorrow if we had an opportunity to play.”

The Americans had their chances, but they dug themselves a hole getting swept in the opening round by Chinese Taipei, which didn’t beat another team the rest of the way. The Americans had their chance late Saturday in the final match of the day, needing a win or a halved match with Thailand to advance to Sunday singles but lost. They had yet another chance in the playoff against South Korea and lost that, too.

What would Lewis like to see changed?

“Just the way all the points have fallen, I think that everybody, every team should be playing on Sunday,” Lewis said. “I just think it's too bunched up with the points  . . . I think first and last is five points apart, which, that's not very much in this format.

“So, I think that's the only thing you tweak in it. Maybe look at the playoff we had today, keeping it as a best ball, and not using that second ball, maybe doing something different there, just I think purely because I know the fans out there didn't understand what was going on.”

Lewis said she likes the overall concept.

“I thought that it was a great first year,” she said. “I think the coolest part for me was to be able to see Yani [Tseng] out there, representing her country.  And the Australians, they didn't have the opportunity like we do at Solheim Cup. So I think we succeeded there. It had a different feel to it than Solheims, but it had a good feel to it.

“I think it's an event that has a great opportunity to grow over the years, and I was just honored to be on team USA the first year and can't wait to play with these girls again.”