Tags: Golf | talk | Clarke | Scott

Golf Talk: Scott, Clark in Form; Creamer Comes Close

Thursday, 01 May 2008 05:05 PM

By Anthony Pioppi

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Scott: Grip It and Putt It

Adam Scott returned early from some time off in his native Australia to play in the Byron Nelson Championship and made the trip worthwhile with a victory on the third playoff hole.

About the only thing longer than his flight to the U.S. was his winning putt on the 18th hole, the sixth time he and Ryan Moore played it that week.

Scott had such a good feel about his read on the 45 footer, which broke about six feet, that he did not even ask his caddie Tony Navarro for a read.

“Sometimes, you can just see them straightaway, and I got a good grip on that one,” he said.

Creamer Shaking All Over

Paula Creamer shot 69 on Sunday to get herself into a playoff with Annika Sorenstam in the Stanford International Pro-Am.

And Creamer has five LPGA victories on her resume to bolster her confidence. That didn’t stop a case of the jitters so severe that is caused her to leave a six-foot putt short on the first playoff hole and give Sorenstam the title, her 71st on the LPGA Tour.

“My hands were shaking so much I probably should have gripped it a little harder so I would have actually followed through,” Creamer said.

“That was just classic nerves, not being in that situation before.”

Sorenstam’s Eternal Round

The Stanford International Pro-Am was the first time in seven years that the LPGA conducted an event with a pro-am component.

It only took one round to see adaptations needed to be made.

Sorenstam and her amateur partner paired with Natlie Gulbis and her amateur took five hours and 50 minutes to play the first 18 holes.

“It was way too tough,” Sorenstam said later that day. “Some of the pins, it’s U.S. Open. These guys are intimidated. They want to help out. It’s long, it’s tough, it was just way too difficult. They’re tucked behind bunkers, they’re tucked in the back.”

LPGA Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Chris Higgs said it’s a work in progress.

“We have to make sure the course setup is worthy of a championship round of golf in an LPGA tournament,” Higgs said.

"And at the same time, you have amateurs playing as well, so there’s a balance you have to reach.”

Clarke Back on Top in Shanghai

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland returned to winning form on the 18th hole in Shanghai on Sunday, sinking a 30-foot birdie putt to beat Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen by a stroke for the Asian Open title.

Clarke has been off his game for a while. His wife Heather suffered from cancer, succumbing two years ago, leaving him with two small sons.

He had not won on the PGA or European Tours since his 2003 triumph in the World Golf Championships NEC-Invitational.

Said Clarke on Sunday, “It was always going to be a difficult hurdle for me to get back into the winner's circle.”

He stumbled late in Sunday’s round with bogeys at 16 and 17, later telling reporters at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club, “My mind started going forward probably about 14 onwards. I lost my concentration and started thinking about Heather and the boys (sons Tyrone and Conor) and bits and pieces.”

Norman Goes for the Gold

Greg Norman in a rare European Tour appearance tied for 14th at 288 and used the opportunity to voice his opinion that golf should once again be an Olympic sport.

“The game of golf is truly played on a global basis,” he said. “It is played by all races and it is played on every continent And when you think about what the game of golf has done from an economics point of view, you would think the logical choice would be for it to be in the Olympics.

“If you think about male and female professionals as well as the amateurs, the game of golf canvasses a lot of people.”

U.S. Open, Closed

If you were thinking of qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open you’ve missed your chance; entries closed April 23.

An astounding 8,390 golfers are taking a shot at making it to Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif., June 12-15.

Ninety-two percent of the total entries were received online, including 1,192 in the final two days that applications were accepted.

There were 102 entries accepted online in the final hour, none later than Keith Stone, a 39-year-old amateur from Chelmsford, Mass., who beat the 5 p.m. (EDT) deadline by 56 seconds.

The youngest golfer to enter was 12-year-old Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The oldest applicant was Harris Moore Jr., 79, a professional from Los Angeles, Calif. Entries were received from golfers in all 50 states and 68 foreign countries.

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