Golf Roundup : Thorpe Repeats at Tucson
Jim Thorpe played bogey-free golf Sunday to take a 67-71 victory over Scott Simpson and successfully defend his title at the PGA Tucson Match Play Championship in Arizona.
The victory was Thorpe’s 12th straight over the past two years at Tucson. He took home $150,000 for his victory, while Simpson earned $90,000 in the medal match play tournament.
Under that system, matches are won on the basis of total strokes over the course of a round, rather than by the number of holes won.
Thorpe said he benefitted in the final from Simpson lacking his usual putting touch.
“The match turned out to be a lot different than I thought it would be,” he said. “But he really didn’t putt the ball the way Scott Simpson can putt the ball.”
Thorpe recorded three birdies, pulling away from Simpson on the par-4 17th hole.
Leading by two strokes, Thorpe sank a 20-foot birdie putt to go three under on the day. Meanwhile, Simpson hit a tree branch with his approach shot and had to settle for a bogey.
“That’s basically what I needed because I was getting tired by that point,” Thorpe said. “I knew he’d have to make 3 (on No. 18) and I’d have to make 7 for him to tie me.”
Simpson also played a consistent round, but two bogeys on the back nine cost him a shot at the title.
In addition to bogeying the 17th hole, Simpson had a bogey on the par-3 15th hole. He was just off the green with his tee shot, then three-putted.
“I had a good chance,” Simpson said. “I putted real well all week, but I just didn’t hit the birdie putts at the end.”
Mark Hayes fired a 2-under-par 70 Sunday to win the $200,000 Tallahassee Open by one stroke over Russ Cochran, who missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole.
Hayes, 37, of Edmond, Okla., finished with a 72-hole total of 15-under 273 over the 7,027-yard Killearn Country Club course. He picked up $36,000 for his fourth PGA Tour victory, but his first since the 1977 Tournament Players Championship.
He won despite recording only two birdies in the final round, after scores of 68, 67, 68 in the first three rounds.
“After the ninth hole, I thought I’d need to make two or three birdies on the back side to win the tournament,” said Hayes, whose birdies Sunday came on the 10th and 15th holes.
Hayes and Cochran, playing in the same threesome, were both on the last green in regulation. Hayes rolled his birdie putt from 15 feet about 4 feet past the hole, then watched as Cochran tried to force a sudden-death playoff. But Cochran missed his 8-footer for birdie to end up at 70 for the day and 274 for the tournament.
Hayes rolled in the 4-footer for the championship.
Australian Mike Harwood fired a course-record 64 to win the $120,000 Australian PGA Golf Championship as Greg Norman’s tournament winning streak of six was snapped.
Harwood began the final day at the Castle Hill course nine shots behind Norman, the world’s No. 1 player. Harwood finished with a 13-under-par 275, two strokes ahead of his Florida-based Australian rival.
Norman had been chasing American Byron Nelson’s record of 11 straight victories set in 1945 and was aiming for his third straight triumph in the Australian PGA.
He could only card a 1-over-par 73 Sunday for 277 and was unable to hold off the 27-year-old Harwood, who recorded the first tournament triumph of his career.