Friday, November 06, 2009

Humble's Cooper Claims STPGA Match Play

From the STPGA - Carl Cooper won a closely-contested final match against Lonny Alexander by a 1-up margin to take the victory in the 2009 TaylorMade-adidas Golf STPGA Match Play Championship at Escondido.

Cooper was one hole down after Alexander birdied the 10th hole in the finals, but came back to go 2 up after the 14th hole. Alexander pulled back within a single hole after on the 15th, but both took pars on the remaining holes and Cooper had the championship.

"It was kind of like a window opened up for me and it was my time," said Cooper of his victory. "I've been working very hard on my putting and it paid off. Tim Thelen told me after our semi-final match that I had played the best he’d seen me play. I think it was really the best golf I've played since I had my Tour card."

"To win five matches against the kind of golfers I was playing against is tough," Cooper said. "I stayed patient and the golf gods rewarded me."

The win in the finals marked the second time in the tournament's five rounds that Cooper had been pushed to the final hole before defeating his opponent. He earned his slot in the finals by defeating Tim Thelen 4&3 in the semi-finals. Alexander gained his position in the final match with a 3&2 win over David Von Hoffman.

Cooper earned $1,200 for the championship and Alexander took home $800 as the runner-up. The losing semi-finalists received $500 each and the losing quarterfinalists and second-round players received $300 and $200 each, respectively.

Cliff Bounds, ousted from the Championship Division in a 5&4 first-round loss to Cooper, won the Championship Division's Consolation Bracket with a 3&2 conquest of Chase Watson in the finals.

Bounds took home $600 as winner of the Consolation Bracket. Watson received a check for $400 as the runner-up, and the professionals who lost in the quarterfinals and semi-ifinals won $200 and $150 each (respectively) for advancing past the first round.

Larry Degenhart won the tournament's Senior Division, taking a 2&1 victory in the finals over Garry Rippy.

Degenhart gained the finals by taking a 4&3 win over Babe Hiskey in the quarterfinals and then winning a 21-hole match against Wayne Mitchell in the semi-finals.

Degenhart's winnings were $800; Rippy earned $500 in runner-up money. All the golfers who won their first and quarterfinal matches received $200 and $300, respectively.

"I didn't expect I was going to win when I entered, but it looked like a good chance to win a check in a good tournament," said Degenhart. "When I saw I was playing Marty Fleckman in the first round, I joked that they were trying to eliminate me early."

"I had Garry four holes down by the 12th hole of the final match. He came back, but I managed to hold on," Degenart said. "I'm a Life Member of the PGA and I've been a member of several Sections, but this is the first time I've won anything at the Section level, so it's pretty special."

Fleckman took the Senior Division's Consolation Bracket with a 3&2 win over Ralph Harris in the finals. Fleckman was eliminated from the Senior Division by Degenhart in a 1-up decision, but never played past the 16th hole in three matches in the Consolation Bracket.

Fleckman earned $450 for his effort, while Harris took home a runner-up share of $250. The losing semi-finallsts received $150 each.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

2010 PGA Tour Texas Dates

The 2010 PGA Tour schedule is out, and here are the Texas dates:

  • April 1-4: Shell Houston Open
  • May 13-16: Valero Texas Open
  • May 20-23: HP Byron Nelson Championship
  • May 27-30: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

As you can see, the Texas Open, Nelson and Colonial are in back-to-back-to-back weeks, forming nice Texas triangle. Also of note is that the Texas Open is officially listed as moved to TPC San Antonio, where it will be played on the Greg Norman-designed course.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Spirit Returns to Whispering Pines

Thanks to Golf Babes for reminding me of this: If you're going to be anywhere in the vicinity of Trinity this week, head out to Whispering Pines Golf Club and check out The Spirit International.

Since its founding in 2001, The Spirit has become one of the premiere international competitions for young amateur golfers - usually college-age, sometimes younger. Countries send four golfers - two women, two men - who compete both individually for men's and women's titles, plus as teams for men's, women's and overall titles.

This year, the American team is captained by Paula Creamer, and the players on Team USA are Jordan Speith, the No. 1-ranked junior boys player in the U.S.; college star Ben Martin, runner-up at the 2009 U.S. Amateur; college freshman Jennifer Johnson, the runner-up at the U.S. Women's Amateur this year; and 14-year-old phenom Alexis Thompson, the No. 1-ranked girls junior who has played very well in a handful of LPGA appearances.

Other notables this year include Caroline Masson, one of the top amateurs in Europe, playing for Germany;and Matteo Manassero, who won the 2009 British Amateur at age 16, playing for Italy.

Some of the young golfers hitting Whispering Pines this week are guaranteed to be stars down the road; you only have to look at the list of players who've played The Spirit in the past to know that. Those past players include Nick Flanagan, Martin Kaymer, Brandt Snedeker, Ross Fisher and Michael Sim on the men's side; Lorena Ochoa, Minea Blomqvist, Na Yeon Choi, Hee Young Park, Jane Park, Joo Mi Kim, Aree Song and Yani Tseng on the women's side.

Plus the American captain this year, Paula Creamer.

Practice rounds are on Tuesday (Nov. 3); the tournament starts Wednesday (Nov. 4) and runs through Saturday (Nov. 7). Parking and admission is free for spectators.