The man once and forever known as "Radar" - as much due to the fact that he looked like his M.A.S.H. counterpart as he was accurate with his irons - quietly walked away with the Senior PGA Championship on Sunday. In true tortoise-meets-hare fashion, Mike Reid plodded along, firing three consecutive rounds in the 70s to enter the final round two back.
Jerry Pate (-5) was two strokes ahead of the field when round two ended on Friday. By the time rain had halted play this afternoon he was one stroke above par and in a tie with Dana Quigley (-5) and Mike Reid (-5) for first. Reid birdied his opening hole and continued consistent play with pars through the 10th hole while Quigley posted four birdies and only one bogey through 11 holes to jump into the first-place tie.
Pate expressed confidence in his ability to hold up during Sunday's extended day. "I'm in pretty good shape so there won't be a fatigue factor -- it's not going to come into my game. I'm looking forward to playing." That sounds good coming from a guy who had to drop out of competitive golf for so many years because of shoulder trouble.
The second round of the Senior PGA Championship on Friday was moving day for many players in the field. Most notably Jerry Pate whom was four under for the day leaving him with a one stroke lead. First round leader Graham Marsh had a somewhat disappointing day finishing at two-under par for the day, a score that could have easily been worse. Hale Irwin was also left in Pate's dust after finishing three-over on the day, six shots behind for the tournament.
As Josh Permuda mentioned yesterday in the first round recap of the Senior PGA Championships, Irwin trails only Sam Snead for most Senior PGA Championship victories. A victory at the 66th Championship would mean he only trails Snead by one. His chance of victory may have diminished after today's second round of play.
Graham Marsh looked impressive in his first round at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pennsylvania as he shot a 4-under 68. Marsh was able to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and clear skies on Thursday to take the first round lead at the Senior PGA Champioships.
The real story of the first round could be Hale Irwin's quest for a fifth Senior PGA Championship. Irwin was able to birdie three of his last four holes to finish at 3-under par, one back of Marsh. Irwin trails only Sam Snead for most Senior PGA Championship victories. A victory at the 66th Championship would mean he only trails Snead by one.
Marsh sits one stroke in front of Irwin, Canadian Tour Player Dave Barr, Tom McKnight and R.W. Eaks.
As we all know, Erik is on-site at the Senior PGA Championship, which is set to begin on Thursday in Ligonier, Pennsylvania at the Laurel Valley Golf Club. This is the oldest championship in senior golf, started by Bobby Jones in 1937, and boasts a list of past winners that includes Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus.
Assuming the weather holds up in the Pennsylvania region (it looks like rain is in the forecast), the players will be competing for over $2 million with $360,000 going to the winner. Last year, Hale Irwin won his fourth Senior PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Lousiville, Kentucky and looks to add a fifth title to trail only Sam Snead in holding the most Senior PGA Championship victories (Slammin Sammy owns six titles).
While yesterday was a day of getting acquainted with the course and the wet, wet weather, today was more getting acquainted with the players and, again, the wet, wet weather. Rains continued to trickle from the skies at varying intervals throughout the day. On the up side, fans were not out in droves, and autograph getting was pretty easy. I nabbed autographs on an embroidered flag from about 20 of my favorite Champions Tour players and at least one autograph from someone I can't identify.
I'm on location at the Laurel Valley Golf Club, 15 minutes from the home of Rolling Rock, Arnold Palmer, and my sister and her husband - my home base for the week. Aside from a wedding (my own) on Friday, I'll be reporting each day from the LVGC and the Senior PGA Championship.
The story this year on the PGA Tour has been the weather, and unfortunately it was no different today. Though players got out several different times, there was never more than ten minutes without rain until 5pm or so, when the sun finally came out and most players had given up.
Ernie Els claimed his third European Tour victory of 2005 and his 21st career European title Monday morning as he shot a final-round 65 to win by 13 strokes over Simon Wakefield and the rest of the field.
Els went wire-to-wire to claim the BMW Asian Open and set the Asian Tour record for largest margin of victory. He also stands in second for the largest margin of victory in a European Tour-sanctioned event, trailing Tiger Woods and his 15-stroke victory at the 2000 U.S. Open. This was Els' tenth wire-to-wire victory on the European Tour.
Wakefied shot a final-round 73 and didn't offer much competition to Els, finishing at -13. Thomas Bjorn shot a 72 to stand alone in third place. Wakefield's second-place finish has all but secured the Englishman his European Tour Card the 2006 season.
Ernie Els must wait until Monday morning to claim (most likely) his third victory of the year at the BMW Asian Open. A three and a half hour delay on Sunday morning due to the threat of thunderstorms left 24 players on the course and in Shanghai for another day.
At the end of play on Saturday, Els had a five-stroke lead over Simon Wakefield and was able to open up his lead in his limited play on Sunday. The Big Easy is eight strokes in front of Wakefield and his lead is likely to go to nine first thing Monday, as he has a five foot birdie putt waiting for him on hole seven.
Els has carded two birdies on the six holes he's completed while Wakefield has carded one bogey to fall eight strokes back.