Paul Anthony Arco

The Takeaway

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Swede and Sour

Monday, June 13, 2011


Finally.

Harrison Frazar has come a long way since he withdrew from the 2006 St. Jude Classic due to an ingrown hangnail.

After years filled with personal and professional strife, Frazar finally earned his first PGA TOUR win in his 355th career start, thanks to an emotional playoff win over Robert Karlsson Sunday at the same Memphis tournament.

Frazar got that elusive first win when he parred the third hole of the sudden-death playoff and Karlsson pushed his three-foot putt past the hole. Up until Sunday, Frazar was best known for being Justin Leonard's roommate at the University of Texas.

It was déjà vu for Karlsson, who was also looking for his first PGA TOUR win. Karlsson, who has 11 wins on the European Tour, lost in a four-hole playoff to Lee Westwood at last year's FedEx St. Jude Classic.

This year, Karlsson led after the second and third rounds at TPC Southwind. Frazar took his first lead Sunday when Karlsson bogeyed No. 17, but gave it back on No. 18, when his second shot landed near the green but rolled into the water. Karlsson drained an 8-foot par putt and they were headed for a playoff.

Frazar turned a good week into a great one. After missing the cut in five of his last six starts, he shot 64 on the tail end of a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier earlier in the week to earn a spot at Congressional.

With the win, Frazar earned 500 points and moved up to No. 40 in the FedExCup standings.

Frazar, who failed to make the cut six times in 10 starts, was playing on a Major Medical Extension, but is now full exempt through 2013. He's struggled so much lately, that he's even pondered retirement.

With a big win at Memphis, however, Frazar isn't going anywhere. He sectional qualified for the U.S. Open in Dallas on Monday, June 6, so it's off to Congressional now.

Feels Like the First Time

In a day of firsts, Robert Rock shot a 5-under 67 to capture the Italian Open on Sunday to earn his first European Tour title. The Englishman finished at 21-under 267 at the Royal Park Golf and Country Club for a one-stroke victory over Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark and Gary Boyd of England.

Rock, who had three second-place finishes on his resume, including the Italian Open in 2009, qualified earlier to play in his first U.S. Open this week. He may bring along a golf book he read this week that helped improve his putting grip during the first round.

No Horsin' Around

It's been a rough ride for Colt Knost since he won the U.S. Amateur four years ago. He won twice on the Nationwide Tour in 2008 but lost his PGA TOUR card after the 2009 season.

He bounced back with four top-10s on the Nationwide Tour last year, including a runner-up in the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship, losing to eventual 2011 Valero Texas Open champ, Brendan Steele, in a riveting playoff.

Knost started strong this week, firing an opening-round 66 for a T2. He finished with a four-day 276, good for a T15. In 15 starts prior to Memphis, Knost missed the cut eight times. While he's admitted to having a little too much fun early in his career, maybe this is what Knost needed to finally turn the corner on the PGA TOUR.

Rexing Crew

Kyle Thompson won the Rex Hospital Open for the second time in five years with a birdie on the final hole Sunday, giving him a one-stroke win over a trio of golfers.

Thompson finished 14-under 270 at TPC Wakefield Plantation and moved to No. 6 on the money list. He started the day in a three-way tie for fourth place at 11 under, but birdied six holes, including a seven-foot putt on No. 18.

Thompson has 31 career starts on the PGA TOUR, including one this year at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he missed the cut. While he had a less-than-memorable rookie season on the PGA TOUR, Thompson could be one to watch in 2012 if he regains his privileges.

Stray Shots

David Mathis shot a best 5-under 65 for the opening round, which tied his best low round in 45 career starts. But he followed that up with two straight 72s and finished at 275 and T13 …With an opening-round 66, Kris Blanks was looking for his second top-10 finish of the year. But he finished with a 277 and a T22 … Retief Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, finished third, tied with Camilo Villegas (64), Tim Herron, Ryuji Imada, and Charles Howell III. This is Goosen's best finish immediately prior to a U.S. Open… It took Villegas 15 starts, but he finally cracked the top 25 with his T3. A 64 on Sunday was his best round of the year, surpassing the 66 he had in the opening round of The Heritage … Lee Westwood, the defending St. Jude champion, finished T11 … Karlsson has made seven-of-10 cuts in his first season full-time on the PGA TOUR … David Toms, a two-time FedEx St. Jude Classic champion, shot 75-70-145 to miss the cut for the first time since 1994 … Spencer Levin shot a final-round 64 to tie the low round of the tournament … Cameron Tringale's T8 was his second top 10 finish of the season … Keegan Bradley and Carl Pettersson needed a victory to qualify for next week's U.S. Open. Bradley (278) finished T25 and Pettersson, despite four rounds in the 60s, finished T8 with 273 … It's been a wild year on the PGA TOUR. Nine straight events have been decided by a stroke or a playoff. Frazar became the seventh first-time winner this year (Jhonattan Vegas, D.A. Points, Gary Woodland, Charl Schwartzel, Brendan Steele and Bradley) …Tiger Woods isn't the only one who will miss the U.S. Open due to injury. Tim Clark will not play due to an elbow injury. Still, he's fully exempt through 2015 thanks to his win last year at THE PLAYERS and won't require a medical extension, even if he fails to reach 15 starts.



Paul Anthony Arco is a freelance writer and contributor to rotoworld.com. He is host of The Golf Show!, which airs Saturday mornings on WNTA 1330 AM (www.wnta.com) in Rockford, Ill. Paul can be reached at paul@paulanthonyarco.com
Email :Paul Anthony Arco


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