Paul Anthony Arco

The Takeaway

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Great Scotts

Sunday, August 07, 2011


It was hard to tell who was more thrilled about winning the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational Sunday – Adam Scott, who played near-perfect golf to claim his eighth PGA TOUR event, or his caddie, Steve Williams, who called it the greatest week of his career.

This coming from a guy who had been on Tiger Woods' bag for 72 wins – including 13 majors– before he was unceremoniously dumped by his long-time boss last month.

While Scott flexed a muscle following his birdie putt on No. 18 to finish a four-stroke win over Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald, it was Williams who was pumping his fist a la Tiger, back when Woods used to win golf tournaments.

How beloved is this caddy? The crowd was chanting Williams' name, not Scott's, when he and the victorious golfer were walking along the 18th fairway.

While all the talk this week in Akron was about Tiger's latest comeback, it was Scott who played like one of golf's all-time greats in earning his first World Golf Championships title.

He fired a low-round 62 on Day One and never looked back; he shared at least the lead after each round. He finished at 17-under 263 for the lowest winning score at Firestone since – you guessed it – Woods won at 259 in 2000.

Fowler, still looking for his first win, and Donald finished T2 at 13-under (267). Jason Day and 19-year-old Ryo Ishikawa were T4 at 12-under 268.

For Scott, about the only thing that went wrong were two missed birdie putts inside 12 feet on Nos. 16 and 17.

The win is Scott's first since last year's Valero Texas Open. He moves up to No. 15 in the FedExCup standings.

Woods was a non-factor coming back after a three-month layoff. His short game continues to be a problem; he finished with a 70 (281) for T37, 18 shots behind Scott and his former caddy. He will need to rebound next week at the PGA Championship in order to make the PGA TOUR Playoffs. Woods, who is No. 124 in the FedExCup standings, is not expected to play in the Wyndham Championship, the final event of the regular season.

As for Scott and Williams, following golf's new tag-team duo could become must-see TV. The only thing better would be watching Williams and Tiger go at it in a steel cage match.

Stay tuned.

Reno-Tahoe Open

Scott Piercy made it interesting at the end, but hung on to beat Pat Perez by a stroke to win the Reno-Tahoe Open for his first PGA TOUR victory. Piercy shot a 70 Sunday to finish 15-under 273.

Piercy is the 11th first-time winner on the PGA TOUR this year.

It was his third-round performance that mattered most. Piercy, who missed the cut at last year's Open, shot 11-under 61 to break the course record, thanks to eight straight birdies for a 28 on the front nine and an eagle on the 616-yard closing hole. Piercy had a two-stroke lead going into the final round.

On Sunday, he maintained that two-stroke lead at the turn, but Perez made a charge and caught the leader at No. 14. That was short lived, however, when Perez bogeyed No. 17 and failed to get up and down for birdie from a greenside bunker on No. 18.

Needing a par to win, Piercy sailed his birdie putt seven feet past the hole, but calmly drained the comeback putt for the championship.

Piercy earned a spot in the upcoming PGA Championship, as well as full-exempt status through 2013. He moves up from No. 137 to No. 80 in the FedExCup standings and virtually locks up a spot in the PGA TOUR Playoffs. Piercy has made nine of 15 cuts this year. His previous best was T6 at the RBC Canadian Open.

Perez (14-under 274) was looking for his second PGA TOUR victory; he won the 50th Bob Hope Classic in 2009. He now has four top-10 finishes this year. Steve Flesch, who won the 2007 Reno-Tahoe Open, and Blake Adams finished T3 at 13-under 275. Jim Renner (12-under, 276) was fifth.

Good Times

J.J. Killeen locked up his 2012 PGA TOUR card with a second-straight Nationwide Tour win Sunday. Killeen became the first player in six years to win in consecutive weeks when he won the Cox Classic by one stroke over four golfers.

Killeen closed with a 2-under 69, one shot better than Jonas Blixt, Ken Duke, Gary Christian and former U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee. Killeen two-putted from 90 feet on No. 18 to avoid a five-man playoff. He finished at 22-under, the same score he had to win the Utah Championship last week.

Stray Shots

Scott got off to a fast start with a first-round low 62. Fowler and Francesco Molinari (T15) shot a second-round best 64; Donald (T2), Ishikawa (T4) and Zach Johnson (T6) shot a third-round best 64 and Lee Westwood (T9), Aaron Baddeley (T11) and Matt Kuchar (T19) tied for the fourth-round low 65 … Fowler earned his fourth top-10 finish of the year and moved into the top 30 of the FedExCup standings. He has four second-place finishes in his career … Donald moved up two places to third in the FedExCup standings … Ishikawa's T4 finish is his best in seven starts in the World Golf Championships … Rory McIlroy finished T6, thanks to four rounds in the 60s … Nick O'Hern (T6) had the first-round low score 65 at Tahoe; Steve Elkington (T6) fired a second-round best 65; Piercy's 61 was tops on Saturday; and Matt McQuillan's 66 was good for T6. McQuillan has made the cut in four of five starts after missing 10 straight cuts … This was the first top-10 finish for Flesch this year … Adams now has four top-15 finishes this year, despite dealing with hip problems … Billy Horschel (T10) recorded his first top 10 on the PGA TOUR … Josh Teater (T10) notched his first top 10 of the year … It was a bad week for Boo Weekley at Tahoe. He finished 74th, shooting 5-over 293. He has only one top-25 finish and has missed seven of 17 cuts this year. Weekley is not in the field at the PGA Championship … Among the notable players missing the cut at Tahoe were John Daly, Ben Curtis, Colt Knost and Paul Goydos.



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
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