Paul Anthony Arco

The Takeaway

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Bo Knows Birdies

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Bo Van Pelt always wondered what it would be like to walk down No. 18 with a big lead, soaking in the cheers from adoring fans lining the fairway.

 

On Sunday, Van Pelt got his chance, when he cruised to the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic at a steamy Mines Resort and Golf Club, shooting a 7-under 64 for a six-stroke victory.

 

Van Pelt finished at 23-under 261 at The MINES Resort and earned $1.3 million in the second-year event sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and Asian Tour. He broke the scoring record by five strokes set by Ben Crane last year. The win doesn’t count as an official PGA TOUR victory, but it’s an official Asian Tour win.

 

It was his first win since claiming the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Jeff Overton called Van Pelt’s round one of the best he’s witnessed. Overton wasn’t bad either, finishing second at 17-under 267.

 

Van Pelt opened the tournament with rounds of 66, 64 and 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Overton heading into the final round. He kept rolling on Sunday, with five birdies on his last eight holes. He birdied Nos. 13-15, hitting within a foot on No. 13 and No. 14; he drained a 4-footer on No. 15 after driving into a greenside bunker. He added a two-putt birdie on the par-5 No. 17. He had no bogeys.

 

Fredrik Jacobson shot a final-round 68 to finish third at 16-under 268. Cameron Tringale and Camilo Villegas and Mark Wilson (69) were T4 at 15-under 269.

 

Van Pelt takes some momentum into next week’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event at Sheshan International.

 

Shanghai Surprise

 

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy won $2 million in the Shanghai Masters on Sunday, beating Anthony Kim with a par on the first playoff hole.

 

McIlroy dropped a 2-foot putt after Kim missed a 3-footer. It was redemption for McIlroy who missed a 7-foot birdie putt in regulation for the win. He finished with an even-par 72 to match Kim (69) at 18-under. The win was McIlroy’s first in three career playoffs.

 

The $2 million first prize is the biggest pot in golf. Kim earned $750,000.

 

Hunter Mahan and Noh Seung-yul finished T3 at 13-under in the 30-man event. Lee Westwood shot a 67 for fifth place at 12-under.

 

McIlroy had an early three-shot lead, and then had to rally from a stroke down on the back nine to reach a playoff. McIlroy made a 5-footer for birdie on No. 15 and Kim missed to even the score.

 

Ian Poulter was 11-under, Retief Goosen and K.J. Choi were 10-under.  

 

Put Up Your Dukes

 

Get used to seeing Ken Duke next season on the PGA TOUR. Duke won the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship on Sunday to secure his rightful place.  

 

Duke shot a 4-under 68 to finish at 10-under and beat Scott Brown by two strokes at Daniel Island Club’s Ralston Creek Course. Duke earned $180,000 and moved from No. 36 to No. 7 on the money list. Duke’s only other Nationwide win came in 2006 at the BMW Classic.

 

J.J. Killeen won the money title, which made him fully exempt on the PGA TOUR and gave him a spot in The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass next May.

 

Brown will probably get a Christmas present from Billy Hurley III this year, after Brown dropped a long par putt on No. 17 and a birdie on No. 18 to finish alone in second; a bogey would’ve dropped Hurley III from the final qualifying spot.

 

No one was more disappointed than James Nitties, who began the week No. 23 and dropped three spots to miss to the top 25 by one spot.

 

Other golfers finishing in the top 25 include Ted Potter Jr., Matthew Goggin, Jonas Blixt, John Mallinger and Kyle Thompson.

 

Duke, 42, is the second-oldest golfer to win the Nationwide Tour championship. Allen Doyle was 47 when he won in 1995.

 

All Heart

 

There have been plenty of great storylines this season. But one of the best stories was wrapped up this weekend when Erik Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, officially earned a PGA Tour card when he finished in the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list.

 

Compton has played 30 career PGA events, but none with a tour card. He helped himself back in June when he won his first Nationwide championship at the Mexico Open. His tie for No.18 at Daniel Island was his best finish since the win in Mexico. He ended the year No. 13 overall with $239,737.

 

He was diagnosed at age 9 with cardiomyopathy, an enlarging of the heart. Three years later, Compton received a new heart; he needed another donor heart in 2008 when the first one failed. He had another setback earlier this summer but appears to have it under control now.

 

I look forward to watching Compton compete next year on the PGA TOUR.

 

Stray Shots

 

Overton, winless on the PGA TOUR, shot a course-record 9-under 62 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Jacobson. Overton was a last-minute replacement for David Duval. Jacobson won the Travelers Championship this summer for his first PGA TOUR title … Defending champion Ben Crane was 10-under 274 for T20 … Robert Allenby was the first-round leader thanks to an 8-under 63. Winless since the 2009 Australian Masters, Allenby, a captain’s pick for the upcoming Presidents Cup, finished T13 at 272 … The final low rounds Sunday were 64s by Tringale and Van Pelt … There were eight players who shot four rounds in the 60s: Jonathan Byrd, Crane, Jerry Kelly, Overton, Jeev Milkha Singh, Van Pelt, Villegas and Wilson … Sergio Garcia beat Miguel Angel Jimenez by one stroke to win the Andalucia Masters for his second straight European Tour victory. Garcia shot an even 71 to finish with a 6-under of 278. He won the Castello Masters by 11 strokes last week, after three runner-up finishes at Valderrama. It also qualified him for next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions and moved him up to the top of the European Ryder Cup points race.

 

Next week

 

The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions will be held next week at Sheshan International. Missing will be top-ranked Luke Donald, who pulled out while he waits for the birth of his second child.

 

The tournament doesn’t count toward the PGA TOUR money list. Last year, the PGA TOUR decided it would count as an official event if won by a member, including a spot in the Tournament of Championship in Hawaii.

 

PGA champion Keegan Bradley will be there. He’s the only multiple winner on the PGA Tour who also has a major. Also playing is Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who has not missed a cut this year, and Garcia, who won this weekend (see above). Other players to watch include Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Bill Haas.

 

Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington have not qualified. Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and two-time winner Phil Mickelson are the top five U.S. players who won’t be there. Also missing are Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland, Sean O'Hair, Martin Laird and Jason Day.

 



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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