AP NEWS

Stricker makes record debut and wins US Senior Open

July 1, 2019
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Steve Stricker tips his hat to fans after winning the U.S. Senior Open following the final round of play on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. (Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP)
1 of 4
Steve Stricker tips his hat to fans after winning the U.S. Senior Open following the final round of play on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. (Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Steve Stricker made his U.S. Senior Open debut one for the record book.

Stricker birdied the opening hole Sunday and never was threatened on his way to a 1-under 69 for a six-shot victory. He finished at 19-under 261 on the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame, breaking by three shots the U.S. Senior Open record set two years ago by Kenny Perry at Salem Country Club.

The 52-year-old Stricker, who still spends half of his time on the PGA Tour, won a PGA Tour Champions major for the second time this year. He also won by six shots at the Regions Tradition in May in Alabama.

Jerry Kelly, who beat Stricker in a playoff last week in Wisconsin in the event Stricker hosts, shot a 69 and tied for second with defending champion David Toms, who had a 68.

The victory gets Stricker into the U.S. Open next year at Winged Foot, where he tied for sixth in the 2006 U.S. Open, a key moment in resurrecting his career.

Stricker led by at least five shots during the final round. Kelly only had hope briefly on the par-4 10th hole when he made birdie and Stricker made bogey. Two holes later, Stricker chipped in for birdie on the par-3 12th and the lead was back to six shots with six to play.

Stricker’s bogey on No. 10 was his first since the sixth hole in the opening round, a streak of 57 holes without a bogey that shattered the U.S. Senior Open record of 43 set by D.A. Weibring in 2004 at Bellerive.

Stricker made only two bogeys over 72 holes.

PGA TOUR

DETROIT (AP) — Nate Lashley completed an unlikely wire-to-wire victory in the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his first PGA Tour title.

Lashley closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 25-under 263 and win by six shots, the margin he took into the final round. Even without much drama at Detroit Golf Club, his victory was no less amazing considering what the 36-year-old Lashley has overcome.

His parents and girlfriend were killed in a plane crash 15 years ago on their way home from watching him play a college tournament. Lashley dabbled in real estate after graduating from Arizona, quit playing professional golf several years ago and resumed playing in the PGA Tour’s minor leagues.

“Without my parents, I wouldn’t have started playing golf when I was little,” Lashley said. “They did everything to help me have a career.”

Monday qualifier Doc Redman shot a 67 to finish second. Rory Sabbatini (68) and Wes Roach (68) were another stroke back.

Lashley, No. 353 in the world ranking, only got into the PGA Tour’s first event in Detroit as an alternate.

The Nebraskan took full advantage, shooting a career-low 63 in the first round to take a lead. Lashley stayed atop the leaderboard with a 67 on Friday and gave himself a cushion with another 63 on Saturday.

On the brink of breaking through during his second PGA Tour season, his sister, girlfriend, buddies and family friends flew to Detroit to join him. The victory gets him into the British Open in three weeks, along with the Masters and PGA Championship next year.

LPGA TOUR

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Sung Hyun Park two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th to win the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship for her second LPGA Tour victory of the season and seventh overall.

The 25-year-old Park is projected to move from second to first in the world ranking Monday. She will take the top spot from friend Jin Young Ko, the fellow South Korean player who poured water over Park’s head on the 18th green.

Park closed with a 5-under 66 to finish at 18-under 195 at Pinnacle Country Club. She tapped in a putt not much more than a foot on the 18th to beat Danielle Kang, Hyo Joo Kim and Inbee Park by a stroke.

Kang, Kim and Inbee Park each shot 65, with Kang playing the final five holes in 5 under.

Sung Hyun Park birdied all four par-5 holes in the final round. She played the 18th in 4 under for the three rounds, making an eagle on Friday and a birdie Saturday for a share the second-round lead.

She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore in early March and was second last week in Minnesota in the major KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

EUROPEAN TOUR

SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AP) — Christiaan Bezuidenhout closed with an even-par 71 and won the Andalucía Valderrama Masters for his first European Tour title.

Bezuidenhout finished at 10-under 274, six strokes ahead of Jon Rahm and four other players. The 25-year-old South African had five birdies and five bogeys in the final round at Valderrama.

“I’m proud of myself hanging in there today,” Bezuidenhout said. “I was nervous. It’s a tough golf course, anything can happen, especially those last three holes playing into the wind. I’m really pleased with the way I played and to finish it off is unbelievable.”

The other runner-ups included Mike Lorenzo-Vera of France and Spaniards Alvaro Quiros, Adri Arnaus and Eduardo de La Riva. Quiros had the best round of the day with a 5-under 66 that included eight birdies and three bogeys.

Tournament host Sergio Garcia ended in seventh place after a 70.

Bezuidenhout, Lorenzo-Vera and Arnaus earned the three spots available to the British Open.

KORN FERRY TOUR

FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) — Kristoffer Ventura of Norway closed with a 6-under 65 and won the Utah Championship by getting up-and-down for par on the third playoff hole to beat Joshua Creel.

The Mexican-born Ventura, who played at Oklahoma State, was projected to move to No. 17 on the Korn Ferry Tour points list. The top 25 at the end of the regular season head to the PGA Tour.

Creel closed with a 67 and had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to win on the first playoff hole. Returning to the 18th, Creel had to save par from left of the green.

The tournament was decided on the 10th, where Creel’s drive was in the rough behind a tree, forcing him to lay up. He hit his third to 15 feet and his par putt caught the left. Ventura hit from the right rough to just short of the green and chipped to 2 feet.

They finished at 14-under 270, one shot ahead of Ryan Brehm (66), Charlie Saxon (68) and Kevin Dougherty (68). Saxon missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a chance to join the playoff.

OTHER TOURS

Perrine Delacour of France closed with a 5-under 67 for a seven-shot victory at the Prasco Charity Championship on the Symetra Tour. The victory moves Delacour to No. 2 on the points list. Patty Tavatanakit, who played at UCLA, shot 72 and was runner-up. ... Rikuya Hoshino was declared the winner of Dunlop Srixon Fukushima Open when rain wiped out the final round. Hoshino had a 7-under 65 on Saturday to build a two-shot lead over Shota Akiyoshi. It was the first time since October 2017 that a Japan Golf Tour event was cut short to 54 holes by rain. The tournament paid out 75 percent of the prize money. ... Matthew Jordan won the Italian Challenge Open in a playoff over Lorenzo Scalise for his first professional title. Jordan closed with a 6-under 66 to get into a playoff with Scalise (65). Scalise hit into the water on the par-3 16th, meaning Jordan only needed two putts from 40 feet to win. ... Toto Thimba closed with a 7-under 65 for a three-shot victory over Stephen Ferreira in the KCB Karen Masters on the Sunshine Tour. ... Hye Jin Choi closed with a 3-under 69 for a two-shot victory over So Young Lee in the McCol-Yongpyong Resort Open on the Korean LPGA Tour. ... Jiyai Shin shot even-par 72 for a three-shot victory in Earth Mondahmin Cup on the Japan LPGA Tour.