5 things: Highway 59
Australian Stuart Appleby became the fifth player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59, and won in the process Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic. Appleby finished at 22-under 258. Jeff Overton, the third-round leader, missed a 50-foot birdie putt by inches at No. 18 to tie.
The other 59s: Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational), David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic) and Paul Goydos (2010 John Deere Classic.)
Duval is the only other player to shoot a final-round 59 and win. Appleby had not broken 65 since the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2006. It was his first win since the 2006 Shell Houston Open.
Collecting major championships is not the only goal of Chinese Taipei’s Tseng Ya-ni. The 21-year-old graduate of the Faldo Series Asia plans on becoming her country’s equivalent of Pak Se-ri. It was Pak who sparked the golfing boom in South Korea in 1998 when she burst onto the LPGA scene and promptly won two majors. The majority of the Koreans who grace the tour only took up the game because of Pak’s success.
Tseng hopes her performances will have the same impact in her native country. “I wish one day it (golf) will be more popular and then I will help all the juniors to start playing golf,” Tseng said. “Like one day they will be watching me ... and then they get into golf.’’
After Tseng’s third major win on Sunday at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, look for that dream to come true.
Arnold Palmer was back where it all began.
He flew into Greenbrier Valley Airport in West Virginia (USA) on July 29 to watch his grandson, Sam Saunders, play in the first round of the inaugural Greenbrier Classic.
Being at The Greenbrier Resort, Palmer recalled fond memories. He earned his first paycheck there – for a then-whopping $10,000. The year was 1955, Palmer’s rookie season on the PGA Tour, and he couldn’t earn any money for the first six months while he participated in the apprentice program. But Sam Snead hosted the Sam Snead Spring Festival at The Greenbrier, an unofficial event, where Palmer could keep the loot he won.
“He called and invited me to play. That alone was a huge honor to be invited by Sam,” Palmer said this week. “Me and my partner Spencer Owen made some more money in the Calcutta, too. So really, that was my start. That really afforded me everything I needed to continue to play the tour.”
The Ricoh Women’s British Open proved yet another great tournament for South Korea’s best women. A Korean didn’t win, but their presence was felt on the leaderboard. Of the 29 Koreans who started the tournament, 21 made the cut. Five made the top 10. Choi Na Yeon and Kim In-Kyung, who tied for third at the British, are oh-so-close to major glory. Kim has gone 5-4-3 in the past three majors. Choi tied for second at Oakmont in the U.S. Open and closed with a 68 at Birkdale. . . . Continuing young Korean dominance, Park Inbee carded Sunday’s lowest round, 6-under 66, to record her fourth top 10 at the majors this year.
Ross Fisher’s victory this week at the 3 Irish Open was the sixth for the flag of England this year on the European Tour: Ian Poulter (WGC-Accenture Match Play), James Morrison (Madeira Islands Open BPI-Portugal), Simon Khan (BMW PGA Championship), Luke Donald (Madrid Masters), David Horsey (BMW International Open).
And don’t forget countrymen Justin Rose (The Memorial and AT&T National) and Lee Westwood (St. Jude Classic), who won on the U.S. PGA Tour.
Another accolade for Fisher: The victory takes his run of consecutive winning years on tour to four, dating to 2007.