This Week in Golf - June 14th through June 17th
June 11th, 2007
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION - U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pennsylvania - The best in the world head to one of the top courses in the United States this weekend for the second major championship of the season, the U.S. Open.
Oakmont Country Club, the fifth-ranked course in the U.S. by Golf Digest, will host the open for a record eighth time. Prior to this, Oakmont was tied with Baltusrol for most times hosting an Open with seven.
The last time the Open was played at Oakmont was in 1994. Ernie Els claimed the first of his two U.S. Open titles by fending off Loren Roberts and Colin Montgomerie, who posted the first of his three runner-up finishes in the Open, in a three-way playoff.
The extra session was the first three-man playoff since 1963. In the playoff, Els was four-over through two holes, but steadied himself to post one-under the rest of the way to shoot 74.
Roberts also posted a 74, while Montgomerie struggled to a 78. Els and Roberts continued on to the 20th hole, after they matched fours on the 19th hole.
Els found the putting surface with his approach at the par-four 11th, while Roberts dumped his second into a greenside bunker. Roberts blasted to 30 feet and two-putted for bogey. Els walked away with the title as he two-putted for par and the first of his three major titles.
With that win, Els, who was 24 at the time, became the youngest U.S. Open winner since Jerry Pate in 1975.
How long ago was that Open? World No. 1 Tiger Woods was only one of the top amateurs in the country. He was coming off three straight U.S. Junior Amateur wins and would go on to earn his first U.S. Amateur title later that summer.
Last year, Geoff Ogilvy was handed the title as three players coughed up a chance at the title. Montgomerie stumbled to a double-bogey on the 72nd hole. Jim Furyk missed a short par putt on the final hole that would have gotten him into a playoff.
However, the biggest gaffe belonged to Phil Mickelson, who had won the previous two majors -- the 2005 PGA Championship and the 2006 Masters. Mickelson hit his tee shot at 18 off a hospitality tent lining the left side of the fairway, then after a drop, hit a tree with his second. All that led to a double-bogey and gave Ogilvy his first major championship win.
For his part, Ogilvy played solid golf down the stretch. He chipped in for par on 17, then, at the last, he found a sand divot in the fairway, but again saved par to shoot two-over 72 and post five-over 285. That was the highest winning score since Hale Irwin's seven-over at Winged Foot in 1974.
Oakmont will feature long rough and extremely fast greens as all U.S. Open do. However, since Els won the '94 Open here some 3,000 trees have been removed and the course now plays almost like an inland links course.
The course is also much different than it was in 1973 when Johnny Miller shot a U.S. Open record round of eight-under 63. He roared from way back to beat John Schlee by a stroke.
There will be extensive television coverage this week. ESPN and NBC will have coverage from 10:00 a.m. (et) until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. NBC will be on air from 3:00-5:00 p.m., while the remaining seven hours of action will be on ESPN. NBC will be on air from 1:00-7:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The PGA Tour returns next week with the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut. Hometown favorite J.J. Henry won there last year.
OPEN DE SAINT-OMER, Aa Saint Omer Golf Club, Lumbres, France - The European Tour is also in action this week with the eighth playing of the Open de Saint- Omer.
Originally part of the Challenge Tour, this event became a dual-ranking event in 2003. Each year since, it has been played opposite the U.S. Open.
Last year, Cesar Monasterio closed with a four-under 67 to overcome a five- shot deficit and claim a one-stroke win over Martin Maritz and third-round leader Henrik Nystrom. Maritz managed just an even-par 71 in the final round, while Nystrom stumbled to a two-over 73 to share second at minus-nine.
Monasterio is not in the field this week, but Maritz and Nystrom are expected to tee it up at Aa Saint Omer Golf Club. Jean-Francois Remesy, a three-time winner on the European Tour and playoff loser last week, is the highest-ranked player in the field.
There is no television coverage for this event.
Next week, the tour heads to Germany for the BMW International Open. This event was played during Labor Day weekend last year and Henrik Stenson bested Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington in a playoff for his second win of the '06 season.
ROCHESTER AREA CHARITIES SHOWDOWN AT SOMERBY, Somerby Golf Club, Byron, Minnesota - The Showdown at Somerby was moved up four weeks on the Nationwide Tour schedule this year.
It will be the fourth playing of the event. Last year, Brandt Snedeker needed two extra holes to defeat Jeff Quinney.
Both players have been playing well this year on the PGA Tour as Snedeker is 43rd on the money list, while Quinney is 27th. Each has practically secured their PGA Tour card for next year with over a $1 million earned to this point in the season.
None of the first three winners of this tournament -- Kevin Stadler, Jason Gore and Snedeker -- are in the field this week.
Tom Lehman, captain of the 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup team, co-designed Somerby Golf Club and the course was ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top-10 new private courses in 2005.
The Golf Channel broadcasts action of all four rounds this week. The Nationwide Tour heads to Tennessee next week for the Knoxville Open, where Hunter Haas was victorious last year.
TIMES COLONIST OPEN, Gorge Vale Golf Club, Victoria, British Columbia - After a one-month hiatus, the Canadian Tour returns to action this week with the Times Colonist Open.
Last year, Mike Grob closed with three-under 67 to beat Trevor Dodds and John Lieber by one stroke.
Grob, who is the all-time leading money winner on the Canadian Tour, picked up his fourth Canadian Tour win. However, it was his first title since 2002.
There is no television coverage for this event. The tour remains in British Columbia next week for the Greater Vancouver Charity Classic, where Lee Williamson won last year.
DURAMED FUTURES TOUR
MICHELOB ULTRA DURAMED FUTURES PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, Hickory Point Golf Course, Decatur, Illinois - The Futures Tour hits the halfway point this week with the 10th of 20 events this season.
The Michelob ULTRA Players Championship features the highest purse of the season -- $105,000. Last year, Salimah Mussani claimed the title as she rolled to a five-shot win over Charlotte Mayorkas.
The Futures Tour shifts to Ohio next week for the inaugural Duramed Championship.
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