by Jeff Skinner
The PGA Tour crowned its third rookie champion of the season yesterday as Jonas Blixt putted his way to victory at the Frys.com Open. Blixt who leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting proved the old axiom “drive for show and putt for dough” to be very accurate. He used his putter to lead the tournament in strokes gained putting and putts per round and was second in putts per greens in regulation.
The Sweden native took home $900,000 dollars and that all important two year exemption on the PGA Tour. Blixt has had an excellent rookie season and continued his good form after last week’s third place finish at the Justin Timberlake. In the past two weekends he has pocketed over $1.2 million. That’s good stuff and he knows he is living the dream. “It’s unbelievable,” Blixt said. “I have no words right now. This is the biggest dream I’ve ever had.”
Fan favorite Fred Funk finished with a winning birdie on his final hole to win the Greater Hickory Classic for his second Champions Tour win of the season. Funk and Champions Tour rookie Duffy Waldorf were trading shots as they were tied for the lead down the stretch. But it was Funk’s birdie that clinched the title for his eighth Champions Tour title. “I really wanted to win here really bad,” Funk said. “I’ve been knocking at the door on this tournament a lot … but I was feeling the heat. When you get in contention, you always want to finish it.” He knew he needed a birdie to take the title. “I assumed Duffy was going to birdie No. 18,” Funk said. “When I saw that I needed a birdie to win, I played real aggressive with my tee shot. I just smoked a 3-wood, and hit a great chip. Still, I was pretty nervous about that putt.”
On the Asian swing of the LPGA Tour, South Korean Inbee Park held off fellow South Korean Na Yeon Choi with a final round 67 to win the LPGA Malaysia. It is Park’s second win of the season as she also won at the Evian Masters. She has played excellent golf in her last six starts with six straight top three finishes. “I’m very happy to win,” Park said. “I played for the second time here, and it’s the first time I’ve won twice in one year, so I’m really proud of myself for that.”
Shane Lowry of Ireland held on to win the European Tour’s Portugal Masters for his second career Euro Tour win. England’s Ross Fisher had a chance to force a playoff with Lowry but his par putt lipped out on the final hole. Lowry had come from four behind to win and was a shocked at anyone to find himself holding onto the winner’s trophy. “I cannot believe this,” he said “I can’t explain how I feel really. It’s a dream come true – I’m over the moon.
“Everyone was referring to me as the fella who won the Irish Open as an amateur, but now I’ve won such a prestigious event I don’t know what to say.”