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Atwal savors first win on PGA Tour

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Associated Press
August 23, 2010
— Many players came to the Wyndham Championship for a push into the PGA Tour’s playoffs.

Not Arjun Atwal. He was playing for his spot on tour.


Atwal won by a stroke Sunday at Sedgefield Country Club, becoming the first Monday qualifier to win on the tour in 24 years.


After leading or sharing the lead after each of the first three rounds, Atwal shot a 3-under 67 in the final round. He finished at 20-under 260 and earned $918,000—or, more than double the amount he previously earned this year, the reason why his future on tour had been in jeopardy.


“I told my caddie, ‘We’ve got nothing to lose this week. Just go out there and try and win it,’ ” Atwal said. “Guys are going to be out there trying to secure their FedEx Cup spots or whatever. We’ve got nothing. I don’t have a card. I don’t have anything. Just go out there and free-wheel it, and that’s what I did this week.”


He’s the first Indian-born player to win on tour and the first to win both the qualifier and the tournament that follows since Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open.


David Toms (64) was 19 under. John Mallinger and Michael Sim shot 62s to match John Rollins (65) and Justin Leonard (65) at 18 under.


For a few dizzying moments late in a low-scoring day, seven players shared the lead at 18 under.


Atwal, who carried a three-stroke lead into the final round, was at 19 under for most of the day but bogeyed the par-3 12th a few minutes before Lucas Glover bogeyed 14 and Toms, Rollins and Leonard all birdied No. 16.


Atwal reclaimed the lead with a birdie on No. 14, Leonard birdied No. 17 and Toms birdied No. 18 to join them at 19 under. Leonard dropped back a stroke after running into trouble on 18, while Atwal still had three holes to play—giving him more than enough chances to settle things himself.


Atwal made his move on the par-3 16th, plopping his tee shot 6 feet from the flagstick and sinking his birdie putt to move to 20 under. He followed that with consecutive pars, sinking a 7-foot putt on No. 18 to close out his first tour victory.


Glover (67) finished at 17 under, and Webb Simpson (63), Chris Riley (64), Scott Piercy (68) and second-round co-leader Brandt Snedeker (69) were one stroke behind him.


Funk wins Tradition

At Sunriver, Ore., Fred Funk won the Jeld-Wen Tradition for the second time in three years, closing with a 3-under 69 on Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Michael Allen and Chien Soon Lu in the fourth of the Champions Tour’s five majors.


Funk took the lead for good with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 598-yard, par-5 16th, then two-putted from 40 feet for par at 18 to finish at 12-under 276 on the Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater Golf Club course.


Allen shot a 67, and Lu had a 69.


Funk won the third Champions major of his career. His 276 total is the highest winning score in the Tradition since 2002, when Jim Thorpe won at Desert Mountain at 11-under 277.


Tp, Lehman (73) and Mark Calcavecchia (66) tied for fourth at 10 under.


Miyazato leaps to No. 1

At Portland, Ore., Ai Miyazato reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings, winning the LPGA Safeway Classic on Sunday for her fifth victory of the year.


The Japanese star closed with an even-par 72 to finish at 11 under, two strokes in front of Cristie Kerr, ranked No. 1 going into the event, and Na Yeon Choi.


Kerr chased Miayzato throughout the final round until hitting into the water on the par-4 18th on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Ghost Creek Course.


Kerr shot a 70, and Choi had a 71 in mostly sunny conditions on the rural course a short drive west of Portland.


Rain fell briefly about the time that the leaders teed off.


Miyazato, who led all three rounds, is among five players who have been jockeying for the No. 1 ranking, including Kerr, Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen and Yani Tseng.


The Safeway Classic, in its second year at Pumpkin Ridge, was marred Saturday when veteran Juli Inkster, in strong position to contend in the final round, was disqualified.


The 50-year-old Hall of Famer was used a weighted training aid on her club to stay loose while waiting for 30 minutes to make the turn at the 10th hole. That broke rule 14-3, which meant disqualification.


Miyazato and Kim, playing in the final pairing of the day, battled on the back nine holes after Kim pulled even with Miyazato with a jaw-dropping chip from under a tree to birdie the par-3 11th.


But Kim dropped two shots with bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes.


Playing in the group in front of them, Kerr was steady – but missed a chance to pull even with Miyazato by misjudging a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17. Her chances slipped away with the shot into the water on the final hole.


“I just said to myself, ‘How could you do that?”’ she said.


Kerr won the Safeway Classic in 2008 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club near Portland International Airport.


Pettersen (69) and Song-Hee Kim (72) finished at 8 under.


Tseng, who the Women’s British Open on Aug. 1 for her second major victory of the season and third in three years, finished the event at 2 over.


M.J. Hur, the defending champion, was at 4 over and did not make the projected cut. The Safeway Classic is her first and only title to date. Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Christina Kim were among those who also missed the cut.


Inkster had finished in a three-way tie for second at 8 under with Kim and Choi after two rounds. But that was erased when she used the “doughnut” training aid to practice her swing before making the backed-up turn, and the image flashed on television.


LPGA Director of Tournament Competitions Sue Witters said a viewer watching the broadcast brought the violation to the attention of tournament officials via email. By that time, Inkster was almost done with her round.


“I had a 30-minute wait and I needed to loosen up,” Inkster said in a statement. “It had no effect on my game whatsoever, but it is what it is. I’m very disappointed.”



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