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Henrik Stenson won THE PLAYERS Championship with a flawless final round Sunday, firing a bogey-free 6-under 66 for a four-shot victory. Starting the day five shots behind the leader, Stenson notched the second largest comeback in PLAYERS history and matched the largest rally on the Stadium course en route to victory.
Stenson finished at 12-under 276, four shots clear of Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter. John Mallinger (70) and Kevin Na (70) tied for third as FootJoy players swept the top four positions.
He tied for the lead with a chip-in birdie from just off the seventh green and took the outright lead with a two-putt from 55 feet on the fringe at the par-5 ninth. He never looked back and found himself lifting the crystal trophy at the end of the day for his second PGA Tour victory.
He stretched his lead with a pitching wedge into 2 feet for birdie on the 15th, then two-putted for another birdie on the 16th, taking some of the fear factor from standing on the 17th tee, staring at an island.
Once his ball found land, it was over.
"I could afford to go bogey-bogey and still win it," Stenson said. "That's always a handy situation to be in."
FootJoy player Ian Poulter posted a 4-under 68 in round two and sits just two shots off the lead at 9-under par. Click on the image below to hear his post round interview.
Ian Poulter (2nd; 9-under)
Included below are some photos from the first round at THE PLAYERS where Ben Crane held a one shot lead following a stellar 7-under 65. Crane needed only 22 putts, including an amazing 14 one-putts, tying the most one-putts by any player in the last 25 years at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Click here for a great recap from Steve Elling at CBS Sportsline including some amusing insight from Crane, such as his "interesting" ride to the course on Thursday, the hard-hitting advice from his coach that got him on track and his thoughts on his much-publicized pre-shot routine. Click here for a full recap of round one from PGATour.com.
Click here to begin the slideshow.:
Zach Johnson (SYNR-G, SciFlex) fired a 4-under 68 Saturday that included a par-birdie-par finish along one of the toughest closing stretches in golf to take a two shot lead going into the final round. Click on the image below to hear what Zach had to say after his round. Also hear what George McNeill had to say. He's one of three players at 9-under who will be chasing Zach as he goes for his second win of the season.
Zach Johnson (Leader; 11-under par)
George McNeill (T2; 9-under par)
Mexican star Lorena Ochoa shot a 5-under 68 on Sunday to win the Corona Championship by one shot wearing Classics. Contested in her home country, Ochoa has won this tournament three times since 2006, including the last two consecutive. She won last year's tournament by 11 shots, but didn't have such an easy time capturing her 26th career win, despite finishing the tournament with the exact same score.
"In a golf tournament, where one (stroke) is enough to win, there is no difference. This is a complicated year, there are many players who want to win, you can see that every week," Ochoa added. ``This year, it will be very hard to win by 10. That is why I keep practising, trying to improve – to remain on top of them."
Ochoa was tied for the lead through three, took the lead on the fourth, and was back in a tie after the fifth. Ochoa took a two-stroke lead with birdies on the sixth and eighth, but a bogey at the 11th and a birdie from her competitor at the 12th tied it again. Ochoa took the lead for good with birdies at No. 15 and No. 16, calling her putt there "one of the best" of her career.
"I had a one-stroke lead over her after the 15th, she missed her putt and I knew that, with a birdie, I was going to take a two-stroke lead with two holes left to play, so I made the decision to go for it," Ochoa said. "I had a good putt, a little bit soft, but it fell. ... That was beautiful."
European Tour rep Jonathan Loosemore sent through some photos from this week's Ballantine's Championship on the Korean island of Jeju. FootJoy staffer Graeme McDowell won the inaugural event last year on the third hole of sudden death when he stuffed a 7-iron to a foot for a tap in birdie.
Check out the images from Wednesday at the Pinx Golf Club.
Brian Gay shot a 7-under 64 Sunday to win the Verizon Heritage by an astounding 10 shots. He broke the 13-year-old scoring record, finishing at 20-under 264 on the way to his second PGA TOUR victory. Gay wore all-white shield tip Classics Dry Premiere and a StaSof glove in the final round.
Gay admitted he found validation in his second PGA Tour victory, which was the largest margin of victory on Tour in almost three years. His first win came last year at the Mayakoba Golf Classic which is contested opposite the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Gay bested Loren Roberts' mark of 19 under in winning the 1996 Verizon Heritage. Gay's 10-shot edge over fellow FootJoy players Luke Donald (66) and Briny Baird (68) shattered the seven strokes five-time champ Davis Love III won by in 1998.
Besides a $1.026 million first prize, Gay earned a trip to his first Masters next year.
Gay began the day with a three shot lead and essentially wrapped things up two holes. He struck his approach to 10 feet on No. 1 for a birdie to increase the lead to four. A hole later, he rolled in a curling, uphill 57-footer for an eagle-3, raising his putter as the ball disappeared into the cup.
The wind blew a little more, the greens dried out a little more and scores have come down a little more. But none of that really mattered to Chad Campbell, who shot a second round 2-under 70 and enters the weekend as the co-leader at 9-under par. Click on the video below to hear Chad's thoughts following the round.
Chad Campbell (Co-leader; 2-under 70)
Thursday was an ideal day for scoring at the Masters -- sunny and warm, no wind, soft, receptive greens, tempting pin placements -- and the players took advantage. In fact, there were 20 rounds in the 60's which set a first round record and tied for most in any round. Click on the images below to hear from several players who took advantage, including first round leader Chad Campbell who birdied his first five holes for the best start in Masters history!
Chad Campbell (Leader; 7-under 65)
Hunter Mahan (T2; 6-under 66)
Padraig Harrington (T12; 3-under 69)
Thanks to everyone who participated in our second FJ Challenge and congratulations to Eric W who just came in with the correct answers. Stay tune for the next challenge.
Click on the slideshow below for the answers and to see the prize!