AUSTRALIAN Nick O’Hern has tied for third at the Shell Houston Open, while the rounds of Geoff Ogilvy and Greg Norman unraveled in their US Masters lead ups.
After being tied for first overnight, Ogilvy finished in a five person tie for sixth and Norman, in his much vaunted lead up to Augusta, finished 70th.
Meanwhile, Michael Sim became the third Australasian winner on the Nationwide Tour this season, blitzing the field by a whopping six shots to claim the Stonebrae Classic in California. See the full Aussies in Action world round up.
US PGA TOUR: O’HERN TIES FOR THIRD IN HOUSTON
Australian Nick O’Hern has finished in a tie for third at the Shell Houston Open, won in a play off by Englishman Paul Casey.
31 year old Casey, a nine time winner on the European Tour held off the challenge from American J.B.Holmes to claim his first ever title on the US PGA Tour in 77 starts. It almost didn’t happen for Casey as he led by a shot with one hole to play but a bogey saw him forced into a play off with the American. Casey then bogeyed the 18th in the play off but it was enough to oust Holmes, who drove his tee shot into the water.
For the Australasians, O’Hern’s total of nine under par was just two shots behind Casey and a great result for the West Australian who was T20 going into the final round. Additionally it was an encouraging sign for the popular left hander who was forced to miss the Australasian summer due to thumb surgery and who had his first tournament since November at the Northern Trust Open in February.
O’Hern finished alongside Swede Henrik Stenson and former Masters Champion Fred Couples who led at 12 under for much of the final round before bogeying the final three holes to drop back to nine under.
Geoff Ogilvy was tied first overnight with five others but his round quickly unraveled with two bogeys and a double bogey in his first eight holes. He eventually finished in a five way tie for sixth on eight under. Jarrod Lyle, Stuart Appleby and John Senden were tied 31st on three under, with Marc Leishman a further shot back and tied 42nd. Peter Lonard had a disappointing six over 78 to drop to 52nd with Steve Elkington a shot further back and T58.
Greg Norman’s tournament unraveled with a final round nine over 81 to fall to 70th place alongside James Nitties whose tournament faded after a stunning first round 66 and Kiwi Tim Wilkinson.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: STUNNING VICTORY FOR SIM
PGA of Australia member Michael Sim has become the third Australasian winner on the Nationwide Tour this season, blitzing the field by a whopping six shots to claim the Stonebrae Classic in California today.
Starting the final round just one shot ahead of the pack, the 24 year old West Australian reeled off seven birdies and an eagle on his way to a best round seven under 64. It could have been more if not for bogeys at the second and 16th, but it hardly mattered as no one came close to threatening his lead all day.
With rounds of 71, 64, 67 & 74 for a total of 18 under 266, Sim finished six shots ahead of fellow Aussie Cameron Percy from Victoria who finished in a tie for second on 12 under par. In further good news for the Australasian contingent Queenslander Andrew Buckle shot a final round five under to finish in a tie for sixth place with New South Welshman Nick Flanagan.
The first-place cheque of $USD108,000 pushes Sim to the No. 1 spot on the money list with $USD182,017, nearly $USD45,000 in front of veteran Vance Veazey. THE 25 leading money-winners at the end of the year will graduate to the PGA TOUR, a place Sim spent the 2007-08 seasons but struggled because of recurring back troubles.
Sim now joins Australian Alistair Presnell (Moonah Classic) and New Zealand’s Steve Alker (HSBC NZ PGA Championship), as Australasian winners on the Nationwide Tour this year. Of six events, Australasians have won three. Sim is also the 29th Australasian winner on the Nationwide Tour with the boys from Down Under amassing 45 titles since the Tour began in 1989. Twenty nine of those titles have been collected since 2004 with last year the highlight as Australians has their best ever season, claiming seven titles overall – including five of the first eight events.
EUROPEAN TOUR: IRISHMAN HOEY CLAIMS MAIDEN TITLE
New Zealand’s Mark Brown was the best of the Australasians at the Estoril Portugal Open on the weekend, finishing in T28 behind winner Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland.
Brown’s first and final rounds of 73 marred an otherwise good performance. His second and third rounds of 68 & 69 had him in a T11 going into the final round but he couldn’t finish off.
30 year old Hoey came from five shots behind to claim his first European Tour title after a nerve wracking three hole play-off with Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez- Castano. The Irishman shot a final round 5 under 66 to catch the leaders and knocked in a six foot putt for par on the third play-off hole as Castano could only manage a bogey.
Wade Ormsby finished at two over and T43 with fellow Aussie Michael Curtain finished four over and T63.
US PGA TOUR: SHELL HOUSTON OPEN, REDSTONE GC TOURNAMENT COURSE, HUMBLE, TEXAS
WINNER: PAUL CASEY (England) * won on first play-off hole over J.B. Holmes (-11)
T3 Nick O’Hern (-9), T6 Geoff Ogilvy (-8), T31 Jarrod Lyle, Stuart Appleby, John Senden (-3), T42 Marc Leishman (-2), T52 Peter Lonard (E), T58 Steve Elkington (+1), T70 Greg Norman, James Nitties, Tim Wilkinson NZL (+3)
MC: Nathan Green, Steve Allan, Aaron Baddeley, Aron Price
EUROPEAN TOUR: ESTORIL OPEN DE PORTUGAL, OITAVOS DUNES, CASCAIS, PORTUGAL
WINNER: MICHAEL HOEY (Northern Ireland) * won on the third play-off hole over Gonzalo Fernandez- Castano
T28 Mark Brown NZL (-1), T43 Wade Ormsby (+2), T63 Michael Curtain (+4)
MC: Matthew Millar
NATIONWIDE TOUR: STONEBRAE CLASSIC, TPC SAN FRANCISCO BAY, HAYWARD, CALIFORNIA
WINNER: WINNER: MICHAEL SIM (AUSTRALIA) (-18)
T2 Cameron Percy (-12), T6 Andrew Buckle, T6 Nick Flanagan (-8), T32 Gavin Coles (-1), T38 Grant Waite NZL (E), T50 Scott Gardiner (+3), T61 Steven Bowditch (+6), T61 Kim Felton (+6)
MC: Phil Tataurangi NZL, Won Joon Lee, David McKenzie, Paul Gow
THE WEEK AHEAD:
MAJOR: The Masters, Augusta National, Georgia, USA.