Bateman Bags Buick

Brian Bateman emerged from a clutch of title contenders to win the Buick Open, which was missing a couple of stars who normally keep regular dates with Warwick Hills in Michigan.

While new father Tiger Woods and injured Vijay Singh stayed away, the 34-year-old Bateman birdied the final hole to win by one stroke and thus avoiding a tricky four-way play-off.

Bateman shot a final-round three-under-par 69 for a total of 15-under-par 273 with Jason Gore, Justin Leonard and Woody Austin on stroke back.

Five players tied for fifth on 275 – Steve Elkington, Jim Furyk, Scott Verplank, Marco Dawson and John Rollins.

Bateman’s victory, which earned him $882,000, came after he holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th. He put his victory down to putting, as he said on the PGA Tour website:

“I didn’t really have any expectations. I knew I was close with four or five holes left and my putter really bailed me out.”

The American also became the eighth first-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, the third time it has happened in straight weeks with Angel Cabrera, of Argentina, winning the US Open and Hunter Mahan taking the Travelers Championship last week.

Another interesting factoid from the tournament comes courtesy of Furyk. His closing two-under-par 70 was his 37th consecutive under-par round at the tournament, giving him 51 of 52 par or better rounds at Warwick Hills.

It was also his eighth top-10 finish, the most by any player in the tournament’s history.

The European Tour also had a first-time winner with England’s Graeme Storm snatching the French Open title from under the nose of Denmark’s Soren Hansen.

Storm was five strokes behind after the third round but his five-under 66 carried him to seven-under 277 for the tournament for a one-stroke victory over overnight leader Hansen.

The Dane recorded a 72 in his final round for a total of 278. Another Dane, Thomas Bjorn, England’s Simon Khan, Ireland’s Damien McGrane and Scot Colin Montgomerie tied for third on 279.

Monty actually led the tournament with four holes remaining but saw his chances disappear with late bogeys.

Storm took the lead with a birdie on the 14th and held on to the lead with Hansen doing his best to catch him. Storm had to wait seven years for his first victory after a successful amateur career which culminated in him holing the winning putt in the 1999 Walker Cup match against America while playing for Britain and Ireland.

During that period, he worked in a cake factory after losing his card for the 20002-03 season. He said on the European Tour website:

“Working in a cake factory was a bit of a come-down for me. But in a way it helped me because it showed me the other side of life and how hard you have to work. This win has now changed my life I can’t believe it’s true. It’s like a dream.”

In Asia, there was joy for Japanese star Shingo Katayama, who won the UBS Japan Golf Tour Championship, one of the biggest events on the circuit.

Katayama, who grew up in the area, totalled nine-under-par 272 at the Shishido Hills course just outside Tokyo, one shot ahead of Naoya Takemoto.

One Response to “Bateman Bags Buick”

  1. Ted Exley says:

    Just what is it that allows golfers to win titles when, really, they have No Chance. It rarely happens in other sports but this season alone there have been about 14 maiden title winners, on both sides of the pond. Tennis occasionally throws up a non-seeded player who wins but it does not occur in Squash, Boxing, Wrestling, Rowing or most other indivulistic sports.

    Monty said this week ” 10 years ago a player outside the top 50 had no chance to win, but now they do, and regularly.” So what is it that is causing this phenomenon.

    Is is the Coaching. Is it the Conditioning. Is it the Psychology ?

    I believe that it is a mixture of all of the above, together with the new equipment which keeps the ball straighter and the fact that even a player who rarely makes the headlines can earn big money in this sport, and this allows him to spend time practising when previously he had to supplement his golf earnings by finding other part time employment.

    Take Graeme Storm, for instance. 5 years ago he lost his card. Since re-gaining it he has played quite well during the first 36 holes of a tournament, but then fading. Occasionally finishing in the top ten. This week he played magically. Driving long, hitting greens, pitching and putting beautifully…despite the fact that Monty was in the lead. Storm won almost half a million pounds in one go !

    Look at Brian Bateman. Rated 177th in all round play in ’06 and 159 in ’07, yet he has career earning of $3 mill

    One thing is for certain. If you could ‘Bottle’ what ever it is that is responsible for the startling upturn in the fortunes of such golfers you would be richer than TW !
    Anyone with any ideas, please do not leave me out!

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