DALLAS (AP) — Aaron Wise cruised to his first PGA Tour victory Sunday, shattering the AT&T Byron Nelson record at 23 under on a new course in a race to finish before nightfall after a four-hour rain delay.

The 21-year-old rookie shot a 6-under 65 to beat Marc Leishman by three strokes as both became the first to finish the Nelson at 20 under or better in the first year at Trinity Forest. The treeless links-style layout was defenseless with softer fairways and greens and no wind once the morning storms passed.

The Nelson celebrated its 50th anniversary with a return to Dallas after 35 years at the TPC Four Seasons in suburban Irving. Rory Sabbatini set the previous record on that par-70 layout at 19-under 261 in 2009.

Wise, the 2016 NCAA individual champion at Oregon, reached 20 under with his third birdie in the first seven holes.

 

Branden Grace matched his career-best 62 from last year’s British Open — which was the lowest round ever in a major — and finished at 19 under with J.J. Spaun and Keith Mitchell, who had matching 63s.

Hometown star Jordan Spieth shot 67 to finish 11 under.

SOURCE:  Golf.com

 

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Former world number one Jason Day has a burning ambition to get back to the top of the rankings and he made a huge leap with a two-stroke victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina on Sunday.

Day had an awful day of wayward driving and squandered a three-shot lead on the back nine with consecutive bogeys, before rising to the occasion and hitting one of the best clutch shots of his life.

After a birdie at the par-four 16th, he took aim at the par-three 17th with a seven-iron from 230 yards and launched his ball 142 feet, as high as a 14-storey building, into the air.

It landed some 40 feet short of the pin and finally clattered against the bottom of the flagstick on the fifth bounce.

Day was unlucky not to make a hole-in-one, but the stick also saved his ball from rolling off the back of the green.

“When I hit it, it was on a cracking line, it was beautiful,” the Australian told reporters after securing his 12th PGA Tour victory.

“And then it just had this massive bounce, hit on the downslope and fortunately hit the pin, which was nice, and went to about two or three feet.

“Things like that is what you need to win golf tournaments.”

The ensuing birdie restored Day’s two-shot lead and he parred the last to shoot 68 and finish at 12-under 272, two strokes ahead of Americans Aaron Wise (68) and Nick Watney (69) at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.

Day rated the victory one of the best of his career, not because of the quality of his play but more due to his ability to get the job done without his best game.

“I was fighting demons out there because when you’re not hitting it good, it just feels like the life is getting sucked out of you,” he said.

“I had no idea where the ball was going today. I had no confidence in my ability to hit proper tee shots. I was just trying to keep it inside the tree line.

“My short game stood the test, which is nice.

“This is probably one of the best wins I’ve ever had, just because of how hard everything was today.”

It is only two years since Day dominated the game, but he lost his way a bit last year.

A win at Torrey Pines in January showed that he was back in business, and his Quail Hollow victory is projected to elevate him to seventh in the world rankings.

“I got burnt out being number one,” said the 30-year-old.

“You’ve got to give a lot of time to a lot of people and sometimes you don’t get a lot of time to yourself.

“Last year was a good kick in the butt, not playing great and then seeing a lot of the other guys succeed.

“So I really kind of re-dedicated myself to getting back to number one.

“This is a good kick in the right direction having two wins this kind of early in the season. My next step is to try to win a major this year.”

SOURCE: REUTERS

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How do you become world-class at something? Do you find yourself building a career as a soloist? Have you faced adversity and don’t know how to move past it? Struggle to find time to improve your physical or mental fitness? Want to know the role of love in your career?

If you’re curious about or relate to any of these ideas, come along with me as we talk to golf legend Gary Player, aka “The Black Knight”.

Admittedly, I’m not a golf fan, but I am a fan of hard work, dedication, mastery, and the unexpected lessons we can translate from one arena to another.

So, I sat down with Gary Player to see what we can learn from his success.

Golf is an inherently individual sport. What’s your advice for anyone in a career where their success weighs heavily on their independent performance?

Success begins with what’s inside a person. How badly do they want it? How hard are they prepared to work? Golf is no doubt a very lonely game. And the same can be said for a number of other sports, as well as business. In the end, you can’t rely on others too much. Sure, you may need help along the way, whether it’s advice or encouragement. But in the end, success falls mostly on the individual.

Of course, there will be “naysayers” who try to put you down. Really, it’s up to the individual to rise above and overcome any adversity that stands between him and success.

Please share about one professional relationship you’ve had where the outcomes of your efforts together were multiplied exponentially beyond your ability to do so alone. What did you learn from that?

My first manager, and the man who basically invented sports management through IMG – Mark McCormack – was instrumental to my success on and off the golf course. He was a visionary, who saw that sports figures should be able to capitalize on their persona through endorsements and being a spokesperson for companies and other brands.

All of our talent is on loan. I’ve seen so many golfers over the years who woke up one day and could not even make a cut anymore. So, Mark taught me how important it is to capitalize on your success in the moment. Don’t wait around for tomorrow. Get your deal done. And here I am in my 83rd year, still representing global companies like Rolex, SAP and Berenber, and building my own brand along the way.

You’ve talked about how success is 10% preparation and 90% mental fortitude. How does one defeat her own insecurities and increase his or her mental fitness?

For me, it was overcoming adversity at an early age. My mother died of cancer when I was young. At the same time, my brother went to war, my sister was at boarding school, and I seldom saw my father as he was working his tail off 8000 feet underground in the gold mines.

But that made me stronger. I taught myself to be independent. I worked hard on my golf game, but even harder on my mind. I remember being in my hotel room, looking in the mirror, slapping myself and repeatedly saying ‘You are a champion!’, ‘Have guts!’, ‘Prove yourself!’, ‘Be patient!’

Known as “The World’s Most Traveled Athlete” ™. To date, Gary Player has traveled more than 28 million air kilometers around the world during his 65-year career.

You went through a tragedy early on in your life, around age 8. How did that propel you forward, and what can others learn from this when they face adversity?

The world does not owe anyone anything. It’s how you respond to life which determines your successes. After my mother died from cancer, and there was no one to really look after me, I could have – probably should have – gone down a dark path.

I remember my mother lying on that hospital bed. She got a call from a friend (who knew she was sick) and she asked how my mother was feeling. To my surprise, she said ‘I feel fantastic!’ When she hung up the phone, I just looked at her in disbelief. But the words she said next ring in my head every day. She said, ‘Gary, don’t put your problems on somebody else; they have enough of their own.’

Face adversity head-on with tenacity, determination and grit. You will be a better person for it.

Fitness is something for which you’re equally as famous as you are for golf, and you credit it for much of your longevity and success. Any tips for those of us who struggle to integrate this into our lives?

One hour exercising is only 4 percent of the day. That’s my mentality. A person who exercises has more energy. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, buy yourself a treadmill. If you can’t afford a treadmill, walk around your neighborhood.

There are so many ways to be active. It helps your body and mind in so many ways we don’t even completely understand. We are at our infancy in understanding how fitness and diet can help your longevity. You need to sleep well. Meditate. Be grateful. Smile. Spend time with family and friends. Get outside and into nature. Help others.

I hope my life, and how I have approached fitness and diet, can be a case study for future generations.

Love isn’t a word often used when someone is mapping out his or her career. However, you’ve shared that you believe it’s the most important element for a life and career well-lived. Care to elaborate?

Love is the most important word in any language. If you have love in your heart, you will be fulfilled no matter what.

What advice would you give your 8-year-old self?

The exact same advice my brother gave to me before he left to fight in WWII – work hard, exercise every day, eat healthy, love unconditionally. Those words have served me well.

For anyone who aspires to achieve something great, what advice can you share?

Under no circumstances will this come easily, but you have to believe in yourself first. Visualize your goals. Remain positive. Be happy. Be enthusiastic. And never, never give up, no matter what the circumstances.

SOURCE:  FORBES.COM

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Never one to back down from a fight, Patrick Reed sure had one on his hands Sunday in the final round of the 82nd Masters.

The hero of the 2016 Ryder Cup took some mighty blows from Augusta National Golf Club but never went down – he is Captain America, after all – and now has a green jacket to drape over his red, white and blue cape.

Armed with a three-shot lead after 54 holes, Reed, the fiery, confrontational raging bull, channeled his emotions, held his nerve and called upon his considerable golf skills to withstand a host of the game’s best players on a tense, wild Masters Sunday that had the staff handling the famous white scoreboards working overtime.

“To win your first major is never going to be easy,” said Reed, who had never broken 70 in his previous four starts in the Masters. “It definitely wasn’t easy today. I knew it was going to be a dogfight.

“It’s just God basically saying, ‘Let’s see if you have it.’ Everyone knows you have it physically with the talent, but do you have it mentally? Can you handle the ups and downs throughout the round?”

He did just that with a final-round 1-under-par 71, holding off challenges from Rickie Fowler, Ryder Cup rival Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup partner Jordan Spieth to win his first major title in 17 attempts. With a huge birdie from eight feet on the 14th and gut-check pars on 13, 15, 17 and 18 – the last a four-foot par save to conclude matters – Reed finished with rounds of 69-66-67-71 to end at 15-under 273.

 “I stuck to my game plan all week,” Reed said. “Even today, I didn’t stray from it at all. It’s something that I needed to learn, especially at a place like this, how important it is to stick to what I believe.”

Reed wound up one clear of Fowler, who shot 65-67 on the weekend but came up short in his bid to win his first major, while Spieth, who delivered the biggest charge with a 64 that included a last-hole bogey, wound up two back.

“Patrick, he’s not scared,” said Fowler, who since 2013 has eight top-10s in majors, the most without a victory. “He’s not scared on the golf course. He’ll play aggressive. He’ll play his game. He won’t back down.

“Gave it our all, left it all out there. Made P. Reed earn it.”

Jon Rahm shot 69 to finish four back. McIlroy, trying to complete the career Grand Slam, added to his star-crossed Masters history with a final-round 74 and tied for fifth.

Reed got off to a shaky start with an opening bogey but settled down when he canned a 15-footer for birdie on the third hole – “I needed that,” he said – and added another red number at the seventh when he stuffed his second shot from 133 yards to a foot for another birdie.

By this time, the battle was joined by a few players, including Spieth, who kept pecking away at his deficit with one birdie after another. The 2015 Masters champ made seven birdies in his first 13 holes and finally caught Reed with the last of his nine on the 16th hole.

“I’m kind of glad he ran out of holes,” Reed said.

Reed, however, never lost at least a share of the lead and made birdie on the 12th from 22 feet – his first birdie on the devilish par-3 hole.

Then fortune shined on him when his approach to the par-5 13th from 186 yards stayed on the bank fronting the green instead of rolling into Rae’s Creek and Reed made par.

He regained the lead with a birdie on the 14th from eight feet and then two-putted from 75 feet on the 17th for par and two-putted from 25 feet on the 18th to win the green jacket, his sixth PGA Tour title and $1.98 million.

“Everybody really likes battling Patrick, because he loves it so much and eats it up,” said Spieth, who has a win, two seconds and a third in five Masters starts.

“My only wish or regret from the week was that I was playing with him at some point on the weekend. But he’s a member of the Masters club now, he’ll have a green jacket forever. His name is etched in history.”

SOURCE:  usatoday.com