Different Strokes: On yer bike Alex - Cejka joins the Major winners on third seniors start

Mehaffey to turn pro . . . Rory’s hot putter . . . On this Day . . . In the Bag . . . Know the Rules

Germany’s Alex Cejka from Germany is presented with the winner’s trophy and Regions Bank bike as the winner of the Regions Tradition at Greystone Country Club  in Birmingham, Alabama. Photograph:  Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Germany’s Alex Cejka from Germany is presented with the winner’s trophy and Regions Bank bike as the winner of the Regions Tradition at Greystone Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Photograph: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

 

At the start of the week, Alex Cejka wasn’t even in the field for the Regions Tradition Championship – the first Major of the year on the PGA Tour Champions – but, by the end, he was the last man standing with a brand new green bike (a long-time symbol of the bank’s marketing campaign) and a trophy modelled on the Claret Jug to go with the $375,000 (€308,000) cheque .

In what was just his third start on the over-50s circuit, Cejka – who only got into the field as a reserve following Jay Haas’s withdrawal – beat off serial winner Steve Stricker in a sudden-death playoff to lay claim to the title.

“I think it’s everybody’s dream to win trophies and I did it on this tour . . . everybody grinds for so many years and it’s just incredible [to win]. I have no words,” said Cejka who got the bonus of a two-year exemption onto the Champions circuit.

Darren Clarke, who had led after the first round, slipped to eventually finish in tied-8th position.

Olivia Mehaffey, seen here in action during the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, will turn professional later this month. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty Images
Olivia Mehaffey, seen here in action during the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, will turn professional later this month. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty Images

Mehaffey to make jump to paid ranks later this month

Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire were the pioneering footsteps in Irish women breaking onto the professional circuits stateside and now Olivia Mehaffey – completing her master’s degree at Arizona State University – is set to follow.

The 23-year-old Co Down golfer has decided not to wait around for the rescheduled Curtis Cup match in August and instead will start out on her professional path at the Mission Inn Championship in Orlando on May 28th-30th, the week after she finishes her collegiate career with ASU at the NCAA Division One championships in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“I am so grateful for all the amazing experiences I have been fortunate to have in my amateur career. Without the support from Golf Ireland, ASU and my family, none of it would have been possible . . . I am happy to have accomplished many things. I now feel ready to take the next step in y career and I have been looking forward to this day since I was a young girl,” said Mehaffey, who will is hoping to avail of sponsors’ invitations on the Symetra Tour and the LET this season with the plan to go to the LPGA Q-School later in the year.

Word of Mouth

“I’m certainly glad that the crowds were back and I’m glad that I was able to get the job done in an atmosphere like that. And I’m excited going forward now that we get to play in front of crowds like that. It was just an awesome experience to feel that again over the weekend.” – Rory McIlroy on feeling the energy of the crowds, following his win in the Wells Fargo Championship.

Rory McIlroy was 51 out of 51 for putts inside six feet at the Wells Fargo Championship. Photograph: Jared C Tilton/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy was 51 out of 51 for putts inside six feet at the Wells Fargo Championship. Photograph: Jared C Tilton/Getty Images

By the Numbers: 51/51

Rory McIlroy’s new TaylorMade Spider X Hydro Blast putter worked like a dream for the Northern Irishman in his win at Quail Hollow: through the four rounds, McIlroy was 51 for 51 on putts from inside six feet.

England’s Paul Casey celebrates his victory at the 2003 Benson and Hedges International Open at the Belfry. Photograph: Stephen Munday/Getty Images
England’s Paul Casey celebrates his victory at the 2003 Benson and Hedges International Open at the Belfry. Photograph: Stephen Munday/Getty Images

On this day: May 11th, 2003

In what was the last ever staging of the Benson and Hedges International, the title sponsorship a casualty of tougher restrictions on tobacco-related promotions, Paul Casey outdueled Pádraig Harrington in the final round of the tournament at The Belfry to claim his third career win on the PGA European Tour.

Casey and Harrington had started the final round tied for the lead, but the Englishman’s 71 to the Irishman’s 75 led to a four-stroke winning margin. Casey, who made his professional debut in the tournament two years previously, had the benefit of preparing in ideal conditions in Arizona before making the trip home in finishing with a winning total of 11-under-par 277:

“The big thing was playing a lot in Scottsdale before I came back to Europe. I played almost every day for several weeks. I always felt I had the game to win on courses like this.”

Twitter Twaddle

Rory was talking to me on Wednesday about how he was getting some grey hair. I can’t imagine that last hole helped slow that process much #golf – No grey lines with Max Homa.

What a great Sunday of golf! Hearfelt congrats go out to two friends – @McIlroyRory and Nathaniel Crosby! Rory, it’s nice to have you back in the winner’s circle, after your stellar play at the @WellsFargoGolf on the @PGATour! To Nathaniel and his US Team, well done on your @WalkerCup victory at Seminole! Both the US and GB&I squads overcame so much, and provided terrific golf played in the right spirit. True honor to spend time with both teams. Game is in good hands with these young men! – Jack Nicklaus making a double-tip of his cap.

My congratulations @McIlroyRory on your great win on such an auspicious day, and every good wish for the future, with many more successes – none other than President Michael D Higgins passes on his congratulations.

In the Bag

Rory McIlroy (Wells Fargo Championship)

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 (9 degrees)

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees)

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM (19 degrees)

Irons: TaylorMade Rors prototype (3-9), TaylorMade Milled Grind (PW)

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind 2 TW (56 and 60 degrees)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Hydro Blast

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Know the Rules

Q

On reaching his ball after a tee shot, Player A finds that it is close to a fence that is situated out of bounds which leans on to the course. The player pushes the fence back into an upright position so that it no longer interferes with her swing. Is she entitled to do so?

A

This action breaches Rule 8.1a which prohibits a player from improving conditions affecting the stroke by moving immovable obstruction and the player gets the general penalty unless she restores the conditions by returning the fence to its original position before the next stroke as permitted by Rule 8.1c (Avoiding penalty by restoring improved conditions).

In such a situation, although Rule 81.a prohibits moving, bending or breaking the immovable obstruction, the player has the option to take free relief from interference by the part of the immovable obstruction that is leaning onto the course under Rule 16.1b (relief from abnormal course conditions).

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