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GOLF ROUNDUP: Couples wins Senior British Open; Piercy captures PGA Canadian title

Fred Couples walks off the 18th green after sinking a birdie putt to win the Senior British Open on Sunday.

Fred Couples walks off the 18th green after sinking a birdie putt to win the Senior British Open on Sunday.

TURNBERRY, Scotland — Fred Couples won the Senior British Open by two strokes over Gary Hallberg on Sunday after holing a 25-foot putt to finish with consecutive birdies.

The 1992 Masters champion shot a 3-under 67 in the final round to finish at 9-under 271 on the Ailsa course and win his first tournament in Britain. Hallberg shot a 66, equaling the best round of the day with American Mark Calcavecchia and Carl Mason.

English pair Barry Lane (69) and Mason and American Dick Mast (67) had a share of third at 4 under. Overnight leader Bernhard Langer dropped five shots in five holes on the way home to shoot a 75 and slip into a tie for sixth.

"I've never won an Open Championship, so this is the next best thing. And I believe I now get into the (British) Open at Muirfield next year, which is great," Couples said. "It was a fun day out there. Bernhard and I were neck and neck for a long time. Then I saw Gary had birdied the 17th to draw level, so I knew I needed to birdie 17. I hit a couple of great shots down 17 and two-putted for birdie, then the hole got in the way for my birdie putt at 18.

"It's my biggest senior tour win by far on a truly great golf course. I can now say I won the Senior British Open at Turnberry in really challenging weather."

Couples was locked in a struggle with Langer until the German double bogeyed No. 12 and the American birdied for a three-shot swing. Langer then bogeyed three holes in a row from No. 14 to slip out of contention.

Hallberg posted the best round of the tournament with a 63 on Friday before following that up with a 73 on Saturday. On Sunday, he made six birdies and didn't drop a shot. Calcavecchia had four birdies and no bogeys, while Mason had three birdies, an eagle and just one bogey.

Tom Watson closed with a 69, his third sub-par round of the tournament to share 10th place at 1-under 279.

"I played with Carl Mason and he played a wonderful round of golf. I played well and I love being back at Turnberry," Watson said. "It has had a lot of significance for me in my career."

Watson beat Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open at Turnberry in what is known as the "Duel in the Sun." He also beat Mason in a 2010 playoff at Turnberry to win the first of his three Senior British Open titles.


Piercy wins the Canadian Open

ANCASTER, Ontario — The "boring golf" Scott Piercy had to play in the Canadian Open left him so excited when he won that he couldn't describe his feelings.

Instead of smashing his driver and firing at flags, Piercy felt he had to play for position on the classic design at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. It's not his favorite brand of golf, though he could not have been more thrilled Sunday when he closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-shot victory.

Perhaps it was only fitting that he ultimately won with a two-putt par from 50 feet below the hole.

With four straight birdies early in the final round to get into the mix, it was a simple par on the 18th hole that allowed Piercy to tie the oldest 72-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour and outlast William McGirt and Robert Garrigus.

"I've been playing good for a while now, and you just need a couple of good breaks here or there," Piercy said. "I felt like I got a couple of good breaks and continued to play solid, and I'm kind of speechless. I'm really excited to be the champion."

McGirt was atop the leaderboard from the third hole, where he rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt. He looked poised playing in the final group the final two days — his first time in serious contention on tour — until two late bogeys cost him a chance to win, and likely a shot at playing in his first major in two weeks at the PGA Championship.

With a one-shot lead on the 15th hole, McGirt hammered a 45-foot birdie putt some 15 feet by the cup, and made bogey with his first three-putt of the week. Tied for the lead on the 18th, he hit his approach into a deep bunker right of the green, blasted out to 18 feet and missed the par putt to force a playoff.

"I was just trying to make pars and get into the house," said McGirt, who closed with a 69 for his seventh straight round in the 60s.

Garrigus felt even worse.

He had a one-shot lead going into the final round, but he missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the third hole, and it never got much better. Garrigus missed six putts inside 8 feet, the last one for par on the 16th hole that cost him a share of the lead. He missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 70.

"I should have won this tournament by seven shots. Everybody knows that," Garrigus said. "If I could have just made a putt today."

Self-deprecating as ever, Garrigus referred to the final hole as a "good effort on 18 with my two shots and then lagged it up there for a nice, second-place finish."

Piercy raised eyebrows among so many proud Canadians when he referred to Hamilton — considered among the best in the Canadian Open rotation — as "boring golf" because it kept him from taking advantage of his power.

Reminded of that comment, with the silver trophy from golf's third-oldest championship at his side, he smiled.

"That was taken a little out of context," he said. "I like to hit driver a lot, and this golf course I felt took the driver out of my hands. I did say, however, that at the end of the week if the score is good, it is exciting. So I'm pretty excited."

The win was timely in so many ways.

Piercy was headed to the Reno-Tahoe Open next week to defend his first tour title. Now, he is headed to Firestone to play in the $8 million Bridgestone Invitational, his debut in a World Golf Championship. He'll start his season in Kapalua again, and then make plans in April for his first trip down Magnolia Lane for the Masters.

"I've always told myself I'm not going unless I'm in the tournament," Piercy said.

Piercy won while sitting in the clubhouse. Right when it looked like he had lost hope with a bogey on the 14th, he chipped in for birdie on the next hole and hung on for pars. He finished on 17-under 263 to tie the tournament record set by Johnny Palmer in 1952 at St. Charles in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Piercy was preparing for a playoff as Garrigus lined up his putt. He heard the news on the radio before the TV signal showed Garrigus missing.

"Having to birdie the last hole to get in the playoff ... that's all I can ask," Garrigus said. "I just left it a bit short, and I'm sure I'll be thinking about that one."

Piercy ran off four straight birdies starting on the second hole, a streak that concluded with consecutive two-putt birdies. He reached the par-5 fourth hole in two, and then drove the 296-yard fifth hole.

In what amounted to a three-man race on a warm, sunny day at Hamilton, Piercy looked as if he took himself out of the hunt when he ran into trouble off the tee at the 14th, had to play out of the trees and make a 6-foot putt to escape with bogey. But he answered that bogey by chipping in for birdie on the 15th, and then hung on for pars.

McGirt took the outright lead by using a hybrid to chip from behind the ninth green, the ball rolling into the cup for an unlikely birdie. McGirt was steady from there until his three-putt on the 15th, and the approach on the final hole.

The small consolation for McGirt is that he won't have to return to Q-school. His tie for second secures his card for next year, and he is all but assured getting into at least two of the FedEx Cup playoff events.

"I would have loved to have won the golf tournament," McGirt said. "But I played very well all week."

Garrigus might have wanted to break that long putter, which cost him dearly. He missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the third hole, and that summed up his round. He missed from 7 feet for birdie on the fourth and the eighth holes, and then missed from 8 feet on the ninth and badly missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the 238-yard 13th after one of his best tee shots of the final round.

But he hung around, and when a 25-foot birdie putt finally fell on the 14th, he mockingly pumped his fist to celebrate. That left him one shot out of the lead, but he gave it back with another miss on his par putt at the 16th.


LPGA TOUR --- EVIAN MASTERS:

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) — South Korea's Inbee Park won the Evian Masters, closing with a 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over third-round leader Stacy Lewis and Karrie Webb.

Park, also the 2008 U.S. Women's Open winner, had a 17-under 271 total.

Webb shot a 68, and Lewis finished with a 68.

China's Shanshan Feng eagled the 18th for a 66 to tie for fourth at 14 under with 17-year-old South Korean amateur Hyo Joo Kim (68) and Natalie Gulbis (68).

WEB.COM TOUR ---- NATIONWIDE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL INVITATIONAL:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ben Kohles won the Web.com Tour's Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in his first professional start, beating Luke Guthrie with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

Kohles closed with a 1-under 70 to match Guthrie at 12-under 272 on Ohio State's Scarlet Course. Guthrie birdied three of the final five holes in regulation for a 66.

One of 12 college All-Americans invited to the event, Kohles turned pro after finishing his amateur career last week in the Porter Cup. The 22-year-old former University of Virginia player earned $144,000.