Date: August 03, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Funk fires, Norman fourth

Fred Funk blew away Greg Norman and the rest of the field at Crooked Stick to win the US Senior Open in Carmel, Indiana. Funk, who won his first seniors major last year when he took the Jeld-Wen Tradition title, had come close to a second last week at Sunningdale when he lost a play-off to fellow American Loren Roberts and missed out on the Senior British Open. Nothing was going to stop Funk winning his first United States Golf Association national championship, though. Having started the day with a one-stroke lead over Australian Norman and American Joey Sindelar, the 53-year-old shot a bogey-free seven-under-par 65, a birdie at the final hole taking him to 20-under for the tournament and victory by six shots. Sindelar was second at 14-under following a 70, with American Ross Cochran third at 12-under. Norman returned a one-over 73 to share fourth place at 11-under with Roberts, who closed with the low round of the day, a 64. Funk said: “I didn&apost really dream of being able to come these last finishing holes with a nice little walk but I just kept playing with caution, make a couple of pars and keep my round going and I just kept making birdies.” “When I got in trouble I got out of trouble and it turned out to be a great day for me.” Asked to rank this victory alongside last year&aposs senior major and his 2005 win at The Players Championship on the PGA Tour, Funk said: “It probably ties for first.” “I&aposm going to put the Players right there with it. This might be a notch higher because it is a national championship.” “The only reason I put the Players that close is because of the strength of the field and it&aposs my new hometown and living there is pretty cool and the history of that.” “But this is big. Plus it was a qualifier for Pebble Beach next year (the 2010 US Open), so it&aposs nice to know that I&aposm in that now.” “If it was Bethpage (this year&aposs US Open venue), I would probably not go,” he joked. “I would just say &aposno thank you&apos.” Norman, playing with Funk, never got his final round going, a double bogey at the par-three sixth and bogey at the par-four seventh putting paid to his prospects early, followed by four birdies and another bogey. “Freddy played great today, and I played poor,” Norman said. “He really deserved to win. He really played well.” “I don&apost really want to review my round, no. Just wasn&apost good. The middle patch wasn&apost good.” “Nothing was going my way. I was out of energy and the momentum – not physically out of energy, but the momentum wasn&apost on my side and things weren&apost happening for me.” “No matter what I did, always seemed like it was the wrong thing instead of the right thing, and I just couldn&apost turn the corner on it, you know, that was it.” “Freddy kept making birdies and that was the end of that.” Defending champion Eduardo Romero of Argentina posted a 72 to finish in a tie for 19th at three-under while Germany&aposs Bernhard Langer (69) and Ian Woosnam of Wales each took a share of 22nd place at two-under. Open Championship runner-up Tom Watson finished at two-over-par.