Charles Howell III off to British Open
Charles Howell III needs a passport to pack with his putter.
He’s off to Royal St. George’s and a spot in the British Open
because of his third-place finish Sunday in the AT&T National.
Howell locked up a spot because he had the highest finish from
among the top five of those golfers not already qualified for the
He shot a 4-under 66 and was part of a three-way tie for third,
four strokes back of winner Nick Watney.
Howell knew playing in a major tournament for the first time
this season was on the line and tried not to let the pressure take
the focus off playing well at Aronimink Golf Club.
”I thought about it. It was in the back of my head,” he said.
”But that doesn’t mean anything. It definitely doesn’t help you
play better, I know that much.”
Howell clinched a spot not far from his childhood home. His
father had his residency at the children’s hospital of Philadelphia
and Howell lived in Ardmore until he was 3.
”Obviously, I’m thrilled,” he said. ”But the more important
thing was today.”
Howell was strong throughout and quickly separated himself from
a field of other British Open hopefuls that included Webb Simpson
and Steve Marino.
He made his move on a bogey-free front nine, with birdies on the
first, sixth and ninth holes.
”I just kept trying to push ahead,” Howell said. ”It almost
made it a little bit easier to just forget about it on the closing
Howell was one of three players to post four rounds in the 60s
this week and has made the cut in 15 of 19 starts this year.
RICKIE, LOSE THAT NUMBER: Rickie Fowler started the day as the
leader at Aronimink and ended it wondering how it all went
The 22-year-old Fowler, dressed in Sunkist orange, had a
miserable Sunday with a 4-over 74 and finished tied for 13th. He
remains winless in 47 starts as a pro.
Fowler shared the lead with eventual winner Nick Watney, but was
nine shots behind when it was over. His bad day hit fast with a
double-bogey on the par-four second hole and he bogeyed the fourth.
Fowler could never recover.
”I couldn’t get anything going today,” Fowler said. ”I felt
like I was hitting some good putts out there, burning the edges,
but nothing would fall.”
Fowler said Aronimink was set up tougher on Sunday a day after
the course record seemed to fall every other round. Fowler was
paired with Watney and runner-up K.J Choi and said he learned from
them how to play with a victory within reach on the final day of a
”It’s great to be in that position,” Fowler said. ”It’s good
to see what other guys do in the same situation and how they handle
HOLE-IN-ONE: Robert Allenby had the shot of the day when he
nailed a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th hole.
Allenby, who finished tied for sixth, knew his shot was in from
the moment he connected with his 6-iron.
”It was just on-line perfect all the way,” he said. ”It
landed perfect, just rolled up and then disappeared.” Allenby said
it was his 15th ace as a pro and his second one in Pennsylvania. He
did it a decade ago when the tour stopped here. He played with J.J.
Henry when he sank the hole-in-one then, and they were in the same
”He’s a good omen,” Allenby said. ”He just said, ‘You’ve done
it with me again in the group.’ It’s nice.”
Allenby hit it 194 yards. It was the fourth ace at the AT&T
”I guess I’m aiming for it,” he said, laughing. ”You’ve got
to get a couple.”
He shot a 5-under 65 when the scores came back to Earth after
low 60s were the norm for the leaders on Saturday. He was 8-under
for the tournament.
”They shouldn’t have softened up the greens the way they did
(Saturday), otherwise 8-under probably would have won this
tournament,” he said.
TIGER SHOW: Tiger Woods made a cameo appearance at the AT&T
National and caused a stir when he stopped to sign some
Fans rushed the rail as security implored them to move back and
stop crushing a row of kids. The crowd eased back and Woods signed
autographs for several minutes.
Woods, who sat out with injuries, was all smiles in a
purple-and-white striped polo and jeans. When one small fan said,
”It’s nice to meet you in person,” Woods looked up with a smile
and said thanks.
Woods met the winners of a contest in which fans hunted the
course for a winning hidden ticket that also got them a copy of his
video game, other prizes, and pictures with him. He took several
pictures with the family on the putting green.
He did not talk to reporters except for one TV interview.
CANTLAY CAN’T MISS: Patrick Cantlay, a sophomore-to-be at UCLA,
ended his memorable month in the big leagues with a 67 on Sunday to
tie for 20th at the AT&T National.
Cantlay, who won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation’s top
Division I golfer, qualified for the U.S. Open, then tied for 21st
at Congressional and was low amateur. A week later, he set a course
record at the TPC River Highlands with 10-under 60 in the second
round, the lowest score ever by an amateur. He ended up in a tie
Cantlay became the first amateur since Ricky Barnes in 2003 to
make three cuts in one season.
CHIP SHOTS: Adam Scott, who was tied for third, had his third
top-10 and first since he was the runner-up at the Masters. …
Justin Rose was tied for 15th for the second-best finish ever by a
defending AT&T champion. … Coming off consecutive missed
cuts, rookie Chris Kirk was tied for eighth.
Follow Dan Gelston at http://twitter.com/APgelston