Champions Tour rookie Steve Elkington, like many Australians, sweated out Adam Scott's win.
(Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By Mark Williams, Champions Tour staff
Champions Tour rookie Steve Elkington broke out one Australian icon to celebrate another following Adam Scott’s playoff victory over Argentina's Angel Cabrera at the Masters Tournament. Scott became the first Australian to win at Augusta National, which will surely elevate him to iconic status in his native land. After all, it’s not often the conclusion of a sporting event stops an entire nation, including its leader, Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
“I opened a bottle of 1986 Grange Hermitage, one of the best bottles of all time,” said Elkington, himself a major champion at the 1995 PGA Championship. “I’d been saving it up for a special occasion.”
Asked if he shared it with anyone, Elkington said, “No. Just me, with a big steak. It’s a big shiraz red, one of the most famous bottles from Australia. Very sought after. It would be one of the great wines of the world.”
However, the result was in doubt until the playoff ended and it had Elkington on the edge of his seat before he could open the wine and savor it.
“Cabrera’s shot on 18, that to me was one of the greatest shots I’ve ever seen, and all of a sudden it looked like we (Australian’s) might not have the Masters,” Elkington said. “That drama, and Jim Nantz making it clear on the CBS coverage how strongly Australian’s thought about the elusive victory at Augusta National, and Adam referring to Greg (Norman) as a pioneer – it was all great.”
“I’ve known Adam for a long time and I didn’t think he would be able to come back from last year to be honest,” added Elkington, referring to Scott’s meltdown over the final four holes to lose the 2012 British Open to Ernie Els. “They say the average age of major winner is 32. Adam is 32. I was 32 when I won my major.”
According to Elkington the final piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle is now complete.
“An Australian hadn’t won the Masters, it was the only major missing for us, but Adam’s win almost completes a bigger ‘Slam.' Australians have won almost every event on almost every Tour – the World Cup, World Amateur Championship, the LPGA majors. It’s an incredible achievement for a small country.”
Elkington called his parents who live on the Gold Coast in Australia, not far from where Scott hails, to celebrate over the phone, but his Dad had already headed down to the local golf club to celebrate with friends, something most of Australia’s 22 million inhabitants likely did as well.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Steve Elkington has withdrawn from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, pulling out after five holes with a rib injury.
The 49-year-old was 4 over with a double bogey and two bogeys on the back nine at Spyglass Hill when he pulled out. Elkington was replaced in the field by Tehama head pro Rick Leibovich.
Elkington shot a 1-over 73 in the opening round at Pebble Beach.
This was Elkington’s second start of the season, and his second withdrawal. He also withdrew after two rounds of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, where he was 3 under after rounds of 69 and 72.
The leaders have yet to tee off at the Reno-Tahoe Open, but they are already facing pressure to go low in the final round.
Troy Matteson had made five birdies in his first 11 holes to get to 10 under, three off the lead held by Scott Piercy.
Canadian Matt McQuillan has also made a much needed final-round move. He’s 4 under through nine holes, and sits at 9 under. McQuillan entered the week 148th in the FedExCup standings, putting him on the Playoffs bubble.
The winner of the Reno-Tahoe Open will earn a spot at next week’s PGA Championship if already not qualified for the event. The only player near the top of the leaderboard that is in the field next week is Steve Elkington, who won the PGA Championship in 1995.
Elkington is tied for third at 10 under, and leads the five major champions that made the cut in Reno this week (Todd Hamilton – 7 under, Justin Leonard – 6 under, Shaun Micheel – 4 under, Jose Maria Olazabal – 1 over).
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- With heavy rain now soaking the course -- and thunder and lightning in the area -- it will likely be a while before play resumes. Six players, however, were fortunate enough to finish their rounds before the horn sounded.
Your leader in the clubhouse at the moment? Kris Blanks, who carded a 2-under 68 that included an eagle on the par-4 15th, which is also this week’s Kodak Challenge hole. Blanks drove his ball short of the green on the 275-yard hole, then chipped in for the eagle from just inside 54 feet.
Ben Curtis, meanwhile, is one back after a 69. Curtis has a history of playing well here with four career top-15s in the event, including a pair of top-5s.
Others already done for the day are: Graham DeLaet (70), Scott Stallings (71), Steve Elkington (71) and Paul Goydos (72).
Steve Elkington pledged $1,000 per birdie this week to help those devastated by the Australia flood. He also established www.birdiesforqueensland.com to raise even more awareness.
As for Elkington’s birdie count, the Aussie made 24 of them to finish at 17 under for the week.
Play is under way again at TPC River Highlands, where Steve Elkington was in the midst of a birdie barrage when the horn sounded earlier. The Australian has four birdies over his last six holes and is 4 under through seven.
Conditions are still perfect for scoring with the wind mostly down and the greens even softer after an afternoon shower. So far, Elkington hasn’t missed a green in regulation. He’s also missed just one fairway and taken only 10 putts. -- Brian Wacker
The second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational is complete with Bryce Molder leading after shooting a career-low 62 on Friday. He’s one stroke ahead of Jason Bohn and two up on Brian Davis and Kris Blanks.
Molder has held the 36-hole lead twice already this year, eventually finishing tied for 10th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and tied for eighth at the Shell Houston Open. The former Georgia Tech All-American is bidding for his first TOUR win and trying to become the sixth player to win at Colonial in his debut.
Molder isn’t the only one seeking that breakthrough win. Four of the top six players on the leaderboard and five of the top 10 are hoping to make the Crowne Plaza Invitational their first TOUR victory.
A total of 76 pros survived the cut which came at 2 under and was the lowest in the tournament’s 63-year history. Among the notables who won’t be playing the weekend are Masters champion Phil Mickelson and reigning PGA champ Y.E. Yang, as well as former major champs Davis Love III, Justin Leonard, Trevor Immelman, David Duval and Steve Elkington.
Nearly one-third of the top 25 on the leaderboard right now is Australian. One of those Aussies is Steve Elkington, who was tied for the lead until a bogey on No. 9. Still, it’s been an O.K. day for the 47-year-old, who had a hole out for eagle from the bunker on No.7. Check out the video below. -- Brian Wacker
Steve Elkington holes out from the bunker for an eagle on the par-5 seventh.
It's been more than a year since Steve Elkington posted the kind of consecutive low scores that he produced in the first two rounds this week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Having just completed his second straight 66 on Friday, Elkington has a 36-hole total of 8 under, which will put him in contention heading into the weekend at TPC Las Colinas Resort.
"I've won a lot of tournaments in my day, and it's been a while since I've been up here," Elkington said. "But I've had some highlights here and there, I've had some good stretches of golf this year already in places. I just haven't finished it out. I'm looking forward to it.
Not since Elkington shot 65-64 to start The 50th Bob Hope Classic hosted by Arnold Palmer in 2009 has he put together those kinds of low scores on back-to-back rounds.
He started off strong in his second round, with four birdies in his first five holes. He hit three approach shots and one tee shot at the par-3 13th inside 13 feet to set up his birdie putts.
"I just hit a lot of great shots there," he said. "... Everything was working for me there."
He stumbled on his second nine -- the front nine after he started his round on the 10th tee -- with two consecutive bogeys, but bounced back with a couple of birdies.
"Pair of 66s -- that's good golf here," Elkington said.
To replay Elkington's round on Shot Tracker, click here. -- Mike McAllister