It won’t go down as the most gracious of wins, but Sean O’Hair’s first victory in two years wasn’t any less deserved or emotional on a difficult day of scoring at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club.
Perhaps it was appropriate O’Hair beat Kris Blanks with a bogey on the first hole of sudden death. The lead, after all, went backwards a stroke after Bo Van Pelt began the final round at 5 under and O’Hair and Blanks ended it tied at 4 under.
It wasn’t pretty with both O’Hair and Blanks both finding the rough off the tee and both coming up short of the 18th green in the playoff, and neither played very good third shots, either. But O’Hair managed to save bogey with a two-putt, while Blanks, whose chip from the fringe scooted a good 5 feet past the hole, wasn’t able to save his.
With the win, O’Hair not only gets his first victory since 2009, he earns 500 FedExCup points to move to 43rd. Blanks, meanwhile, moved up to 54th.
Kris Blanks is looking for his first career victory, while Sean O’Hair is looking for his first win. Here’s a play-by-play of their playoff:
18th hole: Neither Blanks or O’Hair found the fairway off the tee. As a result, neither one of them was able to hit the green on their second shots, either. On O’Hair’s third, he came up woefully short of the hole on his pitch shot. Meanwhile, Blanks sent his bunker shot sailing past the hole and off the green onto the fringe. O’Hair two-putted for bogey, but Blanks wasn’t able to get up-and-down and made double bogey to give O’Hair the win.
On another day of tough scoring, the lead went backwards a stroke with Kris Blanks and Sean O’Hair each finishing at 4 under. The two will now head to the 18th hole for a sudden-death playoff.
Blanks is trying to win for the first time in his career, while O’Hair is looking for his first victory since 2009. Neither has played in a playoff before.
Andres Romero had a chance to join the playoff, but he bogeyed the 18th hole after missing the fairway and then hitting it into a greenside bunker.
It’s been two years since Sean O’Hair won, and it’s been nearly that long since he’s played well -- at least on a consistent basis.
O’Hair is starting to change that, however. He had a couple of top-20 finishes in May and through 14 holes at the RBC Canadian Open is 4 under and in the lead by himself.
Earlier this year O’Hair and longtime swing coach Sean Foley parted ways. The two remains close friends, but the “change” O’Hair needed, as he called it, seemed to spark some good golf at THE PLAYERS and the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Then he missed four of his next five cuts.
O’Hair is playing well in the opening round in Vancouver, however; at one point he made three straight birdies.
Can he keep it up? Follow the rest of his round here .
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- It’s safe to say Sean O’Hair chose the right sport. On Tuesday night, O’Hair, who is from nearby West Chester, Pa., was invited to throw out the first pitch at the Phillies-Red Sox game at Citizens Bank Park.
How’d it go?
“It was awful,” O’Hair joked. “I think I hit the camera guy right in the head. I think the worst thing about it, I didn't even ask how he was doing I was so nervous.
“But it was fun to be there. I had two of my kids there, and the whole experience was great. I wish I would have thrown a little bit better pitch, but it's not what I do for a living.”
What O’Hair does do for a living is play golf. It’s also something he’s struggled with this season.
In 15 starts, O’Hair has just three top 25s and in his last three starts he missed two cuts and tied for 63rd in another. He also parted ways with his swing coach, Sean Foley, earlier this year.
“This year I've definitely had a difficulty being comfortable on the golf course,” O’Hair admitted. “I think my game has turned around. I saw a lot of good things last week, and I think the fact that I'm comfortable this week with being home and in front of everybody is definitely going to help me out quite a bit.”
Unless the cut line moves a stroke, Ben Crane will be headed home early from TPC Four Seasons. At least it will be a short trip for Crane, who lives in nearby Westlake and finished his first two rounds at 2 over after a pair of 71s and one shot outside the number.
Crane isn’t the only notable player on the wrong of the number.
Anthony Kim is in the clubhouse at 3 over after a 71 Friday. So is Tommy Gainey. Charlie Wi, who lost in a playoff to David Toms last week, Justin Leonard and Sean O’Hair are all headed home early as well.
Among those fighting so stay inside the cut? PLAYERS winner K.J. Choi, who is 1 over for the week and even through three holes in the second round, and defending champion Jason Day, who is also 1 over after playing his first three holes in Round 2 at 1 under.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Sometimes change is good, or necessary, or both.
Enter Adam Scott, who split with longtime caddie Tony Navarro following last week’s PLAYERS Championship, where he missed the cut. Scott said he’s had a great relationship with Navarro through the years, but “the cliche, all good things come to an end.”
The move doesn’t seem to have impacted Scott, who is using Camilo Villegas’ now-former looper Michael Doran this week, negatively so far -- Scott is 4 under through 15 holes at Colonial and near the top of the leaderboard.
As for the decision to split, it was an amicable one.
"There were issues that had nothing to do with on the golf course or with us," Navarro, who lives in Moline, Ill., told the Quad City Times. "It's just a few things weren't going to work out. I told him I wouldn't quit, so he would have to fire me.
"It wouldn't have been any different had we won the Masters. It was an unavoidable circumstance in the middle of our relationship that we couldn't overcome."
Sometimes a change of scenery, like in other sports, is just good for a team, or in this case an individual. We saw the same thing last week, for example, with Sean O’Hair, who recently parted ways with swing coach Sean Foley and then had a season-best finish, a tie for 19th, at THE PLAYERS.
O’Hair and Foley remain close, much the way Navarro expects to with Scott.
By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- A start of 71-71 may not mean much to many in the field this week at THE PLAYERS Championship. But for Sean O’Hair, it’s a big success.
“I’m feeling better,” O’Hair said. “I’m still playing.”
The 28-year-old had missed five consecutives cuts and has no finishes better than a tie for 24 th this season. The biggest disconnect was that he had lost confidence in his swing. Therefore, he parted ways with swing coach Sean Foley and reconnected with original coach Steve Dahlby. He also brought back Steve Lucas, his father-in law and former caddie.
“My swing is feeling more natural,” O’Hair said. “I am hitting that cut out there and I like that. That’s the way I play. I was trying to hit a draw and that didn’t work. A lot of people were telling me they had never seen me hit it as bad as I had.”