English wins St. Jude Classic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A trip to the Masters is more than enough consolation for Harris English that his first PGA Tour victory couldn’t get him into the U.S. Open too.

After all, playing at Augusta is what every Georgia golfer wants.

English won the St. Jude Classic on Sunday for his first tour win in his 44th event, and he birdied two of the final three holes to hold off Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings by two strokes. An hour after celebrating with a simple fist pump on No. 18, English knew exactly what the victory meant to his young career.

“The main thing that I am looking forward to is playing the Masters next year,” English said. “Growing up in Georgia, I mean, that was the main tournament that I always watched and went to when I was a kid. The invitation to the Masters is going to be very special and special for my family because they’ve put a lot of hard work and a lot of time to get me where I am.”

Now English will head home and figure out what this win, along with the $1,026,000 winner’s check means for someone who turns 24 in July. His schedule will feature some bigger tournaments now, even though he will miss out on the U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club.

“Kind of changes the way I play this year,” English said.

Mickelson came here wanting to tune up for the Open after taking off the previous three weeks, and he almost did more than that as he finished with a 67. He wrapped up his round with a birdie that included hitting a shot at the hole on No. 18 from 151 yards that wound up 2 feet away for a final birdie.

“I thought that one on 18 might even go,” Mickelson said. “Wouldn’t have been enough with Harris making birdie on 17. He’s played some great golf.”

Still, Mickelson feels good with how he’s hitting the ball heading to Pennsylvania now for the Open.

“I’m really encouraged with the way I hit my irons,” Mickelson said. “Got to get the 3-wood in play a little bit more, although next week at Merion distance won’t be as critical as TPC Southwind. I’ll be able to hit higher and softer shots.”

Stallings had a 68 on a day where he had a three-stroke lead with seven holes to play. The two-time winner on tour finished with a double bogey, birdie and bogey in his final four holes. He now has finished tied for fourth at Colonial and Memorial and now second here in Memphis.

LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Inbee Park birdied the third hole of a sudden-death playoff with Catriona Matthew to win the rain-delayed LPGA Championship.

Park made a 20-foot putt on the par-4 18th to go 2-for-2 in LPGA Tour majors this season. She rebounded in the playoff after relinquishing a three-shot lead with a final-round 3-over 75. The top-ranked South Korean star bogeyed three of her final five holes in regulation.

The 42-year-old Matthew, from Scotland, shot a bogey-free 68 to match Park at 5-under 283 at Locust Hill.

After both parred the first two extra holes, Matthew struggled off the 18th tee on the third — their 39th hole of the day. After having difficulty advancing out of the rough just below the green on her third shot, she missed a 50-foot par chip.

The 24-year-old Park also won the Kraft Nabisco in April and has four victories this year. With the victory, Asian players have won nine straight majors.

REGIONS TRADITION

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — David Frost parred the final two holes to hold on for a one-stroke victory over Fred Couples in the Regions Tradition, the South African’s his first Champions Tour major title.

Both birdied No. 16 after play resumed with the sun shining after a delay of 1 hour, 8 minutes for lightning in a round played at times in a driving rain.

Frost didn’t flinch in the showdown with the Presidents Cup captain and World Golf Hall of Famer. Both shot 4-under 68, and Frost finished at 16-under 272.

It was his second victory of the season and fifth career win on the 50-and-over tour. Also the Toshiba Classic winner in March in California, Frost hit his approach shot to 10 feet on the final hole and two-putted to match Couples’ par.

LYONESS OPEN

ATZENBRUGG, Austria — Dutchman Joost Luiten won the Lyoness Open for his second European Tour title, closing with a 1-under 71 for a two-stroke victory.

Luiten finished at 17-under 271 on the Diamond Country Club course. He also win the Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia in November 2011. Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn shot a 68 to finish second.

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