Jimmy Walker Cruises To Victory in Texas Golf Open; FedEx Cup Leader Now

SAN ANTONIO — Jimmy Walker spent the entire week battling the elements at TPC San Antonio. So when he arrived at the 18th hole with a four-shot lead, he finally allowed himself the chance to soak up the moment.

For a kid who grew up coming to the Valero Texas Open, the walk up the last was a surreal experience that almost left the local resident, who lives 35 minutes from the course in nearby Boerne, at a loss for words.

“To play this well at home in front of everybody, it’s amazing,” Walker said. “I don’t know how else to describe it or I’d be a writer, like you guys. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s cool.”

For most of the final round, it was Walker who played the part of the “cool” customer. When Jordan Spieth birdied the opening hole to cut the lead to three, Walker didn’t waver, matching the two-time PGA TOUR winner shot-for-shot for most of the afternoon.

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When he found the trees off the tee on No. 4 — a tee shot Walker called his “worst driver of the week” — Walker managed to get up-and-down for bogey to keep a big number off the card.

“I just tried to stay composed and not get ahead of myself,” Walker said. “Out here, no lead is safe and on this golf course a big number is right around the corner if you’re not careful.”

For Walker, the putter and his play on the par 5’s proved to be the difference at TPC San Antonio. He led the field in strokes gained: putting (10.338) and strokes: gained total (20.315) and was a cumulative 12 under on the par 5s.

“I drove it well on the par 5s all week and that helps,” Walker said. “If I set myself up good off the tee, the short game is pretty sharp, so that really helps.”

With the win, Walker became the first player to record multiple victories on TOUR this season, and the fourth area resident to win the Valero Texas Open since David Ogrin (Garden Ridge) in 1996. He also extended his FedExCup lead to nearly 500 points over new No. 2 Jordan Spieth.

Walker came into the week having not played since the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and said the extra time off allowed him to prepare for an important stretch in the season.

“I’ve been working hard,” Walker said. “Being home the last two weeks has helped. I needed a little recharge after playing a pretty busy West Coast schedule. I just needed the rest.”

The rest has certainly paid off. Walker plans to celebrate his win tonight with family and friends before hopping on a plane and heading to Augusta on Monday to play a practice round with Rickie Fowler.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Walker said. “You definitely wouldn’t want to go there not playing well. I’ll get a look at the course and just get ready for an amazing week.”

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Hardship

This author is one of our favorites. I hope you enjoy too.

Perspectives on Life, the Universe and Everything

Sun rises, day warms
warmth turns to scorching heat
Shades, cooler climes, for lucky few
Rest toil, digging soil, human stew
Body melts, soul shivers
Sweat flows like a river
fixing rust buckets at noon
Why the day doesn’t end soon
Unforgiving Helios prolongs stay
Some of us will die today

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Utica Comets 4 Over Rockford Ice Hogs 2 at Aud; 7 in a Row; Clinch Northern Div?

The Utica Comets have taken one step closer to clinching the North Division after winning their seventh game in a row Saturday evening, 4-2 at The Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Rockford IceHogs’ six-game winning streak came to an end and have drifted three points away from the Comets’ point total in the West.

Joe Cannata made the most of his third start of the season by tallying his second win and stopping 37 shots of the 39 he faced from the IceHogs. In his second two-goal night of the season, Darren Archibald (2-0-2) got the Comets on the ground and running late in the first period. Both Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) and Cory Conacher (1-0-1) found goals later on in the game to give them the edge they needed for the win.

Despite being outshot 16-8 in the first period, the Comets were the first ones to find the net off of a turnover that happened to swing in the Comets favor at 17:33. Brandon DeFazio got it going as he rushed into the zone to find Anti Raanta trying to play the puck from the left circle. Raanta fumbled with the rubber, which gave DeFazio the opportunity to pop it out of his possession. As the puck rolled to the center slot, Archibald was there to spike it into the open net past the diving defensemen, Kyle Cumiskey, as he tried to prevent the Comets inevitable 1-0 lead.

Just 26 seconds into the second period, Clendening fed Archibald a breakout pass that led to a one-on-one with Raanta. As Archibald entered the slot, he sniped it over the blocker side for his second goal of the night to put the Comets up by two. Both Clendening and DeFazio received their second assists of the night on the play.

Darren Archibald
Darren Archibald

At 4:07 Sven Baertschi and Cal O’Reilly raised tensions in the crease with some successful tic-toe passing just outside the slot. Conacher eventually received the puck and was able to bang in his own rebound for the Comets’ third unanswered goal of the night and his third goal in four games.

Cory Conacher
Cory Conacher

After playing only 23:57 in net, Raanta was pulled replaced by Michael Leighton.

Apparently a goalie change was what the IceHogs needed to rally the team, because 29 seconds later, Alex Broadhurst wrapped the puck around the net and snuck it in past the post to give the IceHogs their first goal of the night.

The Comets wrapped it all up at 9:54 in the third period after Shinkaruk put on a show in the offensive zone by causing a turnover and scoring his fifth goal in the month of March and the Comets’ fourth of the night.

Rockford’s Spencer Abbott made it a final score of 4-2 after finding the last goal of the game following a 6-on-5 advantage the IceHog’s obtained by pulling Leighton out of the crease with three minutes left in the game.

After Saturday night’s victory over the IceHogs, the Comets have extended their point total to 89, which gets them within four points of clinching the North Division.

The Comets will return to The AUD this Wednesday night for a North Division match-up against the Rochester Americans at 7 p.m

Utica Comets 4 over Oklahoma City Barons 2, Extend streak to 6 Games

After setting a franchise record last Sunday for five wins in a row, the Utica Comets did it again on Friday night as they trampled over the Oklahoma City Barons 4-2 to extend their win streak to six at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.

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Rookie Hunter Shinkaruk (1-1-2) (picture at top)  lit the lamp for his third game in a row after scoring the Comets’ third unanswered goal in the second period. After missing 31 games from an injury, Wacey Hamilton (1-0-1) (pictured above) made his presence known after netting the Comets’ fourth goal of the game. Both Cory Conacher (1-0-1) and Cal O’Reilly (1-0-1) found goals as well that led to the downfall of the Barons.

Even after dominating the entire first 20 minutes of the game and an 18-3 shot advantage, the Comets only found the net once after a spinning pass from the top of the circle. O’Reilly took notice of the chance and forced his way to the other side of the crease as he popped in Shinkaruk’s pass for the early 1-0 lead. With O’Reilly’s 50th point of the season, the Comets captain ran his point streak to nine games.

As the second period began, the Comets continued to cash in on their shot opportunities. At 3:54 Conacher sped into the zone and released a snap shot over Laurent Brossoit’s blocker side to put the Comets up two goals to none. Bobby Sanguinetti and Peter Andersson both assisted Conacher on his seventh goal of the season.

Just one minute later, Shinkaruk found himself on the right side of the puck as he received a dish from Alex Biega just inside the right circle. Shinkaruk knocked home the one-timer for his 11th goal of the season, which put the Comets up 3-0.

At 11:03 the Comets found their fourth unanswered goal of the game after Hamilton retrieved the puck after a forced turnover cause by Mike Zalewski. Hamilton walked into the slot and slipped it passed Brossoit’s right leg pad for the 4-0 lead.

The Barons finally answered back with less than two minutes left in the second period on the second half of a Comets double minor. After a set up from Ryan Hamilton, Jason Williams found a lane to shoot and snuck one past Joacim Eriksson’s blocker side to make it 4-1.

The third period only saw the Barons score once more but it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Comets commanding three-goal lead. At 12:55, Oklahoma’s Mitch Moroz tipped in a shot from Jordan Oesterle to make it a final score of 4-2.

After Friday night’s win over the Barons, the Comets have extended their point total to 87 which gets them within eight points of clinching the first place within the North Division.

The Comets will be return to The AUD tomorrow night to take on the Rockford IceHog’s for their second and final meeting of the season.

MTA Works to Minimize Record Crowds on New York City Subways

Overcrowded subways are causing more delays across the city’s transit system.

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there were nearly 13,000 delays because of overcrowding in January. That’s almost double the number of delays in the same month last year.

The Second Avenue subway is expected to ease overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue lines and the MTA says three of the new stations will open by December of next year.

Transit officials say work on the 86th Street stop needs to be sped up to avoid delaying the project’s completion.

Crews are still working to get the 7 train to the far West Side this spring, but they’re dealing with some issues regarding the installation of elevators at the 34th Street/Hudson Yards station.

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Long overdue repairs to the 168th Street and 181st Street stops in Washington Heights are being pushed back.

We brought you a story in 2013 about bricks falling from the ceiling onto the tracks and passing trains. Now the MTA hopes to have everything fixed by next year.

Finally, the MTA is proposing changes to two bus routes in Brooklyn and Queens that serve an area where many pedestrians have been hit.

‘Exclusively for white people’ stickers put on Austin, Texas stores

Employees at several Austin businesses have found stickers saying “exclusively for white people” placed on their windows, sparking an investigation into their origin and condemnation from the mayor.
Mayor Steve Adler said the stickers discovered Wednesday morning were “an appalling and offensive display of ignorance in our city.”
The stickers also say “Maximum of 5 colored customers / colored BOH staff accepted,” apparently referring to the “back of house” operations at a restaurant. They featured a city of Austin logo and claimed to be “sponsored by the City of Austin Contemporary Partition and Restoration Program,” though no such program exists.

Matt Every wins in come-from-behind fashion at Bay Hill

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second consecutive year, making an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole to beat Henrik Stenson and earn another trip back to the Masters.

Every rallied from a four-shot deficit last year for his first career victory. This one was even sweeter. He came from three shots behind Sunday with a 6-under 66, and he had to make the biggest putt of his career to get that handshake with the tournament host.

“The one on 18, straight downhill,” Every said. “That’s what you want under pressure.”

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Stenson closed with a 70 and extended a curious streak on the PGA Tour. It was the ninth straight tournament in which a 54-hole leader failed to win, and the Swede let this one get away.

He regained the lead with birdies on the 11th and 12th holes as Morgan Hoffmann began to fade, and Stenson had a one-shot lead with four holes to play. But he three-putted from 45 feet on the 15th, and three-putted again for par from 40 feet on the fringe at the par-5 16th.

Needing a birdie to force a playoff, Stenson was wide left on a 20-foot putt at the 18th.

Every finished at 19-under 269 and became the first player since Payne Stewart in 1987 to win at Bay Hill with all four rounds in the 60s.

A year ago, Every missed a 4-foot par putt on the 18th hole and had to wait a nervous 10 minutes to see if anyone could catch him. This time, he had no room for error. With a confident swing that held up all week, he drilled his drive down the left side of the fairway and hit his approach above the hole to set up his birdie.

He joined Tiger Woods and Loren Roberts as the only players to repeat at Arnie’s place. Woods won four in a row, and back-to-back on two other occasions. Roberts, like Every, won his first two PGA Tour titles at Bay Hill.

Matt Jones birdied three of his last four holes for a 68 to finish alone in third.

Hoffmann had a two-shot lead after a birdie on the eighth hole, but it was a struggle the rest of the way. Stenson caught him on the 11th, and Hoffmann made bogey on his next two holes to fall three shots behind. He hit his tee shot out-of-bounds into a backyard on the 18th hole for a double bogey and a 71 to finish fourth.

Rory McIlroy, in his final tournament before he goes for his third straight major and the career Grand Slam at the Masters, closed with a 70 and tied for 11th. The world’s No. 1 player had only one round in the 60s in his three events on the Florida swing.

“The main goal was to come here and try to win,” said McIlroy, who played Bay Hill for the first time. “Couldn’t do that. At least I got a couple of things out of this week, which is good.”

Zach Johnson holed a 5-iron from 207 yards on the par-5 16th for the second albatross in two days, after no one had made a 2 on a par 5 since Bay Hill began in 1979.

ANOTHER ALBATROSS: Zach Johnson holes 5-iron at par-5 16th

Every left Bay Hill a year ago believing he could win the Masters on his first try. He missed the cut and had only one top 10 the rest of the year. But he changed coaches in the fall and began working with Sean Foley to tighten up areas in his game.

Now he heads to Augusta with more confidence, and believes he has a swing that will get him in these positions more often.

DIVOTS: Sam Saunders, the 27-year-old grandson of Palmer, closed with a 73 and tied for 29th. … Harris English was at No. 52 in the world and needed a top 10 to crack the top 50 one week before that earns a Masters invitation. He had a 72-75 weekend and tied for 29th, likely dropping him at least one spot. The Valero Texas Open next week is the final event to make the top 50.

Utica Comets 4, Rochester Americans 1, Best In The West

For the first in the history of the franchise, the Utica Comets (39-19-6-1) pushed their winning streak to five games after Sunday afternoon’s match-up against the Rochester Americans (25-33-5-0) resulted in a 4-1 victory at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.

Darren Archibald (1-0-1) (picture above) scored his second goal in three games and Frank Corrado (1-0-1) scored his first since returning from the Vancouver Canucks to help give them the early lead. Both Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) and Sven Baertschi (1-0-1) both found the back of the net later on in the game, which was more than enough to secure the Comets 39th win of the season.

It didn’t take much for the Comets to open up the scoring in the first period of play as Archibald found the net just past the three-minute mark. Negrin set up the opportunity in front as he directed one towards the net from the point. Mike Zalewski got a hold of the puck first and tipped it down towards the ice, but Archibald was there to collect the puck and bury it top shelf on Andrey Makarov’s blocker side for the early 1-0 lead.

Frank Corrado
Frank Corrado

With less than two minutes left in the first, Corrado took advantage of the Comets second power play of the period as he raced down the right wing. A slapshot is all that it took for Corrado to bury the power-play goal on the far side that gave the Comets the two-goal lead before heading into the second period. Jeremie Blain was credited with the only assist on the play.

The Americans answered back halfway through the second period at 10:20 after the Comets defenders were caught out of position. Matt Pelech found the hole and snuck through towards the left of the slot as he put it through Joacim Eriksson’s legs to make it 2-1.

The Comets took their two-goal lead back in the third period after a nice heads-up play by Alexandre Grenier. A dish to the center slot was enough for Shinkaruk to snipe it off the crossbar and in to make it 3-1 at 7:20. Cal O’Reilly tallied the secondary assist.

And for the second night in a row, Baertschi sealed the deal at 19:15 with his second empty-netter in just as many games to give the Comets the 4-1 win. Carter Bancks assisted Baertschi’s tenth point in nine games since being dealt to the Comets from the Adirondack Flames.

After defeating their fellow North Division foes Sunday afternoon, the Comets have secured a total of 85 points and could be gunning for the first place standing within the Western Conference depending on the outcome of the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Adirondack Flames game this afternoon.

The Utica Comets will be heading back to The Utica Memorial Auditorium for back-to-back home games that begin next Friday night March 27th. It will be their second and final meeting of the regular season against the Oklahoma City Barons and the action begins at 7 p.m.