Billy Mayfair is perhaps the very essence of the modern golfer. He talked with his sport psychologist in the morning, then won the Buick Open in the afternoon.
Mayfair, who chatted by telephone with noted teacher Bob Rotella, took the lead with a scrambling birdie on the par-5 first hole. He chipped in for another birdie at the second and led the rest of the way Sunday for a 2-stroke victory over Scott Verplank.What did the doctor say?
"He said, `You've got no pressure on you,' " Mayfair said. "He reminded me that I had already won this year. He told me to just go out and have fun and enjoy myself."
Mayfair, who started the day tied for the lead with Steve Stricker, certainly did that, pulling away from the field as he closed with a 5-under-par 67 for a 17-under 271 at rain-softened Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club.
Mayfair won the Nissan Open in a playoff over Tiger Woods on March 1 and followed that with a second-place finish the next week at Doral. But in his last start, he finished in a tie for 52nd at the British Open.
"Obviously, this was way past my expectations," Mayfair said. "It's a crazy game we play."
Mayfair was one of the hottest players on the circuit in 1995 when he won twice and earned $1.5 million. But he didn't win again until this year.
"I lost my confidence in 1996," said Mayfair, explaining why he turned to Rotella. "I'm a more aggressive golfer now. I'm playing more like I did in college."
In a bogey-free round, Mayfair shot 33 on the front side to turn at 15-under, and birdies at the 12th and 14th got him to 17-under. Clearly, nobody was going to catch him - and Mayfair certainly wasn't backing up.
It was the fifth PGA Tour win for Mayfair and made him the fourth multiple winner this season, joining David Duval, Fred Couples and Mark O'Meara.
LPGA STAR BANK: When Meg Mallon looked into the gallery on the 14th hole, she saw a familiar face. Her 50-year-old brother, John Mallon, had decided to pay his sister a visit by driving down unannounced from his home in Michigan.
"It was a total surprise that he came down," Mallon said after winning the Star Bank LPGA Classic at Beavercreek, Ohio. "He always thought he was a jinx because anytime he'd come to see me play and I'd been in contention, I haven't won."
The jinx was broken Sunday.
Mallon won her first tournament in two years when she parred the first hole of a sudden-death playoff at the Country Club of the North in this Dayton suburb. Dottie Pepper missed a 5-foot putt for par.
BURNET SENIORS: Surrounded by cameras and reporters and sipping on champagne, Leonard Thompson wore the smile of a man who earned a trip to Hawaii.
It also was the smile of a man who won his first Senior PGA Tour event, triumphed in his first playoff and claimed his biggest payday in 27 years in professional golf.
Thompson's final round score of 6-under-par 66 Sunday enabled him to finish in a tie at the end of regulation, and he birdied the second playoff hole to top Isao Aoki and capture the Coldwell Banker Burnet Classic at Coon Rapids, Minn., and its $225,000 winner's prize.
The victory qualified the second-year Senior player for the MasterCard Champions event next January in Hawaii.