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Golf legend Nicklaus joins Costner for first round at The Cliffs

In what is believed to be a first in the history of professional golf, a course’s grand opening coincides with the hosting of a pro tournament.

And in that same making history theme, an opening-day lineup that included 18 holes with Jack Nicklaus and Kevin Costner was unprecedented as well.

Playing together for the first time, the golfing legend and the Hollywood celebrity best known for his sports movies paired up Wednesday for the first official round of play at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove.

The Nicklaus design, a near flawless layout on a piece of land perfect for 18 holes just 12 miles from downtown Asheville, was unveiled for about 700 invited guests on the eve of the Nationwide Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs.

After a morning news conference and clinic on the driving range by Nicklaus, the world’s greatest golfer and the actor played a leisurely 3 1/2-hour round in wind, sunshine and a brief rain shower.

Both wore microphones and bantered easily with each other and the audience while playing from the tips on the par-71 that covers 7,278 yards.

After drilling a mid-iron out of the rough to 15 feet on the par-4 4th hole, Costner was upstaged when Nicklaus chipped in for birdie from 15 feet, just off the green.

Snedeker treated for rare bone condition

Brandt Snedeker appears to have finally found the cause of his recurring rib fractures: a condition known as low bone turnover.

“I had everything tested and they found this one anomaly in my DNA,” Snedeker, 32, told Golf Magazine in an interview last week. “What it boils down to is that my ribs are just really brittle compared to the rest of my bones. So I’m on this medication that is supposed to strengthen your bones and keep this stuff from happening.”

The medication, Forteo, is an anabolic osteoporosis treatment designed to increase bone mineral density.

Snedeker, the world’s fifth-ranked player, said he has been injecting the drug daily for the last two months and that it conforms to the PGA Tour’s drug policy. “I made sure it’s okay to take,” he said. “It’s a drug that’s going to help me keep my bones from being less than brittle to being up to par.”

He said that the medication can take up to two years to “make a big difference,” and that he has encountered some side effects, including nausea and dizzy spells at night.

“But hopefully in the grand scheme of things, it will be worth the investment,” he said.

Bone turnover, or remodeling, is a natural process by which the body, in very basic terms, sheds mature bone and replaces it with new, supple bone, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. (Adults remodel about 10 percent of their bone tissue annually.) If, as in Snedeker’s case, the turnover rate is too slow, it can lead to brittle bone structure.

The condition is highly unusual for a man of Snedeker’s age, said Dr. Donald A. Bergman, a New York City-based specialist and past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

“It’s generally seen in the elderly, because as you get older, you have fewer and fewer of these bone-forming cells,” he said.

Kohki Idoki takes Senior PGA after Kenny Perry collapses

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kohki Idoki erased a five-stroke deficit against a fading Kenny Perry with room to spare, charging to a two-stroke victory Sunday in the Senior PGA Championship.

It was the third bitter final-round major tournament failure for the 52-year-old Perry, who led by three strokes with six holes to play but settled for a second-place tie with Jay Haas.

The 51-year-old Idoki closed with a 6-under 65 to finish at 11 under at Bellerive Country Club and win $385,000 and become the first player to win the tournament on his first attempt since Michael Allen in 2009.

Idoki got a beer shower from fellow Japanese players Joe Osaki and Kiyoshi Murota after finishing ahead of Perry’s final group.

Perry shot a 72, and Haas had a 70. Perry squandered a two-stroke lead with two holes to go in the 2009 Masters and also let victory slip away in the 1996 PGA.

Mark O’Meara was fourth, three strokes back after 65 including an eagle on No. 17. Murota was another shot behind after a 67.

Perry staggered to the finish line, beginning with a double bogey on No. 13 that dropped him into a tie with Idoki. Another bogey on No. 16 dropped him out of the lead he held or shared since the end of the second round and he bogeyed No. 17 after shooting sideways out of deep rough in trees on No. 17.

Perry lost his lead three-putting from the fringe up against the edge of the rough on No. 13, running it past the cup from about 3 feet before holing out to put him at even par for the day.

He arched his back in disappointment after leaving a long birdie putt just short on No. 14.

Idoki climbed into contention with four birdies and no bogeys on the front nine, and added two more birdies in a flawless finish.

Jim Rutledge closed with a 64 for the best round of the tournament. He tied for sixth with fellow Canadian Rod Spittle, Russ Cochran, Kirk Triplett and Duffy Waldorf. Rutledge had seven birdies, five on the front nine, with no bogeys and no long putts to save par.

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