Appleby Leads as Play Suspended

By Associated PressApril 21, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Shell Houston OpenHUMBLE, Texas -- Stuart Appleby took a one-stroke lead over Greg Owen on Friday in the suspended second round of the Shell Houston Open, finishing 16 bogey-free holes in 5 under to push his two-day total to 11 under.
 
Appleby, the first-round leader, started on the back nine and moved to 11 under with a birdie on No. 6. He was one of 44 players who had to return to the course early Saturday to finish the round.
 
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman is in search of his first career PGA TOUR win.
A predawn storm dumped five-eighths of an inch of rain at The Tournament Course at Redstone, delaying the start of the second round 2 1/2 hours.
 
Owen teed off late in the afternoon and birdied five of his last seven holes for a 65, the lowest score of the tournament.
 
A month ago, a three-putt from 3 feet cost Owen a chance to win at Bay Hill. Owen talked to noted sports psychologist Bob Rotella shortly after the gaffe.
 
Rotella's advice?
 
'Concentrate on everything you did right,' Owen said. 'The majority of the things were all positive.'
 
The 34-year-old Englishman had plenty of those on Friday, too. He made a 3-foot birdie putt on 13, holed a bunker shot on the par-3 14th and finished the round with a bending 20-footer on the difficult 18th.
 
'I'm just trying to have a good time and I'm playing pretty well, which helps,' Owen said. 'Just trying to see the good shots more than the bad shots.'
 
Appleby started his round a half-hour later. Like Owen, Appleby birdied the two par 5s on the back nine. The Australian tacked on two more birdies as the sun was setting to retake the outright lead.
 
'You put it in the fairway. The game becomes a lot easier,' Appleby said. 'I drove it well, putted pretty good. But nothing fancy. Just good, solid golf.'
 
South Africa's Trevor Immelman was 8 under after a 67.
 
The 26-year-old Immelman has missed the cut in his last four starts, but said his results don't reflect how well he's played.
 
'I would say frustration sums the whole thing up because I really felt like the whole year I've hit the ball quite well,' he said.
 
A victory in Texas just might top his experience at the Presidents Cup last September, what he termed the 'best golfing week of my life.'
 
Immelman left wanting to emulate the players' demeanors as much as their games.
 
'When you look at the top players, there's one common denominator and that's how relaxed they are,' he said. 'There's no drama, no real massive emotional changes. Those guys are pretty constant, they're level, they believe in themselves and they get the job done.'
 
Mathias Gronberg was 7 under after a 69. He shot a 68 in blustery conditions on Thursday and was disappointed he didn't go lower in the second round.
 
'I'm amazed no one really shot lower than 5 under in the morning,' Gronberg said. 'It was really there to shoot a low score today. We had perfect conditions.'
 
Gronberg was flawless with his irons, hitting all 18 greens in regulation -- a rarity, even for pros.
 
'I was talking with my playing partners about how rarely we do it,' Gronberg said. 'We're supposed to be professionals, but at least for me, it's like maybe a year in between or two years since I did 18 greens.'
 
Australians Aaron Baddeley and Stephen Leaney were both at 6 under. Leaney had three holes to play on Saturday morning.
 
Two-time defending champion Vijay Singh was 4 under after a 71 that included a double bogey.
 
Regardless of what happens Saturday morning, Andrew Magee will miss the cut at 2 over. Magee was playing for the first time since getting a 'golf ball-size' tumor and part of his kidney removed at the Cleveland Clinic in February.
 
'Except for making bogeys, everything feels pretty good,' Magee said.
 
The 43-year-old Magee will have an MRI in August to determine if he's cancer-free. So far, doctors have given him a clean bill of health and told him chemotherapy and radiation treatment weren't necessary.
 
'Most of the time, you hear about friends who go through a situation like that and they have a couple years left to live,' Magee said. 'This is a happy story.'
 
Divots:
Crowd favorite John Daly shot 31 on the front nine and a 41 on the back for a 72. Daly is 3-under for the tournament. ... Kevin Na withdrew after an opening-round 77. No reason was given. Ben Curtis withdrew later in the day. ... Former PGA champion Rich Beem was in a hurry to leave the course after shooting a 69. He was rushing to pick up his new car, a silver convertible Mini Cooper with a souped-up engine. 'The thing is a rocket,' Beem said. 'It's a silver bullet.'
 
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


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    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


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    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.