Berger takes three-shot Travelers lead after 62 in Rd. 3

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2016, 7:00 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. - Daniel Berger, last season's rookie of the year on the PGA Tour, missed three cuts in January and February and began hearing the whispers.

''Everyone was starting to say sophomore slump and that kind of got me upset a little bit,'' he said. ''Not upset, but kind of like, 'Come on, let's get going here.'''

Berger earned his first PGA Tour win two months ago in Memphis, and will be going for a second on Sunday. He shot an 8-under par 62 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship.

The 23-year-old Floridian made nine birdies, including seven on his final 10 holes, to finish at 15-under 195 after 54 holes.

Berger, who is still recovering from a left shoulder injury that cause him to miss several tournaments including The Open, had just one bogey and was two strokes off the course record, following up rounds of 66 and 67 that had him tied for the lead coming into the day.

''I've shot better than 62, but I guess it doesn't matter unless it's on the PGA Tour,'' he said. ''It was just a great day.''


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Russell Knox shot a 64 and Russell Henley and Tyrone Van Aswegen each shot 65 to tie for second place at 12-under par. Patrick Rodgers shot a 66 and was five strokes off the pace.

Berger is looking for his fifth top-10 finish since April, a string highlighted by his win at the St. Jude Classic.

Berger said he first tweaked his left shoulder in Memphis, then strained it at the U.S. Open. The injury forced him to withdraw after hitting his opening tee shot at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and he didn't return until last week at the PGA Championship.

He said it expects the shoulder to be sore tonight, but it has not been bothering him on the golf course.

''It feels great this week and if I do the right thing then hopefully it's gone forever.''

Berger said besides the win, he's hoping for very personal reasons to secure a spot on the Ryder Cup team this summer. His father, Jay Berger, played tennis for the U.S. Davis Cup team.

''I think it would be pretty cool to have a father and son play Davis Cup and Ryder Cup,'' he said.

The golfers went out early in trios Saturday off the first and 10th tees to avoid thunderstorms predicted for the area.

Knox set the pace, opening his round with three consecutive birdies. He putted the ball just seven times over his first six holes.

He also is looking for his second PGA Tour win, after a victory last November at the World Golf Championships in Shanghai.

''I always tell myself, don't be scared to play well,'' he said. ''You've got to go for it.''

Berger is not the only player coming off an injury.

Brooks Koepka, playing with a brace on his right ankle, shot a 30 on his back nine to finish with a 64 and go 9-under par for the tournament, tied for sixth place with Paul Casey.

Koepka tore a ligament earlier this summer and, like Berger, missed he The Open. He said he decided to play the tournament rather than rest because, like Berger, he wants to get enough points to play in the Ryder Cup.

''The better you play the better you feel,'' he said. ''Today is the best it's felt in a long time.''

Koepka spent the day sparring with playing partner Daniel Summerhays, who also had four birdies on the back nine, before hitting a tree on his drive at the par-4 18th. He ended up saving a bogey with a 44-foot uphill putt and goes into Sunday at 8-under par, tied for eighth place.

''To see that go in, that was definitely a sigh of relief,'' he said. ''A good putt can forgive a lot of weaknesses and sins that you've committed in one hole.''

U.S. Olympians Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed each shot 68 and are 5 under, 10 strokes back. Fellow Olympian Matt Kuchar shot a 71 and is at 3 under.

Watson has insisted his focus this week is on Connecticut, but acknowledged that he wore his opening ceremony outfit on Friday night, texting a photo to teammate Rickie Fowler, who took part in the parade of athletes.

''He texted me back his outfit,'' Watson said. ''I said I was there in spirit, so I had to wear my outfit, too.''

The shot of the day came from Ernie Els, who aced the par-3 16th hole from 176 yards. It was the 13th hole-in-one of his career.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.