Calcs 62 Earns Share of Top Spot

By Associated PressMarch 10, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 PODS ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Mark Calcavecchia felt confident about his game and fell in love with his putter. That's a rare combination for him, so he had a hunch that Saturday would bring him a good round in the PODS Championship.
 
He never could have imagined this.
 
The 46-year-old Calcavecchia made 10 birdies and tied the Copperhead course record at Innisbrook with a 9-under 62, going from the middle of the pack to a share of the lead with Heath Slocum, who birdied the last hole for a 67.
 
K.J. Choi shot 67 and was another shot behind.
 
'I don't see any reason why I can't finish it off,' Calcavecchia said.
 
After the way his week started, it was still hard to believe he was in this position.
 
Coming off a missed cut at the Honda Classic, Calcavecchia opened with a 75 by taking 36 putts, then packed his bags that evening expecting to miss the cut. But he tried out a new putter that he bought over the weekend -- that's right, he paid for it himself -- and has been knocking in putts from everywhere.
 
He has taken only 46 putts over the last two days, and he finished the third round strong.
 
Calcavecchia hit a 3-iron into about 6 feet on the par-3 17th, then hit a sweeping hooking with a 7-iron out of a fairway bunker on the 18th and made a 20-foot birdie to tie the course record set by Jeff Sluman in the first round in 2004.
 
He and Slocum were at 9-under 204, but there work was far from finished. Five players were within three shots of the lead, including Lucas Glover (67) and Chris DiMarco (69), and a dozen others were within five shots.
 
Calcavecchia rarely lacks for entertainment, especially when it comes to his putting.
 
It got so bad last week at the Honda Classic that after making a short birdie putt on his 12th hole, he stepped it off shoe-to-shoe to measure the distance (and found out later it was 4 feet, 2 inches).
 
'That was the longest of the week,' he said.
 
After missing the cut, he went to a golf retail store looking for a long-handled putter, didn't like the choices and settled on a conventional Ping model that suited his eye and cost him $256.18. It's probably a good thing that he paid for it, because that would be less incentive to break it. That goes into his decision on which putter to use.
 
'I just kind of look at it and see which one looks less ugly to me,' he said. 'Or which one I really wouldn't mind breaking some time during the course of the round.'
 
He also made a slight change in his stroke, pulling more with his left hand.
 
Either way, he started pouring in putts from everywhere, climbing the leaderboard and getting everyone's attention.
 
'When everyone saw him get hot, they started to chase,' Glover said. 'When I looked up at the board on 12, I said, 'Man, I've gotta go if I want to be there.' I think everyone got aggressive.'
 
Slocum pecked away on the back nine, making birdie on the tough 16th and following that with a 10-footer on the 18th. He will be in the final group, with one eye over his shoulder.
 
'It's so crammed at the top,' Slocum said. 'Calc proved today you can shoot a low number, although I didn't think anyone could shoot that low. Wow.'
 
It figures to change slight Sunday, with tougher hole locations and the pressure of the final round.
 
Calcavecchia surely will feel some of that.
 
He is a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, including a British Open, but at age 46, these chances don't come along very often.
 
He is not the model of fitness in golf, and his body creaks so much that he started taking pills of glucose and other herbal extracts that have helped soothe his joints. Foremost is his putting.
 
'The older you get, the harder it gets,' he said. 'Chances aren't as readily available as they used to be for me. So I'm sure I'll be nervous tomorrow just like everybody was last week, and everybody was the week before. I'll give it my best shot.'
 
It's also a big week for Eric Larson, his caddie. Calcavecchia already told him this would be there last week for a while because he likes to give several caddies a chance to work for him.
 
Larson, one of the most likable loopers on tour, spent 11 years in prison after he was convicted of being the middle man in a small-time drug ring. When he got out, Calcavecchia wanted to help him with his second chance.
 
'I paid him fairly well for our two top 10s,' he said. 'That really got him out of a bind. I felt good about that. I would like to write him an extra big check. This would be a nice way to enjoy next week and give Eric a month of two off.'
 
Divots
Slocum played on the same high school golf team as Boo Weekley, who played in the final group last week at the Honda Classic and lost in a four-man playoff. ... Calcavecchia said the USGA's proposal to limit the amount of spin produced by grooves in the irons was 'ridiculous.' It was his 8-iron out of the rough in the '87 Honda Classic that spun back on the green that first got the USGA's attention, leading to lawsuits that were settled out of court. 'It's not the grooves,' he said. 'It's the ball.' ... Two of the more promising young players on tour -- 24-year-old Ryan Moore and 21-year-old Anthony Kim -- were paired Saturday. Both shot 68 and were at 5-under 208.
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''