Captains crunch: Couples, Haas share lead

By Associated PressNovember 3, 2011, 11:48 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples seems amused by all the controversy surrounding Tiger Woods' position on the American team.

Some might say he relishes it.

Couples shot a 3-under 68 in rainy, wet conditions Thursday for a share of the lead with assistant captain Jay Haas after the first round of the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Championship.

Not surprisingly, the first question Couples faced after his round was about Woods.

'In my mind some of it's very serious and some of it is comical because it just keeps going,' said Couples, who guaranteed Woods a spot weeks before his captain's picks were due.

'We have 11 other guys on the team. But it seems like it's all about Tiger. I've picked him and we'll wait until we get to Australia and we'll see how he plays.'

Coming off a seven-stroke victory three weeks ago in San Antonio, Couples had six birdies and three bogeys at TPC Harding Park, the site of the United States' 2009 Presidents Cup victory in his first year as captain.

He overcame a rough back nine, getting a birdie on the par-4 18th to grab a share of the lead.

'I always say he's a golfing genius,' said Haas, who had four birdies and a bogey. 'He's kind of just got it. When he's healthy, he has a great work ethic.'

Couples, who in July traveled to Germany for a treatment on his back that is not allowed in the U.S., looked much more relaxed on the golf course in the final event on the 50-and-under tour.

He got off to a quick start with birdies on five of the first nine holes and held a two-stroke lead midway through the back nine before running into trouble in the wet, windy conditions.

Couples, a two-time winner on tour this season, had bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14 – both par 4s – then added another bogey on the par-3 17th to fall a stroke behind Haas. Couples recovered on the 18th with a 10-foot birdie putt to regain a share of the lead.

'I didn't dominate the golf course but I drove it well and I made some of the holes seem easier,' Couples said. 'Today (the weather) was not really that bad. It was more of a nuisance.'

Haas, whose only victory this season came at the 3M Championship in Minnesota in late July, had a more consistent round. His only stumble came on the par-3 11th when he flew the green with his tee shot.

Haas made up for it with birdies on 16 and 17 to take a brief one-stroke lead.

'It was a difficult day out there,' Haas said. 'The rain is not as bad as the rain and the wind. It was a two- or three-club turnaround wind basically on most holes.'

David Frost and Michael Allen were a stroke back and Charles Schwab Cup points leader Tom Lehman matched Kenny Perry and Rod Spittle at 70.

Periodic heavy rain combined with sporadic sweeping wind kept the scores high. Only seven of the 30 players broke par on the picturesque course.

Lehman, attempting to become the first to win player-of-the-year honors on the PGA, Nationwide and Champions tours, repeatedly struggled with his approach shots and had only two birdies.

Mark Calcavecchia, second in points behind Lehman, had an even rougher afternoon. He had five birdies but two double bogeys, one at the par-3 third, en route to a 71.

Frost eagled the 525-yard par-5 ninth, then birdied No. 10 to get to 5 under, but dropped back with bogeys on Nos. 11, 13 and 14. 


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 sank a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without making a bogey on the Plantation Course or the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

Cook 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.

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.

Bubba (64) fires his lowest round of 2017

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:12 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Bubba Watson’s plan when he left the Dell Technologies Championship in September was to take a few months off and come back fresh in 2018

Those plans changed after a few weeks.

“What we figured out was the mental side, preparing for kindergarten - not for me, for my son - preparing for [wife] Angie's knee surgery. It's been a tough go,” Watson said.

“Being home and being with the family and everything, I realized how much I missed the game of golf, and that's why I wanted to come and play in these tournaments.”


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


The plan has paid off this week at the RSM Classic, where Watson is tied for 12th place after a second-round 64 on the Seaside course moved him to 7 under par.

Watson, who tied for 51st two weeks ago in Las Vegas, got off to a quick start on Day 2, playing the opening nine in 29. Despite a miscue at the 14th hole, when his tee shot wedged into a tree, he was solid coming in for his best individual round this year.

The left-hander was particularly sharp with his ball-striking after what has been a difficult year.

“I want to play golf now and right now I'm swinging at it pretty nicely,” he said.

S.H. Park (65) builds three-shot lead at LPGA finale

By Doug FergusonNovember 17, 2017, 9:58 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made five straight birdies and seized control late in the round with an eagle for a 7-under 65 and a three-shot lead in the CME Group Tour Championship.

The lead might have been larger except for Park's three-putt bogey on the 18th hole at Tiburon Golf Club.

Not only was she three ahead of Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith, none of the other players vying for all the awards was within five shots. Lexi Thompson shot a 67 and wound up losing ground. She was six shots behind.

Park was at 12-under 132. A victory would allow the 24-year-old South Korean to sweep all the big awards and become the first rookie since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win LPGA player of the year.

Korda sisters poised to make a run at CME

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 9:47 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Jessica Korda wasn’t feeling well making her way around the CME Group Tour Championship battling congestion Friday, but the leaderboard walking to the ninth tee gave her a nice lift.

That’s where she saw younger sister Nelly’s name tucked right next to hers.

They were within a shot of each other amid hard charges up the leaderboard, with Nelly playing just in front of her.

“I was like, 'Dang!’ It was good to see,” said Jessica, 24. “It’s fun to see her playing this well. I know what she puts into it. I’m kind of jealous of the rookie year she’s having, because mine sucked.”

Nelly, 19, is looking to put a special ending on her first year on tour. She posted a 6-under-par 66, good for a tie for fourth, six shots behind Sung Hyun Park (65). Nelly has given herself a weekend shot at her first victory.

Just a year ago, Nelly was here as a spectator, watching her sister.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


“I found it funny,” Nelly said. “I was walking to the range on Tuesday, thinking just last year, people were asking me, 'When are you going to be out here?’ It seems surreal to be out here, playing alongside my sister and the best players in the world.

“Being in contention is really, really special.”

Jessica shot 68 and sits a shot behind her sister.

Nelly said seeing the leaderboard gave her a lift, too.

“Maybe it amps me up just a little bit,” Nelly said. “It’s a friendly competition. Even though we want each other to succeed, we also want to beat each other. I think she would say that, too.”

Jessica is seeking her fifth LPGA title. She’s coming off a tie for third at the Blue Bay LPGA last week.

Jessica is 35th on the LPGA money list this year, with $515,521 in earnings. Nelly is 51st, with $388,983 in earnings.

“I definitely look for Jess on the board,” Nelly said. “We’ve very supportive of each other.”