Clark Clubhouse Leader at East Lake

By Associated PressSeptember 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Tim Clark tied the course record at East Lake with an 8-under 62 and hardly anyone was surprised Thursday at the TOUR Championship, the final playoff event that felt more like preseason with such easy conditions.
 
The greens, already soft as officials tried to nurture them back to life from a heat wave, turned into sponges after a three-hour storm delay and the top 30 players in the FedExCup took aim at every flag.
 
No one did it better than Clark, at least among those who finished.
 
Only 10 players completed the first round, and there was no guarantee his 62 would hold up.
 
Tiger Woods, who can win the FedExCup with a victory at the TOUR Championship, birdied his first three holes and was at 4 under with seven holes still remaining and conditions not expected to become any tougher Friday.
 
Clark wouldn't even be at East Lake if not for a 67-67 weekend at the BMW Championship, where he tied for fifth and barely cracked the top 30 to qualify for the TOUR Championship. He kept right on rolling, or at least slogging, through rain-softened conditions.
 
'Having a good Sunday round last week, I had a bit of confidence,' Clark said.
 
His 62 tied the record set by Bart Bryant in the first round of the 2005 Tour Championship.
 
Padraig Harrington, in the first group off when the greens were at their smoothest, birdied his last four holes for a 63, while John Rollins rode a 3-iron into 20 feet for eagle on the 15th hole for a 64.
 
Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson, who are chasing Woods in the FedExCup, probably need to find another gear. Stricker was at 1 over through 11 holes, one of only five players over par, while Mickelson was 3 over through his first five holes until he birdied the last three holes of the front nine to get back to even, then picked up a birdie at No. 12 to reach 1 under when play was stopped by darkness.
 
The first round will resume at 8 a.m. Friday.
 
Woods managed to get off two shots -- a 3-wood to the fairway and a wedge to 8 feet -- when the sirens sounded to stop play, rain deluged East Lake and play was stopped until 5:20 p.m.
 
He returned to make the birdie putt, made another from about 12 feet on the par-3 second, then knocked it a third straight birdie from 30 feet on the third hole, after barely getting onto the green from the rough.
 
Woods held out both arms when it wobbled into the cup, unsure how it got there.
 
'That putt was bouncing all over the place,' he said. 'It bounced to the right. I thought I missed it. Then it bounced left. I thought I was going to miss it left. And then somehow, it wiggled back to the right up the hill and it went in.'
 
He nearly picked up an ace on the sixth when his tee shot plopped behind the hole and grazed the cup rolling back.
 
The greens were almost dead three weeks ago because of record heat and no rain in the Atlanta area. TOUR officials, with help from superintendents of neighboring golf clubs, did a noble job getting them ready for the FedExCup finale. They sodded some areas of the greens, tried to fill in barren patches with green sand and let the grass grow as much as possible.
 
They were running considerably slower than most PGA TOUR events, and players were predicting low scores even before the rain.
 
It didn't take long for them to be proven right.
 
Clark was 3 under after four holes, made a 20-foot par save on the par-5 ninth, then allowed a 59 to enter his thinking when he holed a chip for eagle on the 15th that put him at 8 under with three holes remaining.
 
'Unfortunately, they're not birdie holes,' Clark said. 'I was certainly trying, but I hit a few loose shots coming in. Overall, I knew if I parred the last few holes I was going to be pretty happy with the round.'
 
Usually, a few shots under par at East Lake is cause for celebration.
 
Not on this course, or on this day.
 
'With these conditions, the greens are like a dart board,' Rollins said.
 
Harrington felt as if he was at home -- Ireland in the spring, when the grass is just starting to grow and the greens are still hairy and slow, when a sledge hammer works as well as a putter.
 
'You've got soft greens, the greens are at a pace that you can really be aggressive on them and run the ball at the hole,' he said. 'So yeah, I would think it's a good week for scoring.'
 
Perhaps it was no surprise that the best two scores came from the first two groups, when there were no footprints on the greens. And that might be an advantage for Woods when he returns Friday morning.
 
Woods is coming off a victory last week at Cog Hill, where he set the tournament record at 22-under 262. He prefers the tougher conditions when par is at a premium, but that doesn't look to be the case at the tour's version of a 'Super Bowl.'
 
A defensive struggle, it's not.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - TOUR Championship
  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    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.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    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: