Crowded Leaderboard at Disney

By Associated PressNovember 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Scott Verplank was two shots behind with three holes to play Saturday, then surged into a share of the lead at the Children's Miracle Network simply by making pars.
 
Verplank, one of six players who had at least a share of the lead on a wild afternoon at Disney, wound up with a 71 and was tied with Stephen Ames going into a final round.
 
On a pristine day outside the Magic Kingdom, chaos reigned on the closing holes at a tournament that used to be known for birdies falling as often as the whistle blows at Thunder Mountain.
 
Ames, who had a two-shot lead at one point, bogeyed two of his last three holes with three-putts that measured 60 and 70 feet. He had to settle for a 70, but had few complaints about still being in the lead.
 
The man of few words was Brett Wetterich, who might have joined the leaders except for his triple bogey on the final hole when he suffered a two-stroke penalty for accidentally moving a twig inside the hazard while deciding whether to play the shot. He had a 72 and walked off the course without speaking to reporters or a PGA TOUR official.
 
Once he cools down, Wetterich might realize he's still in the hunt.
 
Then again, just about everyone is.
 
'There's got to be 30 guys that have a chance to win,' Verplank said.
 
Verplank and Ames were at 13-under 203, with Justin Leonard (70) and long-shot Tag Ridings (71) in the five-way tie for third. Two dozen players were separated by four shots going into the final round of the final PGA TOUR event of the year.
 
'If you play steady tomorrow, you'll have some birdie opportunities and be at the top of the board at the end of the day,' Ames said.
 
He played better than most, riding consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to a two-shot lead before his approach shots went to the opposite end of the green from where the flag was whipping in the wind.
 
That's no disgrace on the Magnolia Course, at least not anymore.
 
The final three holes measure 451 yards, 489 yards and 473 yards, and the soggy conditions for a week of rain made it play even longer. Leonard hit 4-iron for his second shot on all three of them, dropping one shot but still staying in the picture as he tries to win for the second time or at worst qualify for the Masters.
 
'It wasn't an easy day,' Leonard said. 'If you could shoot a couple under, you knew you weren't going to lose ground.'
 
Wetterich lost all his ground on one hole.
 
His name was never far from the lead after an eagle on the par-5 10th, and he was only one shot behind when his tee shot on the 18th hole went left into the hazard. He took out an iron to see if he had a shot, but during one of his pre-shot waggles, the club moved a twig, and it's a two-stroke penalty for moving a loose impediment in the hazard.
 
Then came another penalty for taking the drop, and two putts from 20 feet for his triple bogey.
 
Verplank lost ground early.
 
He had gone 40 holes without a bogey at Disney until making his first one of the tournament on the par-4 fifth when he blasted a bunker shot 40 feet past the pin. He chipped weakly and missed a 6-foot par putt on the next hole to fall out of the lead.
 
From there, it became a revolving door of leaders with five players tied at one point.
 
When it finally sorted itself out, Verplank and Ames were on top and will be in the final group with Tim Petrovic, who played bogey-free on the back nine and quietly posted a 68.
 
Also at 204 were Mathew Goggin (69) and Jeff Overton (69). Heath Slocum shot a 69 and was alone in eighth at 205, followed by a group that included Wetterich, Rich Beem (70), Stewart Cink (70) and Robert Gamez (67).
 
It was a huge day for Gamez, who was is 152nd on the money list and at least wants to get inside the top 150 to secure some status for next year. Even better would be the top 125 for full status, and now he's only three shots away from the lead, knowing that a victory would sew up his job for two years.
 
Ridings, though, is the ultimate long shot. He was the 14th alternate when the field was set last week and got into the tournament. But at No. 210 on the money list, he needs nothing short of a victory to keep his card. Ridings was four shots behind on the back nine, seemingly sliding, but with the calamity that followed, he was right in the middle of it all.
 
Beem was among those tied for the lead, but made three straight bogeys for a 70. The former PGA champion is playing his fifth straight week, even though he locked up his card last week, and he's feeling the fatigue.
 
After a birdie on the 13th -- a hole where he made eagle 2 on Friday -- Beem flashed a 2-3 with his fingers, presumably his score.
 
'Oh, that's not my scores,' he said. 'That's how many holes are left (23) until I'm done.'
 
It could take all 18 holes Sunday to figure out who wins the last event of the season.
 

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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.