DiMarco Kaye Share Top Spot

By Associated PressJanuary 31, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 FBR OpenSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On a day when nearly everyone made a charge, Chris DiMarco had one of the best. DiMarco shot his way into a share of the third-round lead in the FBR Open on Saturday, shooting a 7-under 64 to join Jonathan Kaye at 14-under 199.
Kaye carded a 66, making all five of his birdies on the back nine, and second-round leader Phil Mickelson was one shot back after a 68.
The leaderboard for the final round will be packed with crowd favorites - DiMarco (2002), Mickelson (1996) and Vijay Singh (1995, 2003) are former Phoenix Open champions - and international stars such as Mike Weir, Bernhard Langer and Sergio Garcia.
Langer (66), Justin Leonard (66), Weir (68) and Ricky Barnes (68) were three shots off the pace, with Singh, Garcia, Steve Flesch, Fredrik Jacobson and first-round leader Scott Verplank at 203.
Leonard, who was 1 over after 12 holes, tied a Phoenix record by birdieing the last six, and Singh charged into contention with a remarkable 63 - matching the best round of this tournament and his winning score in the fourth round last year.
Singh had eight birdies to move within range of his 11th consecutive top-10 finish, the most since Greg Norman's 11 in 1993-94.
DiMarco, whose wife had their third child the first week of January, waited until the Bob Hope last week to start his season and then missed the cut. But he was 7 under through two rounds this time and was on target from the start, starting his chain of birdies with a 20-foot putt on the second hole. He had a short putt for birdie on No. 3, but holed a 15-footer on No. 6 and a 25-footer on No. 9.
DiMarco's other birdies were on the 12th, 13th and 15th holes.
Kaye, playing three groups behind, made a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to pull into the tie, but wasn't able to hole a putt of similar length on the last hole for the lead.
Mickelson had one birdie in the first 12 holes, but was back in his element on Nos. 13 and 15, the two par-5s on the back nine.
He birdied both, two-putting from 26 feet on the 13th hole after a 327-yard drive, and two-putting from 35 feet on 15 after a 334-yard drive. That got him to 13 under.
But the former Arizona State golfer's touch deserted him down the stretch despite encouragement from a huge gallery announced at 148,521. Mickelson smiled as he walked down the 16th fairway, but missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the green.
Mickelson was 12-under before bogeying his last two holes Friday.
Nobody reached that level Saturday until DiMarco's birdie on the par-3 12th.
DiMarco chipped out of a bunker to within 6 feet of the cup on the next hole and birdied, opening a two-shot lead.
Divots: Arron Oberholser, who eagled two of the last four holes Friday to make the cut, eagled No. 15 for the second straight day and shot 66 for the round. ... Garcia hit five of his last six approach shots within 10 feet, converting twice for birdies. On the last hole, he sank a 14-foot birdie putt. ... Garcia noticed the 127 yards added to the course. 'At 9, I hit 7-iron. That's a hole we used to hit sand wedge into that green,' he said.
Related Links:
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    Watch: Tiger highlights from Round 2 at Honda

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Tiger Woods started at even par in Round 2 of the Honda Classic. Friday began with a bogey at the par-4 second, but Woods got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:

    Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.

    At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National.

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    Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

    By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

    Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

    It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  

    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    “I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

    After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

    Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

    “It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

    Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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    Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

    In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

    Made Cut

    Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

    Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

    “What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

    Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

    #MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

    Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

    Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

    Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

    “I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told PGATour.com. “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

    The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

    During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

    “Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

    The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Web.com Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

    Stay tuned.

    Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

    The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

    On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

    That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.

    Missed Cut

    West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

    J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

    Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

    But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

    Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

    It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.