Dufner takes 54-hole lead at the Nelson

By Associated PressMay 19, 2012, 10:33 pm

IRVING, Texas – Nine players had or shared the lead during the third round of the Byron Nelson Championship.

Yet when play ended Saturday, Jason Dufner was the one alone at the top of the leaderboard for the second day in a row.

Unfazed by more breezy conditions, Dufner shot a 1-under 69 for an 8-under 202 total. He had a one-stroke lead over Jason Day, J.J. Henry and Dicky Pride.

''Similar conditions as (Friday), so probably helped me a little bit, just being comfortable with the wind and how hard it was blowing,'' Dufner said. ''Good ball striking, hit a lot of greens. ... Didn't feel like I was scrambling too much, trying to save pars or out of position, anything like that.''

Three weeks after getting his first PGA Tour victory at New Orleans, and two weeks after getting married, Dufner is already trying to win again.

Dufner is comfortable in his position with the experience of having won recently, and the forecast for more wind Sunday, though it is not expected to be as stiff as the 20 mph with gusts the last two days.

Matt Kuchar, who won The Players Championship last weekend, was in a group of eight players four shots back after a 72 with an up-and-down back nine.

Kuchar, the fifth-ranked player in the world, still has a chance to become the first PGA Tour player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks.

Dufner's only bogey came at the 528-yard par-4 third hole, when he knew right away that his drive wasn't a good one. He immediately dropped his club to watch as the ball flew into a bunker on the left side of the fairway, opposite the water on the right where he hit his tee shot the previous day.

''A little bit of carryover from (Friday), not trying to let those things happen, but occasionally they creep in your mind,'' he said. ''That bunker is almost as bad as being in the water, so (Sunday) maybe I'll think of that and play more aggressive and try to hit the shot a little better.''

Dufner, who birdied four of his last five holes Friday, got the lost stroke back Saturday with a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 6. He had pars the rest of the way except for the 14-foot birdie at the par-4 14th.

Day's only bogey came when he missed a putt of less than 2 feet at No. 18. The ball rimmed around the cup and rolled back toward him, costing him a share of the lead with a round of 67.

''I just hit it too hard through the break,'' said Day, the 2010 Nelson champ who finished fifth last year in his only other appearance on the TPC at Four Seasons courses. ''One day that hole will pay me back, and hopefully it's (Sunday).''

There were 20 players within five strokes of the lead. And 10th-ranked Phil Mickelson was among of group of seven more players only one more back.

Henry had three birdies on the back nine after two bogeys on the easier front nine in a round of 67. Pride, who has been playing professionally for 20 years, got his only PGA Tour victory in 1994.

''I threw my caddie in the air trying to figure out the wind,'' Pride said jokingly after his round of 69. ''Grass, I couldn't see.''

Vijay Singh, a 34-time PGA Tour winner whose last victory was in 2008, had a 66 Saturday. He was two strokes back after an eagle-birdie-bogey finish. After his 38-foot eagle putt at the par-5 16th, he made a 5-foot birdie at No. 17 but missed a par putt of the same distance on the last hole.

''I've been looking forward to this position,'' he said. ''My game has been coming around, but there wasn't any signs of scoring and this s the first day where I kind of went out there and scored well.''

PGA rookie Jonas Blixt from Sweden (67) and Marc Leishman (71) were tied for sixth at 205.

Ryan Palmer, the 2011 Nelson runner-up after losing in a playoff, shot a 72 in the final group. He was with Kuchar and defending Nelson champion Keegan Bradley (71) in that group of eight at 2006.

Kuchar was 8 under and leading after consecutive birdies to start his back nine, with a 32-foot putt at No. 10 and hitting his approach at No. 11 inside 3 feet.

After hitting his tee shot at No. 12 into a fairway bunker, he had a chance to save par but missed a 6-foot putt. His tee shot at the 180-yard 13th stopped 4 inches from the pin for a tap-in birdie that got him back to 8 under and the lead, but that didn't last long.

An errant drive on No. 14 led to a drop, then he had to punch back into the fairway before his approach to the back fringe of the green and a double bogey. His approach out of the rough at the next hole found a greenside bunker and he missed a 7-footer for par.

Bradley was only one stroke off the lead when his drive at No. 11 was way right. His shot from there went over the green and trickled into the water, leading to a triple bogey that took him to 4 under, where he finished.

Mickelson had five birdies and four bogeys for a round of 69. He failed to make up any ground even after holing a 42-foot chip shot at No. 18, where he finished with double bogey Friday.

''It was a fun way to end the day,'' he said. ''I had a lot of opportunities to get right back in the mix and made four or five mistakes there, sloppy bogeys.''

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm