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F. Molinari 3 shots off Italian Open lead; Garcia 4 back

By Associated PressOctober 13, 2017, 6:06 pm

MONZA, Italy - Australia's Marcus Fraser carded the lowest round of his European Tour career to take a share of the lead at the midway point of the Italian Open on Friday.

Fraser produced nine birdies - including five consecutive in the middle of his round - and no bogeys for a second-round 62 that took him to 13 under.

''To come and do that today, I'm pretty proud of myself and it's quite reassuring that I still can play golf,'' said Fraser, a three-time European Tour winner ranked a dismal 136th in the Race to Dubai.

''I felt like I've putted well and scrambled well this week,'' Fraser added. ''Today I took it to a new level with the putter.''

Open de Portugal winner Matt Wallace was also at 13 under following a bogey-free 65.


Full-field scores from the Italian Open


''I just played good golf out there today and it's perfect weather for us to shoot low,'' Wallace said.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Jamie Donaldson are each two strokes behind, while defending champion and home favorite Francesco Molinari was one stroke further back in fifth.

Donaldson had the shot of the day when he used his driver off the fairway on the ninth, his final hole, and hit to within 18 inches from 291 yards.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia and last week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner Tyrrell Hatton were among five players tied for sixth four strokes back.

Having entered the Rolex Series, the tournament features an increased purse of $7 million this year as part of the buildup to the 2022 Ryder Cup outside Rome.

Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn was among those set to miss the projected cut of 2-under, a fate shared by the elder Molinari brother, Edoardo, Martin Kaymer, Oliver Fisher, Padraig Harrington and Danny Willett.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 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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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.

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TT postscript: One birdie in casual pro-am round

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:15 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are a few observations after watching Tiger Woods’ pro-am round Wednesday at the Honda Classic:

• As expected, the stress level was minimal at PGA National. He had a short warmup (considering it was still freakin’ dark when he was about to tee it up, at 6:45 a.m.) and generally took little time contemplating shots, except for a few clubs off the tee.

• Tiger spent a lot of time chipping, pitching and putting after completing a hole. No surprise there. He didn’t play a practice round Monday or Tuesday, and he hasn’t competed here since 2014. Gotta get in that work.


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• He hit six drivers Wednesday. That’s probably one or two more than he will in competition, depending on wind direction. Two of those drives found the fairway. The other four were varying degrees off-line in the right rough, none more wild than his push slice on the difficult sixth hole that was probably 60 yards right. At least it was playable over there – water runs all the way down the left side.

• It’s not quite a stinger, but he hit more than a few 2-iron shots off the tee, with a sweet, little draw. That’ll play quite nicely here.

• We said it for a few rounds at Torrey Pines, and then again for one day at Riviera, but here goes: Woods appears to have taken the left side of the course out of play. Whether that remains true after playing under “game speed” this week, who knows?

• Woods made only one birdie, after getting up and down out of the greenside bunker on the par-5 third. His pro-am stat line, for those interested: 7 of 14 fairways, 12 greens and 31 putts and shot around 2 over. Again, he was not really trying.

• Best shot of the day? His fairway-bunker shot on the sixth hole (while playing his second ball). He skied a mid-iron from 187 yards to kick-in range. A little more of that, please.