Flanagan Coles lead US Bank

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Greg Norman wont be the only Australian trying for a win on Sunday.
 
Fellow countrymen Nick Flanagan and Gavin Coles are tied for the lead at 14 under entering the final round of the US Bank Championship, a tournament that Norman himself won in 1989.
 
And if Norman should go on to become the oldest major champion with a win in the British Open, Coles and Flanagan wont feel overshadowed.
 
That would be definitely OK with me. Im playing in America because Greg Norman showed us that we could play here. Norman, back in the 90s, was the guy we all looked up to, Coles said. Its going to be unbelievable and I hope he does it.
 
Flanagan fired a third-round 69, rebounding from a bogey at the 17th by knocking a hybrid to within 12 feet on the 557-yard, par-5 finishing hole and making a tap-in birdie to reclaim a share of the lead after Coles shot 68.
 
I thought I hit a perfect putt. I dont know how it missed, Flanagan said of his eagle chance.
 
Second-round co-leader Richard S. Johnson of Sweden, playing with Flanagan, also just missed an eagle putt at the 18th. But his tap-in birdie allowed him to finish at even-par 70, tied with Jon Mills (64), George McNeill (66) and Ken Duke (68) a stroke back of the leaders.
 
The low rounds came despite a drizzle that fell most of the day. Coles said the light rain was not a problem because there was no high wind.
 
The weather was not a nuisance and the course was made for some birdies, he said.
 
Five players were another shot back at 9 under, including defending champion Joe Ogilvie, whose 68 on Saturday puts him in position to win the tournament for the second straight year.
 
Kenny Perry, whose decision to play the tournament instead of the British Open was panned by players and the media, shot a third-round 69 to get to 6 under'too far back to have much of a chance at his fourth win this season.
 
My goal was to get within three, and I had my chances, said Perry, who won the John Deere Classic last week. If I could have made a couple putts coming in and got within three, I would have had a shot at this deal. It will take a magical round tomorrow. Id have to shoot 61 or some crazy number, and that aint happening right now.
 
Flanagan, who was promoted after winning three tournaments on the Nationwide Tour, led at the turn despite a bogey on the par-4 ninth, when he missed a short putt. The bogey dropped him back to 10 under, the score he and Johnson had to share the lead after two rounds.
 
Flanagan still retained at least a share of the lead until he bogeyed the par-4 17th. His third shot from green-side rough barely got onto the green, and he missed a long putt for par to fall a shot behind Coles.
 
The 24-year-old tour rookie made up for his mistake on the 557-yard, par-5 finishing hole. After a good drive, Flanagan hit a hybrid to 12-feet and barely missed the eagle putt that would have given him sole possession of first place.
 
Johnson, the first-round leader, also missed a putt for eagle at the 18th. He had to settle for a birdie that kept him just a shot out of first place.
 
Coles, whose 62 Friday was the low round of the tournament, stumbled through bogeys on the first two holes to fall to 7 under. He rebounded with four birdies on the back nine, including back-to-back at 12 and 13, and his birdie at the par-4 16th got him to 11 under.
 
Mills, another former Nationwide Tour player, started on the back nine because he was so far behind the leaders when the day began. After making up a pair on his first nine, Mills shot 4-under 30 on the front side.
 
It took Mills a while to realize he was even in contention, because he had not bothered to look at the leader board.
 
It wasnt until the fifth hole (of his second nine) that I saw I was maybe one back, he said. I kept kind of pushing forward, because you know theres a lot of birdies out there.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”