Flesch Alone On Top at Turning Point

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
Turning Stone Resort ChampionshipVERONA, New York -- Steve Flesch shot an 7-under 65 Friday to take sole possession of the lead after two rounds of the inaugural Turning Stone Resort Championship.
 
Flesch, who began the day one shot off the lead, was at 13-under 131, one stroke ahead of first-round co-leader Jeff Gove (67) and Brendon de Jonge, who carded his second straight 66. Charles Warren (65) was alone in fourth at 11 under.
 
Rookie Matt Hendrix, a former star at Clemson, had his second straight 67 and was tied for fifth at 10 under with Chris Stroud (65) and Charley Hoffman.
 
Jeff Maggert (64) was another shot back, tied at 135 with Jeff Overton (65), Mathew Goggin (69), Briny Baird (66), Bill Haas (66) and three others.
 
Joey Sindelar, from nearby Horseheads and a two-time winner of the B.C. Open, and Robert Gamez each shot a second straight 68 and were tied at 8 under with John Senden (70), Tag Ridings (69), Johnson Wagner (67), John Rollins (69), and four others.
 
Chad Campbell, who had a share of the first-round lead, had an even-par 72 to remain at 7 under.
 
With conditions again ideal on a hazy, humid day with temperatures in the 80s and a slight breeze, Flesch started at No. 10 and quickly built on his opening 66, making four birdies and an eagle for a record 30 on the back side of the forgiving 7,482-yard Atunyote Gold Club course, with its wide fairways and soft, smooth-rolling greens.
 
Flesch hit a 3-wood to within 14 feet at the 562-yard, par-5 12th hole and made eagle to reach 9 under, birdied the next two holes and sank a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to tie de Jonge for the lead at 12 under.
 
Flesch, who started the tournament with six birdies on his first eight holes on the front side, took sole possession of the lead with a 17-foot birdie putt at the par-4 second hole.
 
'If I get that putting going, that's my strength,' said Flesch, who has hit 34 of 36 greens in regulation. 'It really makes the game a lot easier.'
 
The lone blemish was a three-putt bogey from 35 feet on his final hole, which ified a birdie putt at No. 8.
 
If not for No. 9, Flesch would have had a bigger lead. He made double bogey there on Thursday.
 
'I've just played it poorly,' he said. 'My putter let me down. It's all right. I made so many putts today.'
 
De Jonge, a 27-year-old native of Zimbabwe and a former star at Virginia Tech, began to move up the leaderboard with an eagle at the 548-yard, par-5 fifth hole, hitting 3-wood to the right fringe and sinking a 26-foot putt. That made up for a bogey at No. 4, and he made four birdies on the back side to take the lead until Flesch came through a couple of hours later.
 
'The position that I've put myself in coming into these last seven events, I have to play well,' said de Jonge, who has made only seven cuts in 20 events and is far down the money list. 'You know, I've pretty much got nothing to lose. It's almost, in essence, a seven-week tour school for me, so I have to play well.'
 
Gove, who started at the 10th hole, finished with five birdies on a bogey-free round, tying de Jonge with a 3-foot birdie putt at the par-4 eighth hole.
 
'Most of my play today I was staying in the moment, playing well, staying positive and trying to stay aggressive because the scores are low,' said Gove, who birdied two of his first three holes and then reeled off eight straight pars. 'You've got to stay patient. You have to just wait for your next little run.'
 
Turning Stone, with a purse of $6 million, kicks off a new seven-tournament run called the PGA Fall Series that will decide the final money leaders list. The top 125 players retain fully exempt status to play on Tour in 2008, and the Fall Series determines Nos. 31 through 125.
 
After two rounds, a shakeup near the bubble was at hand.
 
Steve Allan (69), who began the tournament at No. 125 in earnings, improved on his first round by seven shots but failed to make the cut, as did Joe Durant (No. 121) Bob Heintz (No. 122), Doug LaBelle II (No. 124), John Merrick (No. 127), Frank Lickliter II (No. 130), Jason Dufner (No. 132), Ryan Palmer (No. 136), and Tripp Isenhour (No. 137).
 
Four players near the cutoff -- Ryan Armour (No. 123), Haas (No. 126), Alex Cejka (No. 128), and Wagner (No. 131) -- will play on the weekend. And Wagner, Haas, and Cejka were in position for a decent payday come Sunday.
 
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  • Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


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    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.


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    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

    Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

    Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

    Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

    “At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

    Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


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    With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

    “I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

    Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

    Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

    “As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

    Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

    Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

    Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

    Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.


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    Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

    There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

    “I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

    Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

    The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.