Fowler among leaders at weather-affected Mayakoba

By Associated PressNovember 11, 2017, 11:41 pm

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico - Rickie Fowler woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday and played three holes in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. It was enough to get him a three-way share of the 36-hole lead going into a marathon finish in Mexico.

Fowler and Patrick Rodgers had to wait out a five-hour rain delay just to resume their second round Saturday. Fowler saved par from a bunker on the 18th hole for a 4-under 67. Rodgers finally make his first bogey of the tournament on his 17th hole had to settle for a 65.

They shared the lead at 10-under 132 along with Patton Kizzire, who hasn't hit a shot since his 70 on Friday.

The last three groups didn't have enough light at El Camaleon Golf Club to even start the third round, leaving them a 36-hole finish on Sunday. But that's only if the weather at this rain-plagued event allows. More thunderstorms, with heavy downpours, were in the forecast for the next two days.

''We deal with weather every once in a while on the PGA Tour, around the world, really,'' said Fowler, at No. 10 the highest-ranked player at Mayakoba. ''You kind of just learn to play when you get to play, relax when you get to relax. Rest when you can, tee it up when you can.''

Fowler had three tough finishing holes Saturday morning, and they were even more challenging after another storm moved through. There was mud on the golf balls, and it didn't help when Fowler twice wound up in bunkers. Both shots came out a little hot, but we managed to escape with pars.

Rodgers finally dropped a shot when he missed the green on the par-3 eighth and failed to get up-and-down. But he saved par from right of the ninth green to at least keep in a share of the lead going into the final day. With the forecast, there was no guarantee of getting in 72 holes.


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Players will be allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls through the green for Sunday.

John Oda, playing the PGA Tour for the first time as a pro, shot a 65 and was one shot behind along with 31-year-old rookie Brandon Harkins and Brian Gay, neither of whom hit a shot Saturday because they were already done with their second rounds.

Charles Howell III already was 4 under through six holes of the third round when darkness halted play. Howell was at 8-under par.

Seventy-nine players made the cut at 1-under 141, but there will not be a 54-hole cut because the groups will stay the same over the final two rounds. Patrick Reed bogeyed three of his last four holes to miss the cut by one.

Fowler hasn't played since Oct. 1 at the Presidents Cup except for a few casual rounds. He is playing at Mayakoba for the first time under the tour's ''strength of field'' policy that requires players to go to a tournament they haven't been to in the last four years.

So far, he has no regrets, and not much rust.

''I'm very happy, coming from basically five weeks of very little golf played,'' Fowler said. ''There were only two rounds last week when I was playing at home that were consecutive. All the other ones were spread out. It was never far off, so I was looking forward to getting down here. Hard not to enjoy yourself when you're at a place like this where you can go hang at the beach and really throw your feet up and relax.''

Rodgers is trying not to press.

He won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation's top college golfer when he was at Stanford, and it has been frustrating to see friends from his high school class of 2011 already have PGA Tour titles - in the case of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, plenty of them.

Rodgers and Thomas once were roommates in south Florida when they turned pro.

''To be honest, at times it's been really hard because I feel like I have the game that everyone else has and I feel like I work as hard as everyone else does, but everyone has a different process and I have to be patient with that,'' Rodgers said. ''But I've always felt that I have the game to win a lot out here and I'm looking forward to a good chance this weekend.''

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."