Furyk leads as play suspended again at BMW

By Associated PressSeptember 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
BMW ChampionshipST. LOUIS ' Jim Furyk only wanted to give himself a chance in the BMW Championship, and it took 36 holes to do it on a marathon Saturday at Bellerive that put him atop the leaderboard for the first time all year.
 
Whether he stays there when everyone finishes the third round is still to be determined.
 
Furyk finished with five straight birdies to set the course record at Bellerive with an 8-under 62 in the second round, then followed with a 66 that put him at 12-under 198 and gave him the clubhouse lead.
 
Camilo Villegas, who shot 66 in the morning for a one-shot lead through 36 holes, also was 12 under and had five holes left in the third round when play was suspended by darkness.
 
He will have to return Sunday morning to finish his round in a tournament twice interrupted by weather. Rain kept the BMW Championship from starting until Friday, and the plan for everyone to play 36 holes on Saturday was disrupted by a 90-minute fog delay in the morning.
 
But it was packed with all kinds of drama.
 
Sergio Garcia made the first hole-in-one of his professional career, a 5-iron from 205 yards on the third hole in the morning that put him into the mix. Bart Bryant made an ace in the afternoon, on No. 13, four holes after learning he had been docked a two-shot penalty simply for opening his mouth.
 
Martin Laird tamped down his own pitch mark on the fringe of the 16th green during the second round, which he was not supposed to do because it was in the line of Bryants ball in the rough. The fact Bryant said, Yes when Laird asked if it was in his line meant Bryant was penalized because he allowed his line to be improved.
 
Laird was not disqualified because it was not his intent to help Bryant, who chipped well over the mark.
 
Crazy? Certainly.
 
Much more steady was Furyk, who hit 24 consecutive fairways off the tee until he started to tire at the end of a long day and found the rough on the 18th hole. He could not advance it to the green, came up short with a wedge and was thrilled to sink a tricky 5-footer for bogey.
 
He played 36 holes and took only 128 shots. Of equal importance is that he didnt have to return Sunday morning. Villegas and Brian Gay, who was 10 under with three holes remaining, were among 23 players that were to resume the third round at 7:30 a.m.
 
Im tired, Furyk said. I like the idea of getting some sleep.
 
Villegas is keen to get his first PGA TOUR victory to accompany his marketing appeal, and this is the second straight week hell have that opportunity. At the Deutsche Bank Championship, he was one shot out of the lead going into the final round until Vijay Singh closed with a 63 to win by five shots.
 
The 26-year-old Colombian turned potential trouble into determination.
 
Sailing along in the morning, Villegas four-putted for double bogey on the ninth hole'the final three putts were inside 4 feet'and he was steaming when he left the green.
 
But the answer was swift'two straight birdies'and Villegas added one more from 12 feet on the 18th hole to take the lead into the third round. The tour did not make new pairings with hopes of finishing, so Furyk managed to finish 54 holes well ahead of Villegas.
 
Im feeling good, Villegas said. Im enjoying playing golf right now. Im playing pretty good. Im rolling in some great putts, and Im excited about tomorrow.
 
Anthony Kim, already a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR this year, was at 9 under with one hole to play. Right behind at 8-under 202 was a group that included K.J. Choi and D.J. Trahan, who was overpassed as a Ryder Cup pick earlier this week, his final-round 80 at the TPC Boston not helping his cause.
 
Phil Mickelson was 7 under and had faced a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 eighth hole, his 17th.
 
Furyk has not won since the Canadian Open last year, and he has not even led after any round since then. He has been steady and has done everything but win.
 
It didnt appear this would be the week when he was 1 under for the tournament on the back nine of his second round. Everything changed when he holed a wedge from 114 yards for eagle, then polished off his round with five straight birdies, none longer than 15 feet.
 
Through 10 (holes), I probably didnt see a 62 coming, Furyk said. And then you hole out a wedge and a whole bunch of putts go in. I was real happy about the way I hit it.
 
After a short break for lunch, he birdied the first hole and kept finding fairways. Furyk had warned at lunch that the hardest part of the 36-hole day is the final nine, and he was right.
 
He didnt swing through a 5-wood to the 235-yard 16th, and had to save par from the bunker with a 12-foot putt. Then came his only missed fairway of the third round on the final hole, but the determined, quiet fist pump when he sank the bogey putt spoke volumes.
 
Although it was a bogey, I ended on a good note, he said.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.