Karlsson stays out front at FedEx St. Jude Classic

By Associated PressJune 11, 2011, 10:19 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Robert Karlsson shot a 2-under 68 Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard through three rounds at the St. Jude Classic.

Karlsson looked ready to run away from the field, leading by as much as five strokes on the back nine. But the Swede closed with his only bogeys of the day on the final two holes, dropping to 11 under and one stroke ahead of Harrison Frazar.

Frazar said he thought Karlsson was in total control of the tournament so he focused only on playing. He got hot and birdied three of his final four holes to finish with a 64 that got him to 10 under. That included rolling in a 42-footer for birdie on No. 18.

John Merrick (67) is third, followed by Retief Goosen, who turned in the best 18-hole score this week at TPC Southwind before being matched by Frazar. Fredrik Jacobson (68) and Keegan Bradley (70) are tied for fifth.

The 41-year-old Karlsson is in his first full year on the PGA Tour after earning an exemption by finishing in the top 125 on the money list with 11 events in 2010. That included a second-place finish here a year ago, when he lost a four-hole playoff to Lee Westwood in his best showing yet on the tour.

He is trying to become the seventh first-time winner on tour this year and the first player to win his first title in Memphis since Dicky Pride in 1994.

But Karlsson is no stranger to closing out tournaments. He has won 11 times on the European Tour and has yet shoot over par on this course in seven rounds.

“Robert looks like he’s not going to fall back,” Goosen said. “Playing really solid. Need to get another round like this in tomorrow to get a chance to catch him.”

Of course, Goosen made his remarks before Karlsson’s final two holes.

Karlsson was leading by four until he bogeyed No. 17 after sticking his approach into a greenside bunker. He blasted out to 14 feet and just missed the par putt. Frazar finished up on 18 with his big birdie putt, and Karlsson’s second shot on the final hole landed well right of the green.

With water on the other side, Karlsson’s chip bounced once and stopped in the longer grass short of the green. Trying to save par, he came up 2 feet short and settled for a bogey that trimmed his lead to a mere stroke.

The TPC Southwind has been playing fairly tough for everyone but Karlsson, with the Champion Bermuda greens baked enough from temperatures in the mid-90s to make them almost crusty.

The 6-foot-5 Karlsson posted pars on his first two holes and put distance between himself and playing partners Colt Knost and Bradley almost immediately.

Merrick gave chase with three straight birdies, his third moving him to 8 under and just a stroke behind Karlsson. That was the closest anyone else got until the end of the round.

Karlsson got his first birdie with a 3-footer on the par-5 No. 3 and birdied No. 4 to push his lead back to three at 11 under. He rolled in a 35-footer for birdie on the par-4 No. 6 for a four-stroke lead that was the biggest this week until Merrick bogeyed No. 7 to make it five.

With the lead, Karlsson just methodically worked his way around the course. He two-putted from 41 feet on No. 10, knocking down a 6-footer for par. He two-putted from 36 feet on the par-3 No. 14.

Karlsson managed to birdie even when he missed a couple fairways. He needed a drop after a ruling from an official when his tee shot on No. 15 landed near a drain right of the fairway 111 yards from the pin. Karlsson stuck his shot within 7 feet and rolled in the putt to reach 13 under.

Frazar had seven birdies with a lone bogey. He was rolling at the end of his day, sinking a 13-foot birdie on No. 15, a 6-footer on No. 16 and his long one on 18. He is seeking his first tour win as well.

DIVOTS: If Karlsson wins, he would become the first player since Ryuji Imada at the AT&T Classic to lose in a playoff, then win the same event the next year, which he did in 2007 and 2008. Phil Mickelson also finished second in a playoff at the Northern Trust Open in 2007 and won that event in 2008. … After 83 players made the 36-hole cut, the field was cut again Saturday to the low 70 and ties, leaving 11 out of Sunday’s final round.

 

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.