Lehman leads Couples by one going into Schwab finale

By Associated PressNovember 3, 2012, 11:35 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tom Lehman took the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and moved closer to becoming the first player to win the season points title two straight years.

Lehman birdied the final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples on Saturday in the Champions Tour's season-ending event. Couples also shot a 62 to join Lehman in the final group, making two eagles in a round that could have been much lower.

''I really like the pairing,'' Lehman said. ''Hopefully, he plays his best, and, hopefully, I play my best and we'll see what happens. ... You got to go out there and make birdies and shoot low again.''

Lehman shot the lowest round of his Champions Tour career for the second straight day. At 63-62 and 15 under, he was a stroke off the tour record for consecutive rounds set by Bruce Fleisher at 60-64 and 16 under in the 2002 RJR Championship.

''I played really well the last two days, probably as well as I've played in six months,'' said Lehman, a two-time winner this year. ''I hit the ball very solidly both days. I gave myself a lot of chances for birdie. I've made my share, obviously. I think the big thing though is the saves. I've made a couple of really amazing key saves over the last couple of days.''

Couples is playing for the first time since a back injury forced him to withdraw during the first round of the Boeing Classic outside Seattle in late August. Before this week, he hadn't completed a competitive round since winning the Senior British Open in July for his second victory of the year.

''If I can play like this every two months, I think I might finish my career playing four times a year and just say, ''The heck with it,''' Couples said, joking.

Lehman was 17 under after three days in perfect conditions on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course. He entered the week second behind Bernhard Langer in the Charles Schwab Cup competition for a $1 million annuity.

Langer, tied for 10th at 6 under after a 70, was a projected 529 points behind Lehman after starting play Thursday with a 211-point lead. The tournament winner will get 880 points, with players receiving a point for every $500 they earn in the $2.5 million event.

Langer eagled the par-5 18th hole to get a little closer to Lehman, who would win the title with a tournament victory no matter where Langer finishes.

''I was certainly not happy with my day today,'' Langer said. ''My mindset has to be aggressive tomorrow. I'll pretty much go at everything.''

Jay Haas, five strokes ahead of Lehman at the start of the round after matching the tour record Friday with a 60, had a 69 to drop two strokes back.

''I just wasn't as sharp,'' Haas said. ''But the birdie at the last hole still gives me a chance tomorrow, and leaves a better taste in my mouth.''

Lehman made his best par save on the par-4 16th, holing a bending 35-foot putt from the fringe after popping up a 3-wood drive into a rock outcropping in the middle of the fairway.

''I might have teed it up a hair too high, but I just popped it up and it landed right in the rocks,'' Lehman said. ''I actually got kind of lucky that I could at least chip it out and hit a 9-iron.''

His putt broke about 5 feet.

''It was one of those ones, quite frankly, I was just hoping to get close,'' Lehman said. ''I was going to take my licking and keep on ticking with a bogey.''

He then holed a 20-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th and got up and down for birdie from the front greenside bunker on the 18.

Couples chipped in for eagle on the par-5 eighth, his low runner veering to the right in the last few feet. He hit a 3-iron from 239 yards to 8 feet on the par-5 15th to set up his second eagle, and got to 16 under with a 20-foot birdie putt on 17.

He also missed five birdie tries inside 12 feet in the middle of the round, and settled for a par on the 18 after hitting his approach into the greenside bunker well left of the flag.

''I did leave a couple out there, but I made a couple of nice 20-footers and, obviously, chipped in on No. 8 for eagle,'' Couples said.

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."