Levy leads Quiros by 3 at China Open

By Associated PressApril 26, 2014, 1:09 pm

SHENZHEN, China – Alexander Levy of France overcame driving rain and gusting winds to shoot a 2-under 70 at the China Open on Saturday and maintain a three-stroke lead over Alvaro Quiros of Spain heading into the final round.

Levy, aiming for his first European Tour title, birdied three straight holes on the back nine, but opened the door for Quiros with bogeys on No. 14 and 16. The Spaniard couldn't close the gap, however, making two bogeys of his own down the stretch.

Levy has a 16-under total of 200.

Finland's Mikko Ilonen was four strokes back in third place after a 67, while England's Tommy Fleetwood (67) and Spain's Adrian Otaegui (71) were another stroke behind in a tie for fourth.

A day after 15-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang failed to make the cut, another young homegrown talent, 18-year-old Li Haotong, shot a 67 to match the low score of the day and jump into joint eighth at 7 under.



Third-ranked Henrik Stenson, however, didn't make up any ground on the leaders, falling 12 shots behind after shooting a 71. The Swede needed a win here to take over the top ranking from Tiger Woods - a goal that now appears well out of reach.

Levy wasn't nearly as accurate as he was on Friday, when he holed a 20-foot putt for eagle and sunk eight birdies en route to setting a new course record at Genzon Golf Club. But he handled the nasty weather at the start of his round and maintained his focus after his late bogeys, managing to avoid a third with a 15-foot putt for par on the 18th.

The Frenchman knows he will face a lot more pressure on Sunday, even with a three-stroke cushion. Last year, he was tied with Ernie Els for the lead heading into the final round of the BMW International Open, but committed four bogeys in his last nine holes to slip to third.

''I will be nervous, but because you're nervous doesn't mean you can't play well,'' he said. ''I'll sleep nicely because I'm tired. It was a long day with the weather and difficult golf course.''

Quiros has six European Tour titles to his credit but hasn't gotten a win - or even a top-three finish - since his title at the Dubai World Championship in November 2011.

''If Alex plays really well then we might not be able to catch him,'' he said. ''It has been two and a half years since I won so I have not had those feeling for a long time.''

With the leaders so far ahead, Li is playing for another goal - a big payday. The golf club has pledged to double the purse for any Chinese player finishing in the top five.

While Guan has received most of the attention in China after his breakthrough performance at last year's Masters, where he became the youngest player to make the cut, Li is perhaps better poised to make an immediate impact on the game.

Last year, he signed an endorsement deal with Nike and played remarkably well against elite fields at the HSBC Champions and BMW Masters in his hometown of Shanghai, finishing tied for 39th and 42nd, respectively. And after practicing on the Genzon Golf Club course for the last two months, he's close to his first top-five finish.

''I'm very happy. I want to keep that name on the leaderboard,'' he said.

England's Ian Poulter also shot a 67 Saturday to move up to equal 11th place. But Poulter said he was still smarting from a two-stroke penalty he incurred on the 13th hole Friday when he improperly measured his drop after hitting into the rough. He took a triple-bogey 8 on the hole, following a double bogey on the 12th.

''I shouldn't be happy with the position I'm in. I dropped five shots yesterday in two holes. It's unacceptable. It's disgraceful,'' he said. ''I should be a lot closer to the lead, but that's golf. You can't have it perfect all the time.''

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.”

Getty Images

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.