Murray makes Barbasol his first PGA Tour win

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2017, 11:23 pm

OPELIKA, Ala. - Grayson Murray unhappily found himself with a couple of extra days to prepare for the Barbasol Championship - and ended up with a breakthrough victory.

After missing the weekend cut last week in the John Deere Classic, the rookie won his first PGA Tour title Sunday. He holed a 5-foot par putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory.

Murray closed with a 3-under 68 to edge Chad Collins on Grand National's Lake Course. The 23-year-old former Wake Forest and Arizona State player set up the winning par with a long putt from below the hole. He finished at 21-under 263, a tournament record.

''I was in control,'' said Murray, who earned $630,000. ''I didn't get out of my game plan once. I was going to let them make the mistakes instead of myself. I was going to make them have to birdie the last hole, or the last two holes. I was playing for par on 17 and 18. Those are two hard holes and I knew if I parred both of those they would have to do something special to beat me.''

Murray arrived in Alabama a week earlier after suddenly finding himself with an open weekend. It paid off, the win securing him a spot in the PGA Championship in his home state of North Carolina, though not the Masters.

Murray came in ranked 124th in the FedEx Cup standings, with the top 125 qualifying for the playoffs. He jumped to 58th.

''My goal is to get in the playoffs this year,'' he said. ''That was my goal. I didn't set my goals too high for my first year.''

A big key to his victory: ''That was the best I've ever driven it in my life.''

Collins closed with a 68 two days after posting one of the tournament's two rounds of 60. A tap-in for par on No. 18 left him waiting to see if Murray would stumble.

Collins had a run of four birdies in five holes leading into the 18th. He missed a 6-footer with a shot at another one and a potential tie with Murray.

''I gave myself an opportunity,'' he said. ''It was a nervy bad putt. It wasn't obviously what I wanted, but to put yourself in that position, that's ultimately what you're trying to do. And the more times I'm able to do that and put myself in that situation, maybe one day it will be my day. Just today it wasn't.''

Collins tied for fourth at the Honda Classic and his best previous finish was third last year in the Texas Open.

''It's my best finish ever out here on Tour, had the best round I've ever had on Tour,'' he said. ''You gain tons of confidence from this going forward. You can only draw positives from it. ''

Brian Gay had a 65 to tie for third at 19 under with third-round leader Scott Stallings (71) and Tag Ridings (69).

Coming off a third-round 60, Stallings took the solo lead with a birdie on No. 10 that put him under par for the first time all day. He fell back with a double bogey on the par-5 16th, three-putting after taking a drop following an errant shot.

Amateur Sam Burns of LSU tied for sixth at 18 under after a 66, matching Ryan Blaum (64) and Cameron Tringale (68).

Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk, who didn't qualify for the British Open, finished at 11 under after a third straight 68.

The final round started early on two tees because of a bad weather forecast, but the conditions held steady in sweltering heat.

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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.