Notes Big Moves for the Big Three

By Associated PressSeptember 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. -- Phil Mickelson played an eight-hole stretch in 7 under par. Right about the time he was cooling off, Tiger Woods played six straight holes in 6 under par.
 
Filling out the 'Big Three' was Vijay Singh, who had his best round in a month and was bringing up the rear.
 
The glamour group at the Deutsche Bank Championship lived up to expectations Saturday. One day after they combined to go 3 over par in the opening round, they were a combined 19 under in swirling conditions at TPC Boston.
 
Woods and Mickelson each had a 64. Singh, in danger of missing three straight cuts for the first time in his career, had a 66.
 
'We all made some putts and got it going,' Woods said. 'When you get in those groups, when you all feed off one another, when you're all going low, all making birdies, those are fun pairings to get involved in.'
 
Mickelson was the first to get going, chipping in for birdie on the 15th and for eagle on the 18th, sprinkling in birdies at No. 16 and No. 1, then hitting a flop shot over a mound on the par-5 second that spun back to 3 feet for another birdie.
 
'I was 7 under through eight holes, and that kind of was the round for me,' said Mickelson, who was at 8-under 134.
 
He was six shots ahead of Woods after 11 holes when Woods took off. After a 15-foot birdie on the third, Woods drove the 298-yard fourth green and holed the 35-foot eagle putt, then added birdies on the sixth and seventh holes. He wound up at 6-under 136.
 
'I just needed to make a few more birdies, and all of a sudden I caught fire on the back nine,' Woods said. 'I think I went 6 under through six, and that basically got me back into the tournament.'
 
Singh was at 3 over for the tournament until running off four straight birdies around the turn.
 
'We were more into it today,' Singh said. 'That was more how we thought we'd play.'
 
It was the first time on the PGA TOUR they played together, courtesy of a PGA TOUR Playoffs system that groups players in the first two rounds according to their standing in the points list. Woods was No. 4, Mickelson No. 5 and Singh No. 6.
 
REGULAR RICH:
Rich Beem lives the good life on the PGA TOUR, playing the best courses with the best players, taking part in pro-ams with the rich and famous. But he still enjoys going back to his roots -- a municipal golf course, a few beers, lots of laughs.
 
Beem was having lunch with his caddie, Billy Heim, on Monday in Rhode Island when he mentioned he was going to play golf and the waitress recommended a course in Providence called Triggs, an old Donald Ross design.
 
'I played with two police officers from Rhode Island,' Beem said. 'They had their day off. They finished playing golf, but I don't know how. They were really enjoying their day off.'
 
This wasn't the first time Beem has gone from TPCs to municipal tracks. He was asked if he would pay $400 to play Pebble Beach.
 
'Oh, God, no,' Beem said. 'But I'd pay $15 to play El Dump-o-rama down the street with the bowl-shaped greens and the bunkers that haven't been raked in four years. Absolutely. That's fun. That's fun golf. We play these beautiful courses all the time, but what's wrong with going out and playing fun golf now and then, shooting whatever, play in your bare feet.'
 
Heim is more than just a caddie. He lost in the final match of the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur to Brett Quigley, who happened to play with Beem the first two rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
How does a former PGA champion wind up on a municipal golf course?
 
'I'm just another guy who took a day off of a work and went to go play golf,' he said. 'Is that so bad?'
 
LOVE HURTS:
Davis Love III left the TPC Boston with nowhere to play the next two weeks.
 
Headed toward the worst season of his career, Love needed at least a top-10 finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship to advance to the third round of the playoffs.
 
But he missed the cut with rounds of 75-70, and will not be at the TOUR Championship for the first time since 1994.
 
It is not clear how often Love will play in the Fall Series, if at all. Those are seven events that start the week after the TOUR Championship and are designed for those trying to finish in the top 125 to keep their cards. That won't be a problem, as Love already has earned more than $1 million.
 
His worst season as a pro was his rookie year in 1986 when he finished 77th on the money list. Love started this week at No. 78.
 
EARLY DEPARTURES:
David Toms was No. 27 in the playoff standings going into the Deutsche Bank Championship, and now he'll be scrambling next week to get into the TOUR Championship. Toms opened with a 75 and was 6 over for the tournament after nine holes Saturday when he withdrew with a back injury.
 
That will put him around No. 30 going to the BMW Championship outside Chicago.
 
Stephen Leaney also withdrew after nine holes (5 over) with a wrist injury. Fred Funk (76) and J.P. Hayes (79) withdrew without starting the second round. Those three were outside the top 70 and saw their FedExCup season end.
 
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.