Notes Goose on the Loose Wilting Rose

By Associated PressApril 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- If not for ol' No. 18, Retief Goosen would be in great shape.
 
The two-time U.S. Open champion is 6 over, four strokes off the lead going into the final round of the Masters. But he's played the par-4 18th at 4 over through the first three rounds, including a bogey Saturday.
 
Make par on 18 the first three days, and it would be Goosen, not Tiger Woods, playing with Stuart Appleby in the final group Sunday.
 
'It was a disappointing finish,' Goosen said. 'It would have been nice to get a couple in in the last few holes as I would have been right back in it.'
 
Still, Goosen did make the biggest move of the day, jumping into a tie for eighth from 46th place.
 
With chilly temperatures and a gusty north wind causing scores to balloon across the leaderboard, Goosen had the only sub-par round in the field, a 2-under 70. Woods and Lee Westwood were the only players who even got close, each shooting 72.
 
The field averaged 77.35 strokes, the highest-scoring round since Augusta switched to Bentgrass greens in 1981.
 
'Retief shot a fantastic score and probably played in colder conditions,' said Appleby, who teed off about 3 1/2 hours after Goosen. 'I'm sure his round would have been littered with some par saves, near misses.'
 
Starting on No. 7, Goosen had birdies on three of the next five holes to bump himself up the leaderboard. He had another birdie on the par-5 15th, hitting a sand wedge to 3 feet.
 
But he found himself in trouble -- again -- on 18. He hit a 5-iron to the right side of the green, then chipped to the fringe before two-putting. He bogeyed the hole Thursday, and made double on Friday after losing a ball in the trees.
 
Goosen is well aware that might be too much to overcome Sunday.
 
'I might be a little bit too far behind,' he said, 'unless I shoot 64 or something tomorrow.'
 
BIG FINISHES
U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy won a pair of crystal goblets for that nice eagle he made on the par-5 13th hole.
 
And for the 9 he made two holes later? Well, he'll get to enjoy a pressure-free round at Augusta National on Sunday.
 
Ogilvy tried to play smart on the par-5 15th, laying up for the third shot over the water and onto the narrow green. But that third shot hit short and trickled down the closely mown hill into the water. His caddie tossed him another ball and he dropped it at the exact same spot -- and suffered the exact same result.
 
His 9 was the highest score recorded this week. It didn't match the highest score ever on the hole -- an 11 -- but that wasn't the point. The quadruple bogey dropped Ogilvy from a tie for sixth place into a tie for 19th. He finished at 10 over, eight strokes out of the lead.
 
Ogilvy wasn't the only one livin' large on the back nine.
 
Stuart Appleby posted a 7 on the par-4 17th that briefly cost him the third-round lead. Luke Donald dropped a couple of spots on the leaderboard with a double on 18.
 
Appleby put his tee shot into a bunker -- on the No. 7 green, the next hole over. He then hit into another bunker, though it was at least on the right hole. Then he finished it off with a three-putt.
 
'I would love to have that sand shot again,' the Aussie said. 'It's not that I was being greedy, but look, I should have been in the middle of the fairway, no two ways about it. Or somewhere a bit more respectable.
 
'That was the hole that I let a couple of shots slip, for sure.'
 
But it didn't cost him too much. Appleby finished the day at 2 over, good enough for a 1-stroke lead.
 
NO WILTING ROSE
Justin Rose wasn't about to complain about his round. Compared to the debacle he endured three years ago, the nasty conditions at Augusta seemed quite pleasant.
 
Leading after two days in 2004, the Englishman found trouble everywhere. Wood, sand, water, rough -- the only thing he missed was the Eisenhower Tree along the 17th fairway. He shot a 9-over 81 that matched Lee Trevino for the worst third round ever by a 36-hole leader at the Masters.
 
And after bogeying his first two holes Saturday, Rose looked as if he was headed for another horrid day.
 
But he made a nice up-and-down on the par-4 No. 3 and holed a putt to save par on No. 4. Three holes later, he made a birdie that was his first in 37 holes.
 
His 75 left him tied for second with Tiger Woods at 3 over.
 
'Obviously I got off to a bad start. Somewhat reminiscent of my third round three years ago. Which some people might remember,' said Rose, who is back at Augusta for the first time since 2004.
 
'What I was really pleased with today was that didn't really affect me,' he said. 'I played one shot at a time, managed to create a little bit of momentum. ... It really turned my round around ... and then I began to feel quite confident.'
 
BACKING UP
It's hard to find asphalt anywhere on the pristine grounds at Augusta National.
 
Brett Wetterich did.
 
It's not easy hitting shots from the trampled walkways where thousands of fans trod.
 
Tim Clark had to.
 
Inexperienced in situations like this, the second-round co-leaders endured all the troubles many thought they might. They combined to go 13 over through their first 10 holes. By the time the ugly day was over, they were struggling to stay in contention.
 
Clark's 8-over 80 left him in a pack at 6 over, four strokes off the lead. Wetterich shot an 83 and is 9 over.
 
Worst of all? Only some of their woes could be blamed on the weather.
 
Clark, for instance, got confused on which club to use for his long approach into the first green, maybe in part because of a swirling wind. But knocking it 15 yards past the green and into that walkway couldn't have factored into any plan. He made bogey there.
 
Wetterich, meanwhile, had no one to blame but himself for the snap hook drive he hit on No. 2, landing him on a service road well left of the fairway, the rough, the trees or pretty much anything resembling a golf course.
 
He actually salvaged a bogey there, but came back with a 7 on the next hole that included missing a short putt, and the meltdown was on.
 
DIVOTS
Nobody had a bogey-free round Saturday. ... Tim Clark leads the field in driving accuracy after three rounds, hitting 37 of 42 fairways (88.1 percent). Jim Furyk is best in greens in regulation, making 37 of 54 (68.52 percent). Lee Westwood has taken the fewest putts (77) while he and Stuart Appleby are tied for the most birdies at 14 each. ... Trevor Immelman, tied with Sandy Lyle in last place at 16 over, made only three pars on the front nine on his way to a 43.
 
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  • Day finishes strong, leads Aussie Open by one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 6:12 am

    Jason Day birdied three of his final five holes to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand in Sydney:

    Leaderboard: Day (-10), Lucas Herbert (-9), Jonas Blixt (-7), Matt Jones (-7), Cameron Smith (-6), Rhein Gibson (-5), Anthony Quayle (-5)

    What it means: Day has a great shot at his first victory – in his final start – in 2017. It’s been a frustrating campaign for Day, who has dropped to 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. A win this week, in his native Open, would be a huge boost as he embarks on the 2018 season.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Day’s 2-under 69 wasn’t the lowest of the day, but it was the most important. Day parred his first 13 holes before birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He bogeyed the 17th, but finished with a birdie at the par-5 18th for the outright lead.

    Best of the rest: Blixt’s 66 put him in position to win. Meanwhile, Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya shot the low round of the day, a 6-under 65, to reach 4 under for the tournament.

    Biggest disappointment: No one really blew it on Saturday, but Jordan Spieth was unable to make a move. His 1-under 70 has him eight shots off the lead. Herbert managed an even-par 71 but he had a two-stroke lead until an errant tee shot at the par-3 11th. Speaking of which …

    Shot of the day: Not every Shot of the Day is a great shot. Herbert made a long birdie putt on the eighth and was two clear of the field through 10 holes. But he hit his tee shot long at the 11th and was not able to find it. He had to re-tee, made double bogey and lost his advantage. He’s now chasing a major champion in the final round.

    Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 4:30 am

    Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.

    Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

    “I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.

    Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.

    “Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.

    Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.

    “Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”

    South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.