Notes OMeara in the mix No Kite flying

By Associated PressMay 30, 2010, 5:58 am
Champions TourPARKER, Colo. – Mark O’Meara’s only win on the Champions Tour came with a caveat: It was a team event and he was paired with Nick Price.

He’s in position to win again, this time flying solo.

O’Meara turned in a 5-under-par 67 on Saturday in the third round of the Senior PGA Championship, leaving him two shots behind co-leaders Jay Don Blake and Tom Lehman.

A win here would mean a lot to the 53-year-old, maybe even as much as when he hoisted the Masters and British Open trophies in 1998.

“It would be a feather in the cap,” O’Meara said. “But there’s a lot of work still out there to happen.”

The nerves are beginning to surface. Even after all these years, contending for a title still makes him antsy.

It’s a feeling he’s almost forgotten in recent years, and glad to have back.

Mark O“I’ve got to go out there and play really well to try to come out on top,” said O’Meara, who finished runner-up at the Outback Steakhouse tournament in April. “It would mean a lot.”

No one really knows the terrain at the Colorado Golf Club all that well. Only 3 years old, the course hasn’t been played that often by pros who don’t live in the area.

But O’Meara does have some familiarity with it, having traveled here two summers ago to get a look at a challenging course that was co-designed by Ben Crenshaw.

Just like then, it’s still windy.

And just like then, it remains tricky to gauge, given the thin air.

“Not just the fact that we’re at 6,000 feet or whatever, and the ball’s going 10 to 12 percent farther, but there are a lot of uphill and downhill shots, quite dramatic on this golf course,” O’Meara said.

He found a way to combat that by sinking his putts. He was a putting prodigy Saturday as he had nine one-putts, draining birdies from off the green on the 10th and 17th holes.

“Made a lot of nice putts out there,” O’Meara said. “I’ve been practicing pretty hard at home and working on it.”

As for his game plan for Sunday, it’s actually quite simple.

“It’s going to be manage yourself, be patient, fight hard, just give yourself a chance,” O’Meara said.

MOVING DOWN: Tom Kite made a move in his round Saturday, just not the one he had in mind.

In fact, this may have dealt him a serious jolt to his title aspirations.

After moving to 7 under following a birdie on the third hole, Kite began to implode, dropping six shots over the next five holes to lose touch with the leaders.

He finished his round with a 79 to drop him to 1 over for the tournament. This after carding two straight rounds of 69.

Soon after finishing up his round, Kite preferred not to talk.

“You want to talk to the leaders,” he quipped.

Kite is attempting to become the oldest golfer to win the Senior PGA since the Champions Tour began in 1980. Hale Irwin currently has that distinction, winning the event in 2004 when he was just three days shy of his 59th birthday.

This didn’t help.

“Tom Kite is almost 61 years old and to me it’s amazing how well he plays and how far he still hits it,” said Lehman, who played in the same group as Kite. “He didn’t have his best day today, but he’s a great competitor.”

COURSE RECORD: For 20 minutes, David Frost stared at golfing great Tom Watson hitting shots on the driving green, looking for any tips he could borrow and incorporate into his own game.

Turns out, he picked a good swing model.

After watching Watson strike one crisp shot after another, Frost tried to emulate Watson’s hand positioning on the club. That tiny change helped Frost shoot a course-record 7-under 65 on Saturday.

“Unbeknownst to him, I did learn something from him,” said Frost, a 10-time winner on the PGA Tour. “I picked up a little grip change that I thought I should do. … I noticed his left hand is nice and strong on the golf club. I fiddled with my left hand and fiddled with my right hand. So, I made it a little stronger.”

Frost was up for just about anything, especially after shooting a 77 on Friday.

He never expected such instant results.

Frost carded seven birdies on a rather calm morning, allowing him to sneak his way back into the tournament as he sits at 2 under heading into the final 18 holes.

“Going out today you have nothing to lose,” the South African said. “You do know the golf course a little better, and so your attitude definitely changes a little bit. But you don’t want to go out there and freewheel too much.”

GOODES & PLENTY: Mike Goodes became a professional only two years ago when he turned 50, wanting to see if he had the game to play with the big boys of golf.

Heading into Sunday, he’s keeping pace.

Goodes is 4 under for the tournament after a solid round of 70 on Saturday.

“I made a lot of good pars and putted the ball really well. That saved my round,” said Goodes, who won the North Carolina Amateur in 1989 and 2006.

Away from the course, Goodes is co-owner of a plastic recycling company in Reidsville, N.C. His partner is holding down the fort while he’s at the Colorado Golf Club this week.

“I’m semiretired from that anyway,” Goodes said, grinning.

Leaving more time for, what else, golf.

“I’m just like thousands of other pretty good players who turn 50 and want to see if they can play,” Goodes said.

CHIP SHOTS: Six of the last eight winners of the Senior PGA have rallied from behind on the final afternoon. … Chip Beck has carded a 1-under 71 in all three rounds. … After shooting an 80 on Friday, Brad Bryant responded with a 67. He’s at 1 under for the tournament.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.

Lexi, Finau 3 back going into final QBE round

By Associated PressDecember 9, 2017, 11:58 pm

NAPLES, Fla. - Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry shot an 8-under 64 in modified alternate shot and shared the lead Saturday with Steve Stricker and Sean O'Hair going into the final round of the QBE Shootout.

McDowell (Northern Ireland) and Lowry (Ireland), the only international players among the 12 teams at Tiburon Golf Club, began to erase a five-shot deficit with an eagle and birdie on the opening two holes and they dropped only one shot all day in blustery conditions.

Stricker and O'Hair started the back nine with a pair of bogeys, rallied with three straight birdies and then dropped one last shot from the bunker on the 17th.

The teams were tied at 18-under 126.

Lexi Thompson, the lone LPGA player in the field, teamed with Tony Finau for a 66 that put them in the hunt going into the final round. Thompson and Finau were three shots behind.

McDowell and Lowry tied for ninth in the World Cup last year. They grew up playing Irish junior golf and appreciate the difficulty of alternate shot, even the modified version when both players hit tee shots.

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

''To go out and shoot 8 under in that format in these conditions today, I think it speaks volumes about the fact we're both playing pretty well,'' McDowell said. ''We both had an opportunity to hit some good shots out there today and make some good putts, and it gives you a little bit of momentum going in there tomorrow.''

The format for the final round is better ball.

Stricker and O'Hair have each won the QBE Shootout, but not as partners.

Stricker, captain of the winning American team at the Presidents Cup, said he couldn't get comfortable and put O'Hair in some tough spots.

''We should have probably been two or three shots better than what we were,'' Stricker said. ''Sean played another good round of golf and made some great putts in there to keep us going, but all in all, we're in good shape.''

Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot 70 and were two shots out of the lead.

Defending champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English had a 72 and were tied for last place with Zach Johnson and Charley Hoffman, who shot 70. They were nine shots out of the lead.