Notes Woods still getting in walking shape

By Associated PressMarch 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Tiger Woods insists his surgically repaired left knee is fine.
 
Its the right ankle that was problematic for the worlds No. 1 player on Friday.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is still trying to find his form and strength. (Getty Images)
Woods seemed to be rubbing his right leg often during the second round of the CA Championship at Doral, and said afterward that his only physical problem was that his right ankle is a little sore.
 
He didnt appear too concerned about the issue, even interrupting his own answer to break into laughter.
 
Its just stiff. I havent walked in a while, Woods said after a second-round 70 which left him at 3 under, 10 shots behind leader Phil Mickelson. Its just different. Dude, I tell you what, I need that cart.
 
This week marks Woods first stroke-play event since winning the U.S. Open last summer. He had surgery shortly after winning his 14th major championship and missed about eight months before returning at the Accenture Match Play Championship last month.
 
Most of his practice leading up to Match Play came with the aid of a cart.
 

 
PERRYS DAY: Kenny Perry made eight birdies and no bogeys on Friday, a sizzling performance that shot him up the CA Championship leaderboard.
 
It didnt surprise him. After all, hes played well at Doral before.
 
Last time I played well here, Perry said, I played with Jack Nicklaus on Saturday.
 
Hes exaggerating a tiny bit.
 
Oh, sure, the gist of his claim rings true. The first time Perry shot 64 at Doral was 1991, when he slept on the 36-hole lead and got paired with Nicklaus for the third round. Perry shot 75-77 on the weekend that year, and really hasnt been close to winning at Doral since.
 
He had a final-round 64 at Doral in 2003, finishing fifth in the event where Scott Hoch beat Jim Furyk in a Monday morning playoff.
 
The 48-year-old Perry is at 10-under 134 through two rounds this week, three shots behind Phil Mickelson and one behind Nick Watney.
 
Its been a continuation of my three wins last year and then the win early this year, said Perry, who won at the FBR Open earlier this season. Normally my game only hangs in there one or two weeks, and then I disappear, you know, for a month or two. So Ive been able to hold it together for six months now. Its been fun doing that.
 

 
STENSON STAYS DRESSED: Henrik Stenson stayed out of the mud Friday, and stayed dressed for the entire round as well.
 
Stensons striptease on Thursday, when he hit into the mud at the third hole and removed everything but his boxers and golf glove to play from the muck, is still getting plenty of attention at Doral.
 
Im happy I amused somebody with it, Stenson said.
 
He hit 3-wood off the third tee again Friday, kept it in the grass, and made par on his way to a 73.
 

 
WATNEYS CHARGE: Nick Watney never broke 70 in either of his first two trips to Doral as a pro.
 
Hes making it look easy this time.
 
Watney followed up his opening-round 66 with a 67 on Friday, getting to 11 under and sitting alone in second place, two shots behind Phil Mickelson.
 
Obviously, Im very pleased with the way Im playing, Watney said.
 
You think?
 
Hes been bogey-free through the first 36 holes, the only player in the field to pull off that feat.
 
Watney is off to the best start of his career. Hes in the CA Championship field through FedEx Cup points; hes fifth in those standings, largely from winning the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines last month.
 
Even so, it could be viewed as a mild surprise to see him playing so well this week. Watney missed the cut in 2006 at Doral, when the event was the Ford Championship. The previous year, he tied for 64th, winning $11,275.
 
First prize this week is $1.4 million.
 

 
MOVING UP, MOVING DOWN: The CA Championship leaderboard had a different look Friday.
 
Not at the very top, of course, where Phil Mickelson ' who shared the lead after Round 1 ' took the outright lead at the midway point by two shots over Nick Watney.
 
But there was plenty of big moves ' in both directions.
 
Start with Kenny Perry, who moved up 24 spots into a tie for third after a 64. And he wasnt even the big mover of the second round at Doral.
 
That distinction went to Alvaro Quiros, who matched Perrys 64 for the days best round and moved up 46 spots into a tie for eighth. Other big movers ' in the right direction ' were Thomas Aiken (66, up 42 spots to T-26), Paul Casey (66, up 25 spots to T-15) and Martin Kaymer (68, up 25 spots to T-35).
 
And then there were those headed the wrong way.
 
Retief Goosen was tied for the lead after Round 1; he shot 76 on Friday to fall 34 spots. Boo Weekley (75) dropped 41 places into a tie for 58th, and Richard Sterne fell 40 spots into a tie for 67th after shooting 75. Rory Sabbatini (74, down 35 spots to T-52) and Adam Scott (76, down 32 spots to T-72) also took big hits.
 

 
HERE AND THERE: Adam Scott got a new driver for Fridays round, after hearing a rattle in the brand-new club he had on Thursday. It wasnt a great start with the replacement club; Scott missed six of seven fairways in his opening nine holes, some of them badly, and shot 6-over 42 before making the turn. He rallied slightly and finished with a 76. For the third straight day, the Miami Heat had representation in the group following Tiger Woods. It was former Heat guard Penny Hardaway on Wednesday, current guard Chris Quinn on Thursday and recently retired center Alonzo Mourning on Friday.
 
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  • Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


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    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.


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    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

    Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

    Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

    Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

    “At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

    Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


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    With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

    “I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

    Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

    Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

    “As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

    Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

    Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

    Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

    Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.


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    Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

    There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

    “I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

    Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

    The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.