Notes Youthful Floyd in Contention at Laurel Valley

By Associated PressMay 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
LIGONIER, Pa. -- Raymond Floyd supposedly was too old to win the U.S. Open at 43 in 1986, but he did. Because of an aching back and sporadic tournament play, he's also supposed to be too old at 62 to win the Senior PGA.
He hasn't yet, but he thinks he has a chance.
``I think if I can get in it and get myself close enough, yeah, there's a chance,'' he said Saturday.
Floyd hasn't finished higher than a 21st-place tie in six Champions Tour events this year, yet is two shots off the Senior PGA lead midway through the rain-delayed third round. The third round finishes up Sunday morning after being halted Saturday, with the fourth round to follow immediately afterward.
``It would be pretty special (to win),'' said Floyd, whose last Champions Tour victory came in 2000. ``I feel 31 today.''
That's a lot younger than the 22-time PGA Tour winner feels most days, due to a persistent back problem that doesn't allow him to practice. All he does is play.
``I don't play golf for a living any more,'' Floyd said. ``I play because I enjoy being in the ropes, but I don't practice. I don't work on my game. Those things hurt ... (but) I can't. My back won't allow it.''
Jock Hutchinson also was 62 when he won the Senior PGA in 1947, but that was long before the current-day senior tour started.
This Senior PGA is special for The Golf Channel's Dave Marr III, whose father won his only major title -- the 1965 PGA Championship -- at Laurel Valley Golf Club.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of that victory, the younger Marr scattered some of his father's ashes on Laurel Valley's 11th, 17th and 18th holes -- key holes that helped the elder Marr outlast Jack Nicklaus and Billy Casper and win the PGA.
Previously, Marr's ashes also were placed on some top U.S. courses and two English courses -- Walton Heath, where Marr played in the Ryder Cup, and Royal Birkdale, where Marr was the captain of the 1981 Ryder Cup team that defeated Europe 18 1/2 -9 1/2 . Among the U.S. courses were Augusta, Pebble Beach and Shinnecock, plus Memorial Park in Houston, where Marr learned to play golf.
``We didn't exactly get permission from some of these places,'' Dave Marr III said.
There won't be any more ashes scatter -- the younger Marr said the last were spread at Laurel Valley.
The elder Marr, an ABC golf analyst after ending his playing career, died of stomach cancer at age 63 on Oct, 5, 1997. He was the PGA player of the year in 1965.
A hard rain fell Saturday from the time the early starters teed off just after 9 a.m. until play was stopped for 1 hour, 45 minutes at 11:41 a.m. The unfavorable playing conditions certainly affected some golfers' games.
Bob Charles, who shot a 2-under 70 Friday, was 8 over for his round through eight holes before play was stopped. He had three consecutive bogeys from Nos. 3-4 then took a quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 eight en route to his third-round 82.
Charles, at 69 one of the oldest in the field, has rounds of 80 and 82 around Friday's where-did-that-come-from 70, which saw him miss shooting his age by just one stroke.
Others also struggled in the rain, which was so heavy at times than some greens -- especially No. 6 -- finally became too waterlogged to play. Play resumed later in the day, only to be stopped for the second and final time late in the afternoon.
Curtis Strange, near the top of the leaderboard after the first round but now near the bottom, had two double bogeys and three bogeys in his first nine holes and finished with a 77. Dave Stockton had four bogeys and a double bogey in his first eight holes en route to his 77.
``You just got to try not to get going bad and lose any ground,'' said Darrell Kestner, a club pro from Glen Cove, N.Y., who had a 71. ``If you put up a decent round, you might pass some good players.''
About a half-dozen Pitt football players are working as security guards. ... Those who finished the third round Saturday before rain suspended play will tee off starting at 6:55 a.m. Sunday. The 33 still on the course will start teeing off at 8:15 a.m., then go immediately into the fourth round, with all 33 off the tee for the final round by 10:55 a.m. ... Jerry Pate, who is tied with Mike Reid and Dana Quigley for the lead, hasn't won a tournament since the 1982 Players Championship -- a span of 23 years, 2 months. Reid's last win came in the 1988 World Series of Golf, a span of 16 years, 9 months.
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    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 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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    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.