Oosthie shares Nelson lead after late Rd. 3 charge

By Associated PressMay 17, 2014, 10:33 pm

IRVING, Texas – Louis Oosthuizen is still looking for a remedy for his recurring back issues.

A victory at the Byron Nelson Championship would sure make him feel much better.

''The last year and a half was really frustrating,'' he said.

Oosthuizen birdied four of the last five holes for a 6-under 64 on Saturday and a share of the third-round lead with Brendon Todd. The 2010 British Open champion had the low round of the day after recovering from bogeys on two of the first four holes.

''I made a nice birdie on 5, and just really made some good putts,'' Oosthuizen said. ''Every opportunity I had for birdie I actually made. My eye was good today, and I hit a lot of them really close.''

Todd made 12 consecutive pars before holing a 4-foot birdie at No. 18 for a 68 to match Oosthuizen at 10-under 200.

On the morning of the Nelson's final round last year, Oosthuizen withdrew because of a neck issue. He missed extended time last season, and is still bothered by the back even though he won at home in South Africa in January.


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Mike Weir, James Hahn and Gary Woodland were a stroke back.

''That's what I've been working toward the last few years, to get myself back here in this position, and looking forward to the challenge,'' said Weir, the 44-year-old left-hander.

Weir, the 2003 Masters champion who hasn't had a top-25 finish since 2010 when the Canadian had an elbow injury, shot 67 while missing 4-foot putts on Nos. 15 and 16. Hahn's 65 included five birdies in a row on the back nine, and Woodland shot 66 with a double bogey at No. 7.

Morgan Hoffmann twice fell out of the lead after hitting drives left into the water and making double bogey, at Nos. 11 and 18. He finished with a 68 and was tied for sixth at 8 under with three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, Marc Leishman and Graham DeLaet.

Todd's only bogey was at the 420-yard fourth hole, when his approach went over the green and he two-putted from 8 1/2 feet. But that was sandwiched by long birdies.

After beginning the day with a two-stroke lead, Todd had to make a 4-foot birdie on No. 18 to regain a share of the lead.

''I wanted to get one more birdie under my belt so I could be that much closer to shooting the score I need to win Sunday,'' Todd said.

Oosthuizen was 2 under and well off the pace after his bogey at No. 4, when he hit his second and third shots from the rough and then was in a greenside bunker. The South African blasted to about 10 feet and had to make that putt for bogey, then made three birdies in a row.

He made an 8-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth, and followed that with an approach to 6 feet at No. 6 and a two-putt from 58 feet at the par-5 seventh. There was another string of three consecutive birdies at Nos. 14-16 before a closing 4 1/2-footer at No. 18.

''It's always nice finishing a round on a high,'' Oosthuizen said. ''You sort of feed off that the next day, and that keeps you going.''

Hoffmann was at 10 under and alone in the lead when he hit his drive into the water to the left at the 320-yard 11th hole, with Weir was just ahead on the green.

Weir sank a 2-footer for his fourth consecutive birdie to get to 10 under. Hoffmann then hit another drive after his penalty and wound up with a double bogey. But Weir missed putts from about 5 feet on both Nos. 15 and 16, the latter lipping the cup.

Hoffmann was again 10 under after birdies at Nos. 15-16, but hit his drive at No. 18 into the water and then hit twice out of the same greenside bunker.

Scott Scheffler, a 17-year-old top junior from Dallas playing on a sponsor exemption, made a hole-in-one using a 5-iron on the 218-yard second hole. He is the fourth amateur since 1983 with an ace in a PGA Tour event. That was part of his 69 that also included five bogeys and four birdies to get to 2 under for the tournament.

Dallas native Jordan Spieth, now 20 and ranked eighth in the world, made the Nelson cut as an amateur at ages 16 and 17. Spieth shot 73 on Saturday and was even par overall.

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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


FALLING

Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.