Scott in the mix through 36 at Aussie PGA

By Associated PressDecember 2, 2016, 1:42 pm

GOLD COAST, Australia - Adam Scott put together back-to-back rounds of 68 and feels like he's really back in the swing of things as he heads into the weekend at the Australian PGA Championship four shots off the pace.

Andrew Dodt followed his opening 65 with a 67 on Friday to hold the halfway lead at 12 under, two shots ahead of fellow Australian Ashley Hall and four clear of Scott and New Zealander Ryan Fox, who share third place.

Harold Varner III had a long, eventful morning before finishing before lunch at 7 under — good enough to hold up for outright fifth after two rounds. He was up 2:45 a.m., finished his first round in a share of the lead after a 65, and took the lead early in the second round before back-to-back double-bogeys on his sixth and seventh holes — the 15th and 16th holes at Royal Pines Resort. He picked up birdies on three of his last five holes for an even-par second round of 72.

Scott had an afternoon start on Friday and only had to focus on his second round. Half the field had to get up before dawn for a 5:30 a.m. tee off to finish off the first round which was postponed late Thursday because of lightning and rain. Ian Poulter was among them, getting up at 3:30 — something he's never had to do in 17 years on the tour. The 40-year-old Englishman had a 68 in his second round and was 4 under for the tournament.

Scott, who spent time on the Gold Coast while growing up in Queensland, known as Australia's Sunshine State, didn't think it was too much of a hardship for the rest of the field.

"You get up at 5 anyway here in Queensland," the former world No. 1 said.. "I felt like a sleep in."

Scott had five birdies and a bogey on Friday, and was hitting most greens with ease, "making it fairly stress free."

"It's the best I've hit in a few weeks," said Scott, who had slow starts at the Australian Open and at the World Cup of Golf last month. "It was nice to find it. I haven't had that crisp stroke through the ball for two weeks.

"I've been very cautious not to hit it too far off line — I was in a spot today where I could trust it."

Dodt finished with a bogey on the 18th on Friday after a previously blemish-free round.

"I hit the green on the last, but unfortunately rushed my first putt and then missed the one coming back. So it was a frustrating way to finish ... but I'm not going to beat myself up about it too badly."

Hall finished runner-up to Jordan Spieth at the Australian Open at Royal Sydney last month, saying the result saved him from having to go out and get a job to support his family.

He finished with a 65 in the first round, waking up at 3:17 a.m. to make it to the early start, and went through the second round in 69.

"It was a record — 3.17 isn't really a good time to wake up but everyone else did it," he said.

After starting on the back nine, Hall was down to 11 under before a triple bogey 7 at the 412-meter 4th hole.

"I was kind of cruising along before a little speed hump, but I got it back in the end," Hall said. "I hit it right off the tee. It was a pretty bad shot actually. It hit the cart path and ended up in the hazard. Took a drop backward a little bit to try and hit the shot over the tree and in the bunker and 3-putted from there."

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.