Scott WDs Wagner Leads After 36

By Associated PressApril 5, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Shell Houston OpenHOUSTON -- Defending champion Adam Scott withdrew from the Houston Open on Saturday because of fever and swollen glands.
He shared the first-round lead with Johnson Wagner after they shot course-record, 9-under 63s Thursday. But Scott, who has been ailing all week, struggled to a 76 Friday.
Wagner shot a 3-under 69 early Friday to take the outright lead at 12 under.
While Scott faltered, another Australian moved into contention. Mathew Goggin shot a 64 to move within three shots of Wagner before an afternoon storm delayed play for 1 hour, 45 minutes on Friday. More rain came later and the second round was suspended with 36 players still on the course.
Nicholas Thompson wrapped up a second-round 70 on Saturday morning to join Ben Crane and Jose Maria Olazabal at 5 under. The third round was to begin about 11 a.m. EDT and sunshine was forecast for the rest of the weekend.
Scott played 14 holes after Fridays rain and finished with five bogeys and a double bogey
Goggin picked up the slack for the boys from Down Under, kick-starting his round with two eagles on the front nine. Charley Hoffman joined Goggin at 9 under after a 70.
Six Aussies have won eight Houston Opens, including Scott last year and Stuart Appleby in 2006. Appleby was the runner-up to Scott in 2007.
Goggin joked about why Australians have had so much success in this tournament.
Maybe were just better on courses you dont have to think around, he said. You just smash it and go find it. You dumb it down for us and we do all right.
Goggin blames erratic putting for his up-and-down year'two top-20 finishes and two missed cuts in eight starts. He finished tied for 50th in New Orleans last week and came to Houston ranked 136th in putts per round (29.62).
He solved that issue on the fifth hole Friday by holing an 8-iron shot from the fairway and a bunker shot for another eagle on the par-5 eighth.
All of a sudden, I didnt hit a bad shot for the rest of the day, he said.
Goggin added birdies on Nos. 10, 12, 13 and 15 and wrapped up his round with only 25 putts.
Scott bogeyed No. 2, his first at the Tournament Course at Redstone in 56 holes dating to last years second round. He was playing the fifth hole when play was halted just before 2 p.m.
The round resumed at 3:34 p.m., with the course softened, but the temperature more than 20 degrees cooler. Scott missed the green with his tee shot on the par-3 ninth, then drove into the water on the 11th to slip to 6 under. He birdied 15 and 16 before finishing bogey-double bogey.
Phil Mickelson beat the bad weather and shot a 68 on Friday, but he was eighth behind the leader, whos looking for his first victory in 45 career starts.
The 28-year-old Wagner admits hell have to control his emotions over the weekend as he tries to win a trip to next weeks Masters.
You have to use it to your advantage, Wagner said. Nerves dont have to be a bad thing. They can always be a good thing.
Wagner was in the second group to tee off Friday and he moved to 12 under on his opening nine. He got up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-5 fourth, sank a 6-footer for birdie on the 5th and added another birdie on the par-5 eighth, the third-easiest hole during the first round.
He sliced his drive into the water on the par-4 11th and bogeyed, then got the stroke back with a birdie on 13.
Wagner was born in Amarillo and that gives him an edge'Texans have won six Houston Opens. Thats also good news for Chad Campbell of Andrews, Texas. He matched Goggins 64 and sits five off the lead.
Campbell hit a 3-wood within 10 feet on the par-5 4th, then reeled off four straight birdies early on the back nine to climb up the leaderboard. Campbell has won in Houston before, beating Charles Howell III by three shots at the 2003 Tour Championship.
Anytime you can win, especially in your home state, its great, he said. Got a lot of fans, family and friends out here this week, so it would be great.

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    Frittelli fulfilled promise by making Match Play field

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:40 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dylan Frittelli attended the University of Texas and still maintains a residence in Austin, so in an odd way this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a home game for the South African who plays the European Tour.

    Frittelli actually attended the event last year as a spectator, when he watched the quarterfinal matches on Saturday afternoon, and made a promise to himself.

    “I told a lot of people, I was running into them. I said, ‘I'll be here next year, I'll be playing in this tournament,’” said Frittelli, who climbed to 45th in the world ranking after two victories last year in Europe. “People looked at me, you're 190 in the world, that's hard to get to 64. It was a goal I set myself.”

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    Frittelli’s next goal may be a little payback for a loss he suffered in college when he was a teammate of Jordan Spieth’s. Frittelli is making his first start at the Match Play and could face his old Longhorn stable mate this week depending on how the brackets work out and his play.

    “We had the UT inter-team championship. Coach switched it to match play my senior year, and Jordan beat me in the final at UT Golf Club. It was 3 and 2,” Frittelli said. “So I'm not too keen to face him again.

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    Match Play security tightens after Austin bombings

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:06 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – A fourth bombing this month in Austin injured two men Sunday night and authorities believe the attacks are the work of a serial bomber.

    The bombings have led to what appears to be stepped-up security at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

    “I was out here [Sunday]; typically that's the most relaxed day. But they had security officials on every corner of the clubhouse and on the exterior, as well,” said Dylan Frittelli, who lives in Austin and is playing the Match Play for the first time this week. “It was pretty tough to get through all the protocols. I'm sure they'll have stuff in place.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour told The Associated Press on Monday that it doesn't comment on the specifics of its security measures, but that the safety of players and fans is its top priority. The circuit is also coordinating closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of players and fans.

    Despite the bombings, which have killed two people and injured two others, the Tour has not yet reached out to players to warn of any potential threat or advise the field about increased security.

    “It’s strange,” Paul Casey said. “Maybe they are going to, but they haven’t.”

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    Rosaforte Report: Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind and stroke

    By Tim RosaforteMarch 19, 2018, 8:00 pm

    With all the talk about rolling back the golf ball, it was the way Rory McIlroy rolled it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that was the story of the week and the power surge he needed going into the Masters.

    Just nine days earlier, a despondent McIlroy missed the cut at the Valspar Championship, averaging 29 putts per round in his 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort. At Bay Hill, McIlroy needed only 100 putts to win for the first time in the United States since the 2016 Tour Championship.

    The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week. What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks.

    The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.

    Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    As a professional courtesy, Faxon laid low, respecting McIlroy’s relationship with Kenyon, who also works with European stars Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. Knowing how McIlroy didn’t like the way Dave Stockton took credit after helping him win multiple majors, Faxon let McIlroy do the talking. Asked about their encounter during his Saturday news conference at Bay Hill, McIlroy called it “more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”

    “There was nothing I told him he had never heard before, nothing I told him that was a secret,” Faxon, who once went 327 consecutive holes on Tour without a three-putt, said on Monday. “I think (Rory) said it perfectly when he said it allowed him to be an athlete again. We try to break it down so well, it locks us up. If I was able to unlock what was stuck, he took it to the next level. The thing I learned, there can be no method of belief more important than the athlete’s true instinct.”

    Without going into too much detail, McIlroy explained that Faxon made him a little more “instinctive and reactive.” In other words, less “mechanical and technical.” It was the same takeaway that Gary Woodland had after picking Faxon’s brain before his win in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Sunday night, after leading the field in strokes gained-putting, McIlroy was more elaborative, explaining how Faxon “freed up my head more than my stroke,” confessing that he was complicating things a bit and was getting less athletic.

    “You look at so many guys out there, so many different ways to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “The objective is to get the ball in the hole and that’s it. I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

    All of this occurred after a conversation I had Sunday morning with swing instructor Pete Cowen, who praised Kenyon for the work he had done with his player, Henrik Stenson. Cowen attributed Henrik’s third-round lead at Bay Hill to the diligent work he put in with Kenyon over the last two months.

    “It’s confidence,” Cowen said. “(Stenson) needs a good result for confidence and then he’s off. If he putts well, he has a chance of winning every time he plays.”

    Cowen made the point that on the PGA Tour, a player needs 100-110 putts per week – or an average of 25-27 putts per round – to have a chance of winning. Those include what Cowen calls the “momentum putts,” that are especially vital in breaking hearts at this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Stenson, who is not playing this week in Austin, Texas, saw a lot of positives but admitted there wasn’t much he could do against McIlroy shooting 64 on Sunday in the final round on a tricky golf course.

    “It's starting to come along in the right direction for sure,” Stenson said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there this week, even though maybe the confidence is not as high as some of the shots were, so we'll keep on working on that and it's a good time of the year to start playing well.”

    Nobody knows that better than McIlroy, who is hoping to stay hot going for his third WGC and, eventually, the career Grand Slam at Augusta.

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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.