Sean OHair leads Bay Hill Tiger Woods five back

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Bay Hill was so penal Friday that most players figured it would be difficult for anyone to shoot a low number and separate themselves from the pack. Sean OHair apparently didnt get the memo.
 
OHair opened with three straight birdies and didnt drop a shot until his final hole, which gave him a 5-under 65 for a three-shot lead over Jason Gore heading into the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reacts after chipping in for birdie on Friday. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods remained in the mix for a sixth title at Bay Hill, courtesy of a short game that turned a mediocre round into a 69.
 
Woods chipped in for birdie on his opening hole for the second straight day, holed another birdie chip on No. 8, and kept his round together with two head-turning chips to save par. He was in fifth place, five shots behind.
 
You can make bogeys in a heartbeat out there today because the greens are not accepting shots very well, Woods said.
 
OHair was at 8-under 132 and will be in the final group Saturday with Gore, who had four birdies and four bogeys for a 70.
 
Robert Allenby had a bogey-free round of 65 and was at 4-under 136, along with Ryuji Imada, who had a 66.
 
OHairs round was set up by his tee shots, and he figured if he was driving it well, he probably would swing the irons the same way. His first three birdies were all within 8 feet, and he had a putt at birdie on all but three holes.
 
It all sounded simple enough.
 
The rough is very penal, but if youre in the fairway all day, you dont have to worry about it, OHair said. The greens are absolutely perfect. You just give yourself some nice opportunities, and all of a sudden youre 8- or 9-under par.
 
Even so, OHair could relate with the grind that it became for Woods, and at times for double major winner Padraig Harrington, who shot a 68 and was at 2-under 138. And he could appreciate what happened to Davis Love III, who had a 74 and missed the cut, seriously damaging his bid to get to the Masters.
 
It doesnt take much to get going the wrong direction.
 
You dont really even need to hit it sideways, OHair said. Just a little bit off here and there, and youre giving yourself some pretty tough par opportunities.
 
Consider his final hole, the par-5 ninth. He hit what appeared to be a good drive, just a little to the left, and found a lie so deep that he felt his best option was to hack out short of the green. It went according to plan until he hit his wedge a little heavy and missed a 10-foot par putt to come one shot back to the field.
 
Those are the kind of shots that spared Woods.
 
He opened with two birdies in three holes to get his name on the leaderboard, then went 13 holes without another. He was in trouble on the par-5 sixth, with a plugged lie in the bunker that forced him to play sideways for his third shot, but he recovered with a skip-and-stop pitch to 4 feet for a par.
 
On the next hole, Woods was on the matted grass of the walkway, facing a 30-foot shot to a green running away from him. He hit a full flop that landed on the fringe and stopped 4 feet away for another par that was easier than expected.
 
After getting fooled by the wind on the next hole, Woods chipped in for birdie.
 
Today was just kind of a grind-it-out day, he said. The golf course is getting fast. The greens are really getting fast.
 
Vaughn Taylor was in the group at 138 thanks to a remarkable three-hole stretch. He hit 6-iron for an ace on the seventh hole, then followed that with consecutive birdies to reach 4 under. Taylor wound up with a 68.
 
Bogeys are there to be made, Gore said. The golf course is playing tough.
 
That much was evident not by the 21 players who remained under par, but the 13-shot differential between OHair at 132 and those who made the cut on the number at 5-over 145.
 
A week ago at Innisbrook, the differential was only seven shots.
 
Love could face an uphill road to Augusta National. He is No. 47 in the world ranking ' the top 50 after this week are invited ' and missing the cut will cause him to fall. Four of the next seven players behind him made the cut, including Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.
 
Oosthuizen had a triple bogey and double bogey in a four-hole stretch Thursday and rallied with three birdies. On Friday, he fell to the cut line by trying to play a shot out of the water on No. 11 and leaving it in the hazard.
 
I learned Im not a fish, Oosthuizen said, although he had his rain suit, meaning he didnt have to pull a Henrik Stenson and strip down to his underwear.
 
He rallied with three more birdies and could be well on his way to Magnolia Lane.
 
OHair is more interested in Victory Lane at Bay Hill, which comes with a firm handshake from the tournament host, a silver sword and a blazer. But there is much work left, and plenty of players lurking ' including Woods, the defending champion.
 
DIVOTS: Webb Simpson made a hole-in-one on the 17th hole. Ryo Ishikawa, the 17-year-old from Japan, had a 71 but still missed the cut by two shots. The Japanese sensation has missed two cuts in his three PGA Tour events this year. Brad Faxon shot a 72 and was at 2-over 142. It was the first time this year he has made the cut.
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''