Sean OHair leads Tiger Woods by five at Bay Hill

By Associated PressMarch 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Sean OHair couldnt think of a bad shot he hit over the last four holes, yet he still made three bogeys.
 
Tiger Woods was thrilled with his last two bogeys ' one after a shot caromed off the cart path, another after a shot no one could find along the banks of the lake guarding the 18th green.
 
Right after the sonic boom from the return of space shuttle Discovery resounded across the course, Bay Hill lowered a boom of its own Saturday and turned the Arnold Palmer Invitational into a windy, wacky test of survival.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods struggled Saturday, but still has a shot at his sixth API title. (Getty Images)
OHair managed better than most with a 1-over 71 that put him in the final group with Woods for the second straight year, with one big difference. Instead of being in a five-way tie, OHair has a five-shot lead over the worlds No. 1 player.
 
I dont think I can do anything thats going to make him play worse, OHair said. I think Im just going to focus on me and focus on my game and do what Im doing right now. And thats just playing shot-to-shot and add them up at the end.
 
The math was getting a little fuzzy late in the afternoon.
 
OHair had a six-shot lead with four holes to play, made three bogeys and still was five ahead, finishing at 7-under 203.
 
Woods only assured himself a spot in the final group when he spent five minutes looking for his ball in the shagging bank, took a penalty drop 145 yards from the hole and made a 25-foot for bogey and a 71.
 
Jason Gore was going to join them in the last group until he three-putted from 5 feet for double bogey on the last hole.
 
Heres how crazy the wind can make Bay Hill: Zach Johnson started the third round nine shots out of the lead, shot a 68 and will play in the final threesome with OHair and Woods.
 
I dont know how youre supposed to play a golf course like that, OHair said. So I just think everybody tries to hang on for dear life. Sometimes bogey is not a bad score. I think bogey is almost par for some holes.
 
It sure felt that way for Woods.
 
He caught a flyer from the rough on the 16th hole, and the ball bounced high off a cart path and landed some 50 yards away. His chip went through the green and almost in the water. Then he holed a 10-foot putt for bogey.
 
Even more impressive was the bogey on the 18th with the longest putt he has made all week.
 
To be honest, I didnt want to end up with a double bogey, he said. I finished over par, but I thought I played better than that.
 
Woods is a five-time winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, yet he has never won when he was trailing going into the final round. His largest final-round comeback on the PGA Tour was five shots in the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He once overcame an eight-shot deficit in the 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand.
 
OHairs five-shot lead was the largest at Bay Hill since Woods led by five in 2003.
 
Because of rain in the forecast, the starting times Sunday will be threesomes in the middle of the day. If the forecast for heavy overnight rain holds true, it could drastically change a Bay Hill course that has been firm, fast and tough all week.
 
The third round was the toughest yet, with the average score nearly 3 1/2 shots over par.
 
Youre just plotting your way around ' fairway, green, then trying to two-putt most of the time, Johnson said. Its difficult. Par is a great number today.
 
So great that only four players broke par, and four others shot even.
 
Ryuji Imada had a 73 and was tied at 1-under 209 with Gore and Johnson. No one else was under par.
 
Brandt Snedeker had the best round Saturday ' a 67 with no bogeys, which was astounding given the harsh conditions. His reward was a rocket ride up the leaderboard, moving up 42 spots into a tie for sixth at 210.
 
One reason the round took so long was an unusual ruling on the ninth hole involving Kevin Na.
 
He pulled his tee shot to the left, where there are out-of-bounds stakes near the fence of the driving range. A woman retrieved the ball, and once she was located, the rules official asked where she had picked it up.
 
She pointed to a spot that was about a foot OB, and official Steve Rintoul told Na he would have to play his provisional.
 
Na was furious. He said the womens husband first said the ball was against the cart path, then the woman said she wasnt sure. He said she only pointed to the spot after Rintoul arrived. Na demanded to see head rules official Mark Russell, who upheld the decision.
 
He took triple bogey and played his next five holes in 3 over.
 
I dont care if youre Buddha, youre going to be upset, he said. Am I mad at the lady? No. Im mad at the situation.
 
It was only one oddity in a third round that was filled with them.
 
Divots: Davis Love III, who missed the cut, might still be able to get into the top 50 in the world and qualify for the Masters, but he needs some help. He would need Stuart Appleby to finish out of the top 32 and Aaron Baddeley to finish lower than 56th. The two Aussies were tied for 59th going into the final round. Hunter Mahan birdied three of his four holes, then played his final 10 holes in 7 over, including a 40 on the back nine.
 
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  • Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

    By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

    He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

    The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

    Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

    3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

    5/2: Rory McIlroy

    7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

    9/2: Justin Rose

    5/1: Brooks Koepka

    15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    10/1: Adam Scott

    12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

    15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

    20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

    25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

    30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes

    Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 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%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.