Senior leads by one at Ensure Classic

By Associated PressOctober 2, 2010, 1:42 am

Champions Tour

CONOVER, N.C. – Peter Senior eagled the final hole for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples and Tom Kite at the Ensure Classic on Friday.

The 51-year-old Australian eagled the 18th hole in windy conditions at the Rock Barn Golf and Spa to take his first lead on the Champions Tour.

“I played pretty good today,” Senior said. “It was a good ball-striking round, which I haven’t done the last four or five weeks.”

Despite the wind, which gusted up to 25 mph and frequently changed direction on the tree-lined, 7,090-yard course, Senior had an error-free round, making five birdies in addition to his eagle.

“I didn’t hole anything outrageous,” he said. “All my birdies on the front side were 3 feet or less, and my longest (putt) was within 6 feet.”

Senior has had three top-10 finishes in his first year on the tour, including a tie for second at the Regions Charity Classic on May 15, and was 16th in Charles Schwab Cup points entering the tournament. He became eligible for the 50-and-over circuit at last year’s qualifying tournament.

Senior said he has been struggling since tying for sixth in the U.S. Senior Open on Aug. 1, with his best finish over the last six events a tie for 11th at last week’s SAS Championship.

So the Aussie brought swing coach Gary Edwin to this weekend’s tournament.

“It’s amazing what a little tweaking here and there can do,” Senior said. “But I kind of surprised myself out there today. The most important thing in this game, especially when you’re trying to change something, is to go out and do something early in the round.”

Senior opened with a birdie on the par-4 first hole, then added birdies on Nos. 4, 7, 9 and 15 before his eagle on No. 18.

“You start to feel a little confident in what you’re doing, and it just went from there,” Senior said. “It was just a real positive thing for me to play as well as I did today.”

Langer is seeking his sixth victory of the season, and also holds a 672-point lead over Couples in the Schwab Cup standings. There are four events left after this weekend.

Langer and Kite also had error-free rounds, with each making six birdies and sharing the lead with Couples before Senior’s eagle at 18.

“All in all, it was a pretty good round considering how the wind was gusting around out there,” said Kite, whose last Champions Tour win came in 2008 at the Boeing Classic. “Anytime you have wind and trees, you’re going to have lots of different wind directions swirling around. It was definitely bouncing around a little bit out there, and it made club selection difficult.”

The players also had the option to lift, clean and place, a result of five straight days of rain that soaked the course. Along with the softened greens, that led more than half of the 78-player field to shoot below par.

“That’s why the scores were still pretty good,” Langer said. “We had the ball in our hands, and the greens are so soft that you could really fly it in there. Even if you missed the green, it was still easier to get up and down.”

Couples, however, had his troubles at times. He mixed in a pair of bogeys – on the ninth and 13th holes – with five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 seventh.

“The wind wasn’t easy or difficult, but it was a nuisance at times,” said Couples, a three-time winner this season who missed Thursday’s pro-am because of back problems. “My back’s not bad, but it’s achy. … I didn’t have any real bad spasms or anything, though.”

Fulton Allem, Dan Forsman, Nick Price, Hal Sutton and Gary Hallberg were another stroke off the lead. Two-time and defending tournament champion Jay Haas was three strokes behind. Haas, Don Pooley, Tommy Armour III and Bob Tway all shot 68 Friday.

Russ Cochran, who has won the last two Champions Tour events, struggled in his opening round, making just one birdie with two bogeys and a triple-bogey on the par-3 15th hole to finish at 4-over 76.

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.