Slumans 66 ties record at Gulf Resort Classic

By Associated PressApril 2, 2011, 3:12 am
Champions Tour

SAUCIER, Miss. – Jeff Sluman tied a course record with a 6-under-par 66 on Friday to take a one-shot lead over Tom Lehman at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.

Sluman had a bogey-free round, highlighted by an eagle from 154 yards on the par-4 No. 4. He used a 9-iron on the shot, dropping it about five feet from the hole before it rolled downhill and into the cup.

He knew it had a chance from the moment he hit it.

“I said ‘Boy, this is as good as I’ve got,”’ Sluman said.

And the good shots never stopped for Sluman, who is currently fifth in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. He birdied two more holes on the front nine and two after the turn to finish a nearly flawless performance. He said his ball striking was so good that he rarely ran into trouble – and didn’t need any miracles on his birdie putts.

“The longest (birdie) putt I made was from three feet,” said Sluman, a three-time Champions Tour winner. “If I’m going to have a chance to contend in the golf tournament, I’ve got to make some putts over three feet. The greens are perfect.”

The second-year Champions event yielded some low scores, with 46 out of 79 golfers shooting par or better. David Eger won last year’s event, beating Tommy Armour III by one stroke, but struggled to a 75 on Friday.

Sluman said many golfers struggled last year because they were playing the Tom Fazio-designed course – built in 2006 – for the first time.

It also helped that conditions were nearly ideal on Friday, with plenty of sunshine and 80-degree temperatures, as opposed to the wind and rain that dominated last year’s tournament.

“Last year, I really had a nice feel for the golf course tee to green, but I didn’t putt very well,” Sluman said. “But I did like the golf course and the way it was set up.”

Even so, there were plenty of challenges. The field averaged 72.456 strokes in the first round, the highest on the Champions Tour so far this year.

Maybe the most daunting was No. 18, which ranked as the third-toughest hole on the course and put a sour ending to many rounds. Among the casualties: Chip Beck was at 3-under until the final hole, but a triple-bogey left him at even par.

Dan Forsman birdied four of five holes on the back nine to pull within one shot of Sluman before a bogey on 18 left him two shots back with a 68. The 460-yard par 4 has a fairway littered with obstacles, including deep bunkers on the left and the course’s signature fallen oak tree on the right.

The downhill approach isn’t any easier, with water to the left and behind the green swallowing several errant shots.

Sluman managed to escape the final hole with a par, keeping his round intact.

“Not only does (the green) run away from you, but it’s downgrain,” Sluman said. “So usually you’re hitting a longer cut shot in there to the green – it’s just a bear.”

Tom Lehman, who leads the standings, is in second place after a 67. His success followed Sluman’s theme: impeccable ball striking which led to reasonable putts. He also shot a bogey-free round.

“I’m always thrilled when I play a round without a bogey, whether I’m playing at home or playing out here,” Lehman said. “You’re doing a lot right when you do that.”

Forsman, Nick Price and David Frost are tied for third at 4 under.

The golfers had universal praise for Fallen Oak, which played long after heavy rain soaked the course earlier in the week. The weather for the next two days is expected to be sunny and warm, which should dry the course and make the greens faster.

“It’s matured,” Forsman said. “The greens are firm and much more consistent. They are in marvelous shape. There were a couple of spots last year with some growth issues but they certainly have that solved.”

Mark Brooks and Mississippi native Jim Gallagher Jr. both made their Champions Tour debut. Brooks shot 70 while Gallagher Jr. shot even par.

Sluman tied the course record set last year by Frost and Gary Halberg.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.