Stricker bulldozing field at John Deere, leads by two

By Associated PressJuly 9, 2011, 10:33 pm

SILVIS, Ill. – Steve Stricker stood in the bunker left of the first fairway, eyed his ball in the rough on the edge of the trap, then looked at the flag 122 yards away.

If it felt like he’d been in that position before, well, that’s because he had.

“I had that same stance in my pro-am,” he said. “Same bunker, same exact shot. I was right in the same spot.”

All he wanted to do was get the ball on the green, which he did. And then came the shot of the day, a 75-foot putt for birdie that led to an 8-under-par 63 Saturday and a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the John Deere Classic.

I was just trying to get a two-putt and par and move on,” Stricker said. “To make a put like that, you don’t expect to, nor are the odds in your favor to make a putt like that. But it went in with perfect speed and it got me going.”

Stricker fashioned his best round of the year while closing in on his third straight victory in the tournament. He’s at 20-under 193 following a par on save on 18, where he twice hit into bunkers before drilling a 15-foot putt.

That put Stricker in a good spot because he’s won the last four times he held the outright lead going into the final round. Stricker said he often hears stats like that, but insisted he doesn’t remember them.

“I don’t put a lot of stock in numbers past, present, whatever,” he said. “I just try to go out there and do the things that I’m capable of doing. You’ve just got to stick to your own game and that’s what I’ve been able to do the last four or five years.”

Zimbabwean Brendon De Jonge is alone in second at 195 after matching Stricker’s 63. Second-round leader Chez Reavie, who started the day two strokes up on Stricker, shot 68 and was 17 under, one ahead of Kyle Stanley (65).

With one more solid round, Stricker would join an elite group. Only 20 times previously on the tour has someone won a tournament three years in a row, a list that includes Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller,

Woods has done it six times and was the most recent to accomplish the feat, winning the Bridgestone Invitational in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“I haven’t really given it much thought, but it would mean a lot,” Stricker said. “It’s hard enough to win an event three times, let alone three in a row. So it will be tough. I’ve got to fight through nerves, but it would be special to be part of that list.”

As he has done so often recently at TPC Deere Run, Stricker made it look easy, even after getting into immediate trouble with that opening tee shot. He took a baseball-type swing to get out of the rough and hit a line drive that stopped on the front part of the green, where the pin was in to the right and in the back.

Then he stepped up and knocked his putt in, the ball rolling uphill, topping a crest and carrying back down into the center of the cup.

Stricker raised both arms in celebration, then smiled at playing partner Jhonattan Vegas and shrugged as if to say, “When you’re hot, you’re hot.”

“At first, I thought I hit it too hard and then it looked like it was going to be good to tap in (for par),” he said. “And then it just went right in the last couple of feet.”

Stricker moved into the lead with a 14-foot birdie putt on No. 7 as Reavie made bogey at 6. When Reavie bogeyed 8, he suddenly found himself four strokes behind—a six-shot reversal in about 90 minutes.

De Jonge, meanwhile, kept making birdies to keep Stricker from running away with the lead.

“I got off to a great start today, which was the key to set up the round,” de Jonge said. “I think tomorrow’s going to be more of the same. You’re going to have to make a bunch of birdies. The golf course is in such good condition, the ball’s going so far, that you get a lot of wedges in your hands.”

Stricker birdied six of his first 10 holes before turning more humanlike down the stretch and making only two more birdies the rest of the way. But on this warm, breezy Midwestern day, no one was sharp enough to catch him, though for a few minutes at the end it looked as though his lead would drop to one.

His tee shot found a bunker left of the fairway and his second shot landed in a bunker in front of the green. He got the ball up to within 15 feet, not an easy putt by any means, but he knocked it in.

“That was a good save to kind of keep the momentum going into tomorrow,” he said.

De Jonge kept himself in position for his first tour victory if Stricker should falter on Sunday. He matched Stricker’s 30 on the front nine, then had his momentum blunted slightly when he bogeyed 13 after missing a 10-footer for par.

But he came back with a nifty chip from the fringe on 14 to set up a 2-foot birdie putt and capped his round with an approach from 163 yards to 11 feet for a birdie on 18.

De Jonge also was in contention going into the final round of the Transitions Championship, where he was just one stroke off the lead. But he shot a final round 73 to slip into a tie for fifth.

He seemed undaunted about facing down Stricker in the final round of this one.

“I think anybody’s got a chance that’s within a couple,” de Jonge said. “Obviously you’re going to have to play a good round of golf. But yeah, I think everybody feels like they’ve got a chance.”

 

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.