Sweden Surges to World Cup Lead

By Associated PressDecember 9, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 WGC - Barbedos World Cup ST. JAMES, Barbados -- At one point Saturday, Argentina was five shots ahead of the field and threatening to turn the World Cup into a runaway.
By day's end, that lead was gone -- and things had tightened up considerably for Sunday's final round.
J.J. Henry and Stewart Cink
J.J. Henry and Stewart Cink shot 63 Saturday, but still trail by five.
Sweden's Carl Pettersson had five birdies, four of them on the back side, to help carry his team to a one-shot lead over Argentina after three rounds of the World Cup on another windy day at Sandy Lane.
Pettersson and Henrik Stenson combined to shoot an 8-under 63 for Sweden, which is seeking its first World Cup title since 1991, nine years before the event was added to the World Golf Championships schedule.
'We were trying to grind,' Pettersson said. 'We knew we had to shoot low, and on the back nine we really got it going.'
Argentina's Andres Romero and Angel Cabrera saw their run of 42 straight holes without a bogey end at Saturday's eighth hole and stalled somewhat from there, yet still managed a 67.
Colin Montgomerie nearly holed out his approach at the 14th, with the ball rolling to a stop just inches from the cup to set up a birdie -- one of four in a row -- for Scotland, which shot 65 and finished 14 under, two behind the Swedes.
After the Scots, it's a seven-way tie for fourth at 11 under -- with Wales (62) and the United States (63) making big third-round moves to get into that cluster, along with Italy (64), Mexico (65), Spain (67), South Africa (67) and Germany (68).
'I think it might be a dogfight tomorrow,' said Stewart Cink of the U.S.
Cink and J.J. Henry closed the front nine with seven straight birdies, then made only one more on the back nine -- with no bogeys on their card.
Good as the Americans' round was, it wasn't even the best of the day.
Bradley Dredge and Stephen Dodd, the defending champions from Wales, recovered from Friday's alternate-shot 75 with a 62, closing with five straight birdies to enhance their bid become the first team to win two straight World Cups since Fred Couples and Davis Love III won four straight from 1992-1995.
'Had a good day today, which doesn't make up for yesterday, but certainly better than we did yesterday,' Dodd said.
Still, they face a five-shot deficit and many teams in the title mix.
'Have to have a brilliant day,' Dredge said.
While many teams made moves -- Switzerland and Australia each shot 64 and France shot 65, although those teams are well off the lead entering Sunday -- one of the pre-tournament favorites never got going. England's team of Luke Donald and David Howell managed only two birdies and one bogey Saturday, finishing at 7 under for the tournament, nine shots behind the Swedes.
'We both played pretty poorly, really,' Howell said. 'We only had one birdie each, which isn't good enough, especially in fourballs. We scrapped it around at level par, which is not what we needed.'
The teams play foursomes, or alternate shot, Sunday to decide who'll split the $1.4 million first prize.
Argentina entered the day three shots ahead of the field and was five shots ahead after four birdies in Saturday's first seven holes.
But after the bogey on the par-3 eighth, Romero and Cabrera had only one more birdie the rest of the way and Sweden took advantage.
Pettersson -- who won The Memorial earlier this year and earned more than $2.6 million on the PGA TOUR -- made Sweden's fourth straight birdie at the 12th, pulling his team into a share of the lead. Pettersson later added birdies at Nos. 15 and 16, the second one giving the Swedes outright control of the lead, which they held the rest of the day.
'We always felt we'd have a chance,' Stenson said. 'And obviously, we've put ourselves in a good position.'
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - WGC - World Cup
  • Full Coverage - WGC - World Cup
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry