Tiger Woods grabs one-shot lead at Buick Open

By Associated PressAugust 1, 2009, 4:00 pm
2006 Buick OpenGRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Tiger Woods drove on adjacent fairways twice on the back nine, hit a cup of beer in a spectators hand, got rattled by a bug and was relegated to shaping some shots around trees and under branches.
 
He still managed to shoot a 7-under 65 on Saturday in the third round of the Buick Open, giving him a 17-under 199 total and a one-stroke lead when Michael Letzig (68) double bogeyed the last hole.
 
The whole idea of the game is put the ball in the hole, and I did that, Woods said. But as far as controlling my ball, I didnt do that.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods wasn't at his best Saturday, but it was good enough. (Getty Images)
Woods opened his first tournament since missing the cut at the British Open with a 71 after what he said was probably his worst putting day.
 
When he was eight shots behind first-round leader Steve Lowery, Woods said he couldnt make up ground in one day at Warwick Hills.
 
It took him two.
 
Woods roared back into contention with a 9-under 63 in the second round and took the lead with his 65 Saturday.
 
Eight back, at a U.S. Open, you can make that up in one round, he said. You cant make it up around here.
 
He moved into a tie for the lead with Letzig at 17 under with a 33-foot birdie putt at No. 17.
 
Woods pumped his fist, shouted Yeah! and the traditionally rowdy gallery roared so loud he couldnt communicate with caddie Steve Williams.
 
It was pretty exciting, said Woods, making his ninth Buick Open appearance. The people here have been absolutely incredible, so supportive of this event over the years. Thats one of the reasons why we love coming here.
 
Letzig hit a poor shot out of a greenside bunker at No. 18, barely clearing it and leaving him with a tricky lie. He fell to 16 under while Woods was on the practice range.
 
I dont care, Letzig said when asked if it would be tough to forget what happened on the last hole. Im one shot out of the lead.
 
Based on history, thats probably an insurmountable deficit behind Woods.
 
The superstar has a 35-1 record on the PGA Tour when he has the outright lead after 54 holes. The lone loss in this situation came when he was 20 in his third tournament as a pro to Ed Fiori in the 1996 Quad City Classic.
 
Woods and Letzig will be in the final group on Sunday just as they were at the Memorial in June, when Woods went on to win and Letzigs 75 plummeted him to a tie for 14th.
 
I wont be so scared, Ill know what to expect, Letzig insisted. Im playing good, thats the bottom line.
 
If Woods wins Sunday, it would be his third Buick Open title and 69th on the PGA Tour.
 
Letzig, meanwhile, is hoping to win for the first time in his 50th PGA Tour event. Hes coming off his first top-10 finish this year. His best showing in two seasons was a tie for second at the Ginn sur Mer Classic.
 
Woods has won every other tournament in his last four starts.
 
He missed the cut at the British Open two weeks ago after winning the AT&T National, tying for sixth at the U.S. Open and winning the Memorial. His first victory this season was the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his third tournament following an eight-month absence recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
 
Woods was nearly flawless in the second round at the Buick Open, then made enough clutch shots to make up for many poor ones in the third.
 
Woods three-putted from 55 feet on the par-5 first. He was still muttering and shaking his head about the missed opportunity on the second fairway as he slammed his 3-wood into his bag and starting eating a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich.
 
At No. 5, he stepped out of his stance and kicked a bug that he later acknowledged led to him losing his concentration and sailing his tee shot to the right 237 yards away from the pin.
 
I didnt refocus on the shot, Woods said. I just got away with it.
 
Woods cut a shot around one tree, over a towering one and reached the green to set up a two-putt from 53 feet for a birdie.
 
At No. 7, he pulled out his driver that stayed in his bag for much of the day and the tee shot caromed off a cup of beer that was in a fans hands and led to some friendly banter.
 
Woods hit his second shot under some tree branches and it finally landed about 300 yards away. A fantastic save out of sand set him up for another birdie.
 
While Woods was pleased with his results, he wasnt proud of the way he had to scramble on one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour.
 
Youre not supposed to be doing that, he said. This golf course is pretty short. You have to take advantage and I did, but unfortunately, I didnt do it the correct way.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' 2009 Buick Open
  • Getty Images

    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

    Getty Images

    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.