Tim Clark 54-hole leader at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
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FORT WORTH, Texas ' With $12.7 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour, Tim Clark has the dubious distinction of winning the most money without winning an event.
 
Now hes got a great chance to let someone else carry that burden.
 
Clark shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday in the third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational to take a two-stroke lead into the final round.
 
The 33-year-old South African has been near the top of the leaderboard all week, then finally moved into first place all by himself with a birdie on 11. After a string of pars, he birdied 18 to dip to 17-under 193 and stretch his lead. That kind of finish also might be the momentum-extender to help him snap his 0-for-183 skid.
 
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter is dressed head-to-toe in pink in honor of Amy Mickelson. (Getty Images)
Its tough to win out here; everyone knows it, said Clark, 63rd on the tours career money list. Hopefully, I do get that win sometime and it makes things easier. Thats all I can hope for.
 
Reason to believe he can do it starts with his streak of eight straight rounds in the 60s at the Colonial Country Club. That includes all of last years event, when he walked off the course tied for first but wound up second when Phil Mickelson birdied the final hole. It was the sixth runner-up finish of Clarks career; another came at the 2006 Masters.
 
That giant 0-fer is reason enough to question whether Clark can do it. Theres also this nugget: Clarks only other 54-hole lead was at the 2008 St. Jude Classic. He opened that final round with a triple bogey, shot 6 over and finished 18th.
 
Its never easy being the front-runner. Its a little bit tougher than coming from a few shots back, he said. But I have led a few tournaments on the European tour going into the last round and have been able to shoot a good score. Its about staying calm and not getting too far ahead of yourself.
 
This is a great course for doing that, too. You still have to come out and play good golf. If someone is going to catch me tomorrow they have to play really good, so thats good to know.
 
Well, that brings up another problem. Lots of people are playing really good this week.
 
Wind is the only defense this old course has against modern players and their technological advances, and theres yet to be anything more than a gentle breeze. Making things even easier, many greens are new and soaked by a rainy spring, leaving them nice and soft ' just the way players like it.
 
Jason Day has capitalized with three straight rounds of 65, and Steve Marino shot a tournament-best 62 on Saturday, moving them into a tie for second place at 15 under with Steve Stricker (69).
 
Day and Marino also are winless on the PGA Tour. Both have extra incentive, too, from Marinos mom growing up in Fort Worth (she was in the gallery, as were a bunch of her childhood friends) to Day having moved to Fort Worth last year.
 
My mind is in a really good spot right now, Day said.
 
Marino gave his mom and her friends plenty to shout about during the lowest round of his PGA Tour career. They were loudest on Nos. 11-13, when Marino put all of his approaches within 5 feet for pretty stress-free birdies.
 
I just felt really in control of everything, he said. It was a great feeling.
 
Stricker faded after setting the 36-hole record (126). Playing with Clark, Stricker birdied the second hole and parred all the rest.
 
I like the position Im in, Stricker said. For the most part, its better to come from behind ' unless its someone like Tiger whos used to leading. Hopefully I can put up a good number tomorrow.
 
Vijay Singh got off track with consecutive bogeys early in his round. He finished at 69 and was alone at 13 under in his first appearance in the event since pulling out after criticizing the tournament for letting Annika Sorenstam in the field in 03.
 
Justin Leonard (64) and Woody Austin (67) were 12 under. One more shot behind were Sean OHair (70) and Paul Casey (66), who is playing his first tournament as No. 3 in the world ranking.
 
Mickelson isnt here after announcing last week that wife Amy is battling breast cancer. In her honor, and to raise awareness about the disease, the tournament went into pink out mode Saturday. Most players wore pink shirts, as did tournament staffers and many folks in the gallery.
 
CBS broadcaster David Feherty really got into it, going pink from head (cap, sunglasses and spray-painted beard) to toe (pants and shoes).
 
Its pretty special to see, Leonard said. Im not usually a pink-shirt wearer, but it felt good to put it on. I wish it were under different circumstances.
 
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    Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

    Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

    That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

    Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

    From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

    Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

    She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

    She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

    “Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

    Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

    With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

    The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

    She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

    The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.

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    One & Done: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 5:55 pm

    Beginning in 2018, Golf Channel is offering a "One & Done" fantasy game alternative. Choose a golfer and add the salary they earn at the event to your season-long total - but know that once chosen, a player cannot be used again for the rest of the year.

    Log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to start your own league and make picks for this week's event.

    Here are some players to consider for One & Done picks this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Hudson Swafford returns as the defending champion:

    Zach Johnson. The two-time major champ has missed the cut here three years in a row. So why include him in One & Done consideration? Because the three years before that (2012-14) included three top-25s highlighted by a third-place finish, and his T-14 at the Sony Open last week was his fifth straight top-25 dating back to September.

    Bud Cauley. Cauley has yet to win on Tour, but that could very well change this year - even this week. Cauley ended up only two shots behind Swafford last year and tied for 14th the year prior, as four of his five career appearances have netted at least a top-40 finish. He opened the new season with a T-7 in Napa and closed out the fall with a T-8 at Sea Island.

    Adam Hadwin. Swafford left last year with the trophy, but it looked for much of the weekend like it would be Hadwin's tournament as he finished second despite shooting a 59 in the third round. Hadwin was also T-6 at this event in 2016 and now with a win under his belt last March he returns with some unfinished business.

    Charles Howell III. If you didn't use him last week at the Sony Open, this could be another good spot for the veteran who has four top-15 finishes over the last seven years at this event, highlighted by a playoff loss in 2013. His T-32 finish last week in Honolulu, while not spectacular, did include four sub-70 scores.

    David Lingmerth. Lingmerth was in that 2013 playoff with Howell (eventually won by Brian Gay), and he also lost here in overtimei to Jason Dufner in 2016. The Swede also cracked the top 25 here in 2015 and is making his first start since his wife, Megan, gave birth to the couple's first child in December. Beware the sleep-deprived golfer.

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    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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    Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

    Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

    As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

    Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.