Watney 54-Hole Leader in New Orleans

By Associated PressApril 21, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Zurich ClassicAVONDALE, La. -- Yet another potential first-time PGA TOUR winner topped the third-round leaderboard in the Zurich Classic.
 
Third-year TOUR player Nick Watney shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to reach 12 under and take a two-shot lead over another player who has been seeking a maiden tour triumph for more than a decade, 38-year-old Ken Duke.
 
Duke shot a 66, the best round of the day in the tournament that has had first-time winners in four of the last five years.
 
Watney has never entered the final round with the lead.
 
'I won't be trying to protect anything,' Watney asserted. 'I know that the guys are going to come charging. ... This is the PGA TOUR, so it's definitely not going to be easy.'
 
Mark Calcavecchia, who began the day with a one-shot lead, finished with an even-par 72, leaving him tied for third with Scott Gutschewski (67) at 9 under. Gutschewski also is winless on the tour.
 
Rookie Kyle Reifers (71) was alone in fifth at 8 under. He shot a course-record 64 on Thursday and had a 73 on Friday.
 
Calcavecchia, who won an event last month, is one of few familiar names atop the leaderboard. His only major hiccup in the third round was a double bogey on the fourth hole. He also had a bogey on the 16th. Calcavecchia, who could be seen stretching repeatedly during the last two holes, said he tweaked something in his back when he threw his hat on the 16th hole.
 
'It'll be all right. Luckily, there was only a couple holes left,' Calcavecchia said. 'It'll be fine by tomorrow.'
 
Although the pin was set about 300 yards from the tee, Calcavecchia played it safe and laid up to avoid a water hazard on the left and pot bunkers on the right. It seemed like a good move when his shot landed in the middle of the fairway 105 yards from the hole. Then he pushed his approach shot into the rough right of the green and two-putted for bogey.
 
On the tough par-3 17th, a signature hole with cypress planks imbedded in a bulkhead that separates the green from a water hazard, Calcavecchia put his tee shot on the green. But his 41-foot birdie attempt missed by a foot and he had to settle for par. He narrowly missed a birdie putt on No. 18 as well.
 
The 25-year-old Watney has never finished higher than fifth, which he did twice last year at the Reno-Tahoe Open and Funai Classic. Having shot a 67 a day earlier to pull himself into contention, he pulled ahead after making the turn in the third round with birdies on the 10th, 11th and 13th holes.
 
He made birdie puts of 18 and 13 feet on 10 and 13. He drove left into a bunker on the par-5 11th, but put his next shot 63 yards from the pin and hit a wedge within 5 feet to set up another birdie.
 
Watney was briefly at 13 under after his 18-foot birdie putt on 16, but he needed two shots to reach the green on No. 17 and two-putted for a bogey.
 
'I'm very excited. I haven't been leading going into the final round, and obviously it's just a place you want to be,' Watney said. 'I'm looking forward to tomorrow and going to try to learn as much as I can and hopefully come out on top.'
 
Reifers could have finished closer than he did. He birdied his first three holes of the round to briefly take the lead at 10 under. Then he hit into the water on No. 6, leading to a double-bogey. After working his way back to 10 under, he mis-hit a chip on 17 for a second straight day. Unlike Friday, he couldn't save par. His struggles continued when his drive on 18 went left, a recurring problem for him during the past two rounds, and landed in a bunker. His second shot landed in the left rough and he ended up with another bogey to close out the round.
 
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  • Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee: