Woods Close Behind at Doral

By Associated PressMarch 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipMIAMI, Florida -- The birdie putt broke sharply and was just inside 25 feet, similar to the one Tiger Woods made last week at Bay Hill for a one-shot victory to extend his winning streak to six months.
He knew it was in. Everyone did.
The biggest difference was the celebration. Woods spiked his cap into the ground at Bay Hill. When he finished his round on the par-3 ninth at Doral with an unlikely birdie, he merely raised the putter in his left hand as the ball still had 8 feet to travel.
Then again, this was only Friday at the CA Championship. No one hands out a trophy until Sunday.
And this time, Woods wasnt even in the lead.
He closed with two birdies on the Blue Monster for a 6-under 66 that ultimately left him one shot behind former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, but still poised to add to a variety of winning streaks.
A lot better than yesterday, Woods said, alluding to a three-putt finish on Thursday.
The cheer for his final birdie was so loud that Masters champion Zach Johnson backed off his putt across the lake on the 18th green and smiled, as if he had to look to see who was responsible for such noise.
But the roars didnt reach Ogilvy, who was on the front nine finishing his round and kept right on plodding. Ogilvy holed a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 5 to take the lead, then finished with four gritty pars. Ogilvy did a lot of that Friday. He saved par from the bunker four times, got up-and-down from easy spots off the green and wound up with 23 putts in his round of 67.
Ogilvy was at 12-under 132, one shot ahead of Woods, three shots ahead of his best friend, Adam Scott (68). Scott could have been a little closer until having to play one shot left-handed and hitting another into the water, making bogeys on his final two holes.
Even so, they will make for quite a threesome for Saturday, when tee times were moved up to avoid storms.
How can you not enjoy playing with the guy whos on his way to being the best golfer of all time? Ogilvy said.
Ogilvy wouldnt mind if Woods took a detour on the weekend of this World Golf Championship. He has not won since the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006, and while he certainly feels capable, there is no denying what Woods has done since September.
Seven in a row? Six in a row? Its pretty impressive, Ogilvy said. Thats a good career. But I mean, so many things can go wrong in a week, even if youre going well. That he just seems to even ride those out, its pretty good.
Woods had a solid round, nothing spectacular, even when he made two eagles in one round for the first time since the 2007 Buick Invitational, on the North Course at Torrey Pines in the first round. One came at the par-5 12th, when he holed a bunker shot that at worse would have stopped within tap-in range. The other came at No. 1, where he hit a 7-iron downwind to 6 feet.
The par 5s are where youve got to score, Woods said. With todays wind, you could probably hit two par-5s with irons'actually three of the four par 5s with irons'so youve got to take advantage of those holes.
Woods is 8 under on the par 5s, his 36-hole score being 11-under 133.
Is the tournament over?
Woods has never felt that way at the Masters, a major, the Battle at Bighorn, anywhere. Doral is no different.
They dont just hand it you because of the way youve been playing, he said.
Even so, he has been playing some pretty good golf. Consider the streaks on the line this week'PGA Tour victories (five), worldwide victories (six), wins at Doral (four), wins at this WGC event (four).
Hes won these last however many golf tournaments, Ogilvy said. He hasnt lost too many when in contention after two rounds. He hasnt lost too many at Doral. Theres a lot of things in his favor.
Those things include the odds.
After the round ended, Ladbrokes had Woods as a 1-to-3 favorite, even though he was in second place. Ogilvy, the 36-hole leader for the first time in three years, was listed at 5-to-1, with Scott at 8-to-1.
So it doesnt matter who it is playing against Tiger, he said. Theyve been getting burned, the bookies. I read somewhere this week everyone kept loading up on Tiger and they keep taking the bets, and they keep losing. Thats reality.
What Ogilvy could use is a dream finish for his second WGC title, no small task with Woods only one shot behind.
Everyone else was listed at 66-to-1, for good reason. Look beyond the final group Saturday, and the next best was six shots behind Ogilvy. Phil Mickelson was nine shots behind after missing a handful of short par putts that lipped out. There was a Singh in the mix, but it was Jeev Milkha Singh of India with a 70 to finish in the group at 6-under 138, not the three-time major champion Vijay Singh, who had a 68 and only got to 141.
Ernie Els is helping to bring up the rear at 5-over 149, leaving him 17 shots behind.
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''