Allenby Palmer share Sony Open lead

By Doug FergusonJanuary 17, 2010, 8:38 am

2007 Sony Open

HONOLULU – Robert Allenby had every reason to skip the pro-am at the Sony Open this week because of an ankle sprain that turned the bottom of his right foot purple and made it difficult to walk even a flat course like Waialae.

One reason he played was to see how a bum ankle would affect his swing, and to learn to accept bad shots.

There haven’t been too many when it counted.

He made three birdies from inside 4 feet for a 3-under 67 on Saturday and was tied for the lead with Ryan Palmer, the first time Allenby has been atop a PGA Tour leaderboard through 54 holes in more than six years.

“I wanted to have a feel for how I was going to play golf,” Allenby said of his decision to play the pro-am Wednesday. “I think it was a good thing for me. It enabled me in my mind that I’d hit a lot of (bad) shots, but I’d be able to accept it. When you know there’s a problem, it’s a lot easier to accept.”

Palmer also played bogey-free in his round of 68, two-putting from long range on the final two holes – one for par, one for birdie. The last one gave him a share of the lead at 11-under 199, and another date with Allenby in the final group.

Neither of them were spectacular, although they didn’t need to be with no one making a big move.

Eleven players started the third round within three shots of the lead. When the sun dipped below the Pacific horizon, Allenby and Palmer had a three-shot margin over Davis Love III (68), Troy Matteson (68), Steve Stricker (69) and defending champion Zach Johnson (70).

Five more players were another shot back, including a pair of 50-year-olds in Tom Lehman and Michael Allen.

All their hopes start with the play of Allenby and Palmer, who have been steady throughout.

“If I can go out tomorrow and shoot under par, someone will have to shoot a good round to catch or pass us,” Palmer said.

Allenby last had a share of the 54-hole lead at Sahalee in a World Golf Championship in August 2002, and his most recent PGA Tour victory was the Pennsylvania Classic in 2001, the first event after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He has won seven times around the world since then, including the Australia “Triple Crown” in 2005 when he won his native country’s Masters, PGA and Open championships. And he is coming off consecutive victories last month in South Africa and Australia.

“I’m moving in the right direction,” Allenby said. “I may not win tomorrow, but I believe I will definitely win this year. And when I do, I’ll win again and again. With me, it’s just confidence. When I get the confidence going, I feel like I can do anything. I have that confidence right now, and I’m very patient. Hopefully, I can do what’s needed.”

Into a stiff breeze from just over 150 yards, Allenby hit a 6-iron that settled 4 feet behind the flag for a birdie on No. 2 to erase Palmer’s small lead. He also hit a delicate pitch-and-run to 2 feet on the 10th, and a wedge to about the same distance on the 12th.

His best shot might have been a 5-iron around the trees on the 13th, which bounced onto the green for an easy par.

Palmer can relate, as his most memorable shot also led to par.

His wedge got away from him on the 16th hole and landed on the back slope of a bunker, leaving him little room to bring the club down steeply to carry the clip. He thought about a putter to get into the middle of a bunker, a hit-and-hope sand wedge, even a utility club to slam it up the front of the bunker.

Palmer settled on a 7-iron that came out perfectly, caught a good bounce and settled 6-feet away for a remarkable save.

“It’s a big help having a three-shot lead,” Palmer said. “That’s still a lot to make up in one round of golf, especially if the wind keeps blowing. I’m very ecstatic with where I’m at. I couldn’t be in a better spot.”

Stricker missed four birdie putts inside 10 feet, so he was thrilled to see a 12-footer from the fringe fall for birdie on the final hole, leaving him in range.

“Very important,” Stricker said. “It’s a good start for tomorrow. I’ll only be about three shots back, and not a lot of guys in between. So I’ve got a shot at it.”

So does Love, who has made only two bogeys all week at Waialae. He didn’t make many birdie putts Saturday, although a few 4-foot par putts saved the day. A victory would be the easiest way for Love to get into the Masters, and get him headed back to where he feels he belongs.

“If I can hole a few more putts, I’ve got as good of a chance as anyone,” Love said.

DIVOTS: Among those who missed the 54-hole cut was Sean O’Hair, who had a 74. He is headed home to Philadelphia to get tests on a stress fracture in his left arm and likely won’t return until Pebble Beach or Match Play. … Tom Lehman, using a one-time exemption from career money, said he plans to divide his time between the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour the rest of the year. His PGA Tour plans include Phoenix, Pebble Beach and Riviera.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm