DJ wins weather-shortened Barclays over Kuchar

By Doug FergusonAugust 27, 2011, 5:49 pm

EDISON, N.J. – Dustin Johnson beat the rain and everyone else Saturday at The Barclays to win the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.

Johnson shot a 29 on the front nine of rain-softened Plainfield Country Club for the second straight day and closed with a 6-under 65 to pull away from mistake-prone Matt Kuchar for a two-shot victory.

The Barclays was reduced to 54 holes because of Hurricane Irene, and there was as much drama in the sky as on the course. Kuchar started the third and final round with a one-shot lead. If the round could not be completed because of too much rain, the tournament would have reverted to 36 holes and Kuchar would have been declared the winner.

The rain came down hard right after Johnson holed a bunker shot for eagle on the fourth hole. But it held off just long enough for Johnson to collect his first win of the year and fifth of his career. He becomes the first player since Tiger Woods to go straight from college and win in each of his first four years on the PGA Tour.

“We got lucky,” said Johnson, who moves to No. 4 in the world ranking. “The weather held up for us long enough.”

Johnson, who finished at 19-under 194, wasn’t the only big winner on Saturday.

Ian Poulter birdied four of his last five holes for a 64, making him one of eight players who moved inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings and advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston.

William McGirt, the last of the 125 players who qualified for the playoffs, birdied the 17th hole that pushed him to No. 96. Padraig Harrington went from No. 124 to No. 80 with his tie for 13th. And then there was Ernie Els. He would have been eliminated had the tournament been cut short to 36 holes. Els had a 67 to from 118th in the standings to No. 99.

“You’re trying to survive. It’s desperation,” Els said. “It’s sadistic. In a way it’s fun, if you’re into that (stuff).”

Johnson goes atop the FedEx Cup standings as the four-tournament race begins for the $10 million prize.

The course was so soft and vulnerable to low scoring that Brandt Snedeker made an early run at 59 when he birdied his opening five holes and went out in 29. He was slowed by a bogey on the 14th and wound up with a 61 to tie for third with Vijay Singh, who had a 68.

Kuchar and Johnson, however, separated themselves quickly with a riveting front nine.

Johnson opened with back-to-back birdies to briefly take the lead, and then the fun began. Kuchar birdied the par-3 third for a two-shot swing when Johnson missed the green. Johnson responded with a two-shot swing of his own by driving into the bunker on the 328-yard fourth and holing out for eagle, while Kuchar had to scramble for par.

They matched birdies on the fifth, seventh and ninth greens, and that’s where Johnson showed that extra work on his putter was paying off. He holed a 25-foot birdie on the seventh when Kuchar already was in tight, then a tricky 12-foot putt on the ninth after Kuchar had laid back and spun his approach into 4 feet.

Kuchar caught Johnson with a 15-foot birdie on the 11th, but it unraveled after that.

Kuchar decided to lay up on the par-5 12th - Johnson was in the rough and had no choice - figuring that his wedge game would lead to birdie. But he was on a slope in between wedge, an awkward shot to a tough pin, and his shot landed in the middle and spun back off the green.

He rolled his putt some 6 feet past the hole and missed the next one for bogey to fall one shot behind. On the next hole, Kuchar again had a length putt from just off the green and rammed them past the hole and off the green on the other side to make another bogey. Just like that, he was two shots behind. Against Johnson, it was hard to make that up.

“Sunday tendencies are to come up a little short, and I gave it a little extra,” Kuchar said. “Very frustrating because I feel like that’s the strong part of my game.”

Crews had removed the scoreboards before the last round because of the approaching hurricane, although it didn’t matter to the guys trying to win the tournament. They knew were they stood.

It was farther down the list, where players were trying to get into the top 100 to keep chasing the $10 million FedEx Cup, where it mattered. McGirt had some help from his wife, who was in the gallery.

From the 17th fairway, she flashed “101” with her fingers, to indicate where he was projected to finish in the standings. He pulled 7-iron and produced the “best swing I made all week, bar none” to 5 feet for birdie.

Johnson now has the most wins (5) of any American in his 20s, although this one seemed overdue. He had gone nearly a year since his last win, despite having chances at a World Golf Championship in March and the British Open in July.

He showed off his power by hitting driver on just about every hole, enough to clear bunkers and other trouble. And his putting carried him, especially the key birdies to match Kuchar on the front nine.

The only help he needed was from the weather, and Johnson got that, too.

He grabbed the crystal and the $1.44 million for winning, spoke to the press and then raced across the parking lot to get to a private airport and fly home to South Carolina for a few days. The Deutsche Bank Championship doesn’t start until Friday.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


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Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

Race to the CME Globe

Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

Rolex Player of the Year

The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

It’s simple math.

The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

1st - 30 points

2nd – 12 points

3rd – 9 points

4th – 7 points

5th – 6 points

6th – 5 points

7rd – 4 points

8th – 3 points

9th – 2 points

10th – 1 point

Vare Trophy

Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

Money-winning title

Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.