Garcia rides hole-outs to 64, BMW lead through 36

By Doug FergusonSeptember 5, 2014, 11:54 pm

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. - Sergio Garcia hit great shots that led to eagle, birdie and par Friday. They carried him to a 6-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the BMW Championship on ever-changing Cherry Hills.

Garcia holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the second hole. He holed a lob wedge for eagle on the short, par-4 seventh hole. And after hitting into the water going for the green on the par-5 17th hole, he escaped with par by getting up-and-down with a wedge to a foot.

He needed them all.

Ryan Palmer also made eagle with a short wedge on the seventh hole, and he finished birdie-birdie for a 64 to end up a shot behind.

Rory McIlroy made three straight birdies late in his round and left his last putt on the edge of the cup. The late surge gave the world's No. 1 player another 67 and put him two shots behind. Billy Horschel, a runner-up last week at the TPC Boston, had a 66 and was tied with McIlroy.

Garcia was at 8-under 132.


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Barring a charge that would make even Arnold Palmer proud, Phil Mickelson is playing his last PGA Tour event of the season. He twice hit into the water - making a triple bogey on the par-3 12th and a bogey on the 17th - and shot a 76. Mickelson, who needs to finish about fourth to qualify for the Tour Championship, was 14 shots behind and in a tie for 63rd in the 68-man field.

Jason Day withdrew on the ninth hole with a back injury and said he would try to be ready for the Tour Championship.

The only peculiar part of Garcia's day was his left ear. He was on the sixth green when he felt a series of beeps, followed by a ''pop'' that made him feel uncomfortable for about the next hour before it finally went away. He's not sure what it was. He's not sure there's a word for it in Spanish.

''It's happened before, but usually I kind of blow it and it gets back,'' Garcia said. ''But for some reason, it just didn't feel quite the same. And it still doesn't, but it's definitely better. It shouldn't be too big of a deal.''

But it clearly didn't affect his golf.

''Obviously, it helped, because then I made 2 on the next hole,'' he said with a laugh.

The turnaround came at the end of his round. He went for the green in two on the 17th and came up well short. With the tough 18th ahead of him, it looked as though he would lose his lead and perhaps even more ground. But he hit wedge to tap-in range for his par, and then made one only six birdies on the closing hole at Cherry Hills.

''It's only Friday, so we still have two days to go,'' he said. ''But it definitely helped my frame of mind going into the 18th tee, which today was playing quite hard. So it was nice to be able to get that up-and-down and then play 18 really well.''

Masters champion Bubba Watson had no trouble with the water on the 17th. He has taken on the cross bunkers both days with his driver, leaving him only an 8-iron Thursday and a 9-iron Friday. He made eagle the second time, shot 66 and was in the group at 4-under 136 that included Graham DeLaet of Canada and Hideki Matsuyama, who came into the week at No. 30 in the FedEx Cup.

The top 30 advance to the Tour Championship for a shot at the $10 million bonus.

Palmer has been showing up on leaderboards over the last month - share of the first-round lead at the PGA Championship and an opening 63 last week in Boston. He thought the greens might be softer because of the rain, and he was right. Palmer saw a few approach shots on No. 1 and told his caddie the course would be there for the taking.

He waited until the end to grab it with four birdies in his last five holes.

''It was a great way to finish,'' he said. ''I was glad I was one of the ones that shot low.''

McIlroy also made a late surge after starting with one birdie, one bogey and 12 pars. He began to turn it around with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 15th, a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th and a long two-putt birdie at the 17th.

He shot the same score and felt entirely different - finishing with two late bogeys one day, three late birdies the next.

''I feel much better coming off the golf course because I birdied three of the last four holes,'' McIlroy said. ''I sort of struggled to get anything going today. It was a little cooler, so the ball wasn't going quite as far, a little bit of wind ... even though the course was softer, it still played pretty tough.''

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.