Haas leads DeLaet by 1; Spieth 6 back

By Doug FergusonMarch 12, 2016, 11:06 pm

PALM HARBOR, Fla. - Bill Haas took a swing tip from his father on Tuesday and converted it into a 54-hole lead at the Valspar Championship.

Haas atoned for a three-putt bogey on the 13th by chipping in for birdie from behind the 15th green on his way to a 4-under 67 on Saturday at Innisbrook, giving him a one-shot lead over Graham DeLaet of Canada going into the final round.

Jay Haas, a nine-time PGA Tour winner and the Presidents Cup captain the last two times, had a week off from the PGA Tour Champions and spent three days with his son. It was on the par-5 fifth hole during a practice round that the father suggested Haas use a more abbreviated follow-through on his swing to get his hands moving faster.

It seems to have worked.

On a Copperhead course that has yet to yield a round lower than 66, Haas put together his second straight 67 to reach 8-under 205.

DeLaet, now sporting a beard that would make Old Tom Morris proud, pounded a shot out of the rough and over the water to 3 feet on the par-5 14th for an eagle that shot him up the leaderboard, and he finished with a 68 to get into the last group.


Valspar Championship: Articles, photos and videos


It's still up in the air on Sunday because of the nature of Innisbrook, which takes shots away more often than it gives up birdies. Six players were within four shots of the lead, and even Jordan Spieth believes he is still in the mix.

Spieth, who opened his title defense with a 76, made the cut with one shot to spare on Friday and moved into a tie for ninth on Saturday with a bogey-free 67 in which he holed a long eagle putt and made a pair of key par saves coming in.

"To think after the first round that I might be able to sleep with a chance to win the golf tournament, I'm very pleased with that," Spieth said.

Charley Hoffman (67) and Ryan Moore (69) were three shots behind.

Charles Howell III holed a bunker shot for birdie on No. 12 only to three-putt from 70 feet on the closing hole for a 70. He was four shots behind, though still has a reasonable chance to win and earn a return to the Masters, which motivates the Augusta, Georgia, native this time of the year.

He was amazed to still be this close to the lead.

"This course continues to surprise me in that it just doesn't give up good scores," Howell said. "What am I? Tied for fifth? I would have thought the lead would be 10 or 12 under, and more than one guy there. But maybe that's just me getting my head beat in."

Steve Stricker, who shared the 36-hole lead with Will MacKenzie, didn't make another birdie after the fifth hole and had to settle for a 72. He also was at4-under 209, along with Patrick Reed (68), whom Spieth beat in a playoff last year at Innisbrook.

In the group with Spieth was Lee McCoy, the Georgia senior who ran off five straight birdies around the turn and was headed for a rare low score at Innisbrook until he put his tee shot in the water on the 16th and took double bogey. He still shot a 66 and was six shots behind, and he gets to play the final round with Spieth.

Spieth is the defending champion. McCoy knows the course even better. He grew up near Innisbrook, describing his house as a par 5 away from the course. He played Saturday with Gary Woodland, and McCoy told him that he was in the gallery when Woodland won five years ago.

They will be chasing Haas, who is coming off a big moment in his career last October when he won the decisive point in the Presidents Cup with his father as captain. It hasn't carried over, at least not yet. Haas has a pair of top-10s this year, though he has not seriously contended.

"Half of it is these guys are really good," Haas said. "I'm trying to beat some really good players and they're beating me right now. I just haven't been sharp. When the Presidents Cup was won, being in the last match and handling some pressure, that was a great stepping stone for me. Hopefully, it will lead to better things. But I've still got to play well tomorrow."

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

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: