Jacobson leads Oosthuizen, Scott, Bradley in China

By Doug FergusonNovember 4, 2011, 9:09 am

SHANGHAI – Adam Scott can join rare company with a second World Golf Championship. Keegan Bradley still has hopes of winning PGA Tour Player of the Year. Paul Casey thought his PGA Tour card was gone, and has a shot at getting it back.

The HSBC Champions, the semi-official end of the PGA Tour and the start of a big finish on the European Tour, offers a little bit of everything to so many players.

Scott, Bradley and Casey put themselves in contention Friday on a humid, overcast day at Sheshan International. They were chasing Fredrik Jacobson, who rattled off six birdies and kept mistakes off his card for a 6-under 66. Jacobson tied the tournament record at 11-under 133 and led by one shot over Scott and Louis Oosthuizen going into the weekend.

Jacobson, a Swede who lives and plays primarily in America, won his first PGA Tour title this year at the Travelers Championship and believes his game has improved to the point that he can think about getting on his first Ryder Cup team.

That’s still 10 months away.

There are more immediate goals for others in Shanghai, and not just of the PGA Tour variety.

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy still has the best chance of running down Luke Donald on the European Tour money list, though he might need to win the HSBC Champions and fare well in Hong Kong in three weeks to make a real game of it. McIlroy sputtered along Friday on a day of supreme scoring, trading birdies with too many bogeys for a 69 that left him six shots behind.

“I was just always trying to play catch up,” McIlroy said. “I feel like over the past two days, I’ve left quite a few shots out there. It’s one of those things. I just have to try and make them up over the weekend.

“I’ll need to do something pretty good over the weekend if I want to try and win this tournament.”

Scott was in much better shape after making nine birdies in his 18 holes and missing only one green in his round of 65.

As always, Scott feels as though he could have done more this year, though he wouldn’t trade that one win at the Bridgestone Invitational. A win this week would allow him to join Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only players to win multiple World Golf Championships in the same year. Woods did it five times, while Mickelson won at Doral and the HSBC in 2009.

“That would be a really good year,” Scott said. “I feel like overall I played really well this year, and I wouldn’t say I would be disappointed to only win one tournament for the year. But I feel like I’ve played well enough, and been in a position a few other times, and haven’t taken advantage of it. So I would like to be in a position late on Sunday and see if I can edge out the field here.

“And then to win two World Golf Championships … these are the tournaments that you want to add up by the end of your career.”

He certainly looked up to the task while playing alongside Bradley and Lee Westwood, a threesome that combined to make 16 birdies and an eagle that kept their gallery thoroughly entertained. Westwood wound up with a 68 and was four shots out of the lead.

Scott led the way by running off four straight birdies early in his round, capped off by a 7-iron from 190 yards to 3 feet on the par-3 sixth. It looked as though he might make it five in a row until he tried to ram in a 12-foot birdie putt, only to run it some 5 feet by the hole and three-putted for bogey. He bounced back with two more birdies to close out his front nine and get into the hunt.

Bradley might have the most at stake this week. A win at Sheshan International would be his PGA Tour-leading third win of the year, and with two of those being the PGA Championship and a WGC, it might be enough to be voted Player of the Year.

For now, Bradley was pleased to still be in the game.

He was even par on the back, and thankful for it. On two holes, Bradley left himself 10 feet and 12 feet away for par, and both times he holed the putt. He missed his last four tee shots, yet hit a sand wedge to 5 feet for birdie on the last hole to salvage a 70 and stay only two shots behind at the halfway point.

“The birdie on 18 was big,” Bradley said. “Today could have easily been even par, and I was 2 under. I’m only two shots back. I’m in a really good spot. I know I could shoot a really good number on this course again.”

Malaysia winner Bo Van Pelt had a 69 – he’s 31 under in his six rounds of this Asian adventure – and was three shots behind. Joining him was Casey, who suddenly has a chance for a happy ending to an otherwise dour year.

Casey dealt most of the year with a foot injury that got his swing out of sync. His domestic PGA Tour season ended at Sea Island a few weeks ago when he missed the cut, and he wound up at No. 136 on the money list to lose his tour card.

However, just as it does for Bradley, a win at the HSBC Champions would count as official for PGA Tour members. That means Casey, who had limited status when he left for Shanghai, could return home with an official win and a three-year exemption.

“The season is not over yet, although I kind of feel like I’m working toward next year already,” Casey said. “And the golf I played today is the golf I remember playing.”

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

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.”