Kuchar leads after first day at Cog Hill

By Doug FergusonSeptember 9, 2010, 10:32 pm
BMW Championship

LEMONT, Ill. – Already having his best season, Matt Kuchar got off to his best start of the year Thursday in the BMW Championship. A mystery season for Tiger Woods took another unexpected turn.

Kuchar, who won the opening FedEx Cup playoff event to position himself for the $10 million bonus, wasted no time putting his name atop the leaderboard. He finished with an 18-foot birdie putt for a 7-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Ryan Moore.

Ian Poulter of England, who has finished in the top 10 only once since winning the Match Play Championship in February, had a 66 for the best round of the afternoon despite opening with a double bogey.

Woods also started with a double bogey, but he never got those shots back.

With one last bogey on the 18th hole, he wound up with a 73 to leave himself in a big hole as he tries to advance to the final stage of the playoffs in Atlanta. It was his highest round at Cog Hill since he opened with a 73 in the 2005 Western Open. It also ended a streak of 11 consecutive rounds in the 60s on the public course in the Chicago suburbs where he has won five times. 

Matt Kuchar
Kuchar's 64 is his best opening round of the year. (Getty Images)

Woods should be used to rough starts by now. His scoring average in the first round this year is 71.08, compared with 68.9 a year ago in the same tournaments.

Even so, it was peculiar to hear him discuss how much ground he has to make up – not against Kuchar, but the finish he needs to get into the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings and advance to the Tour Championship.

“As of right now, I’m only five shots back out of that spot,” Woods said. “That’s not bad.”

Everything is good with Kuchar at the moment, except his voice. He is playing so well – a winner at The Barclays, a tour-high 10 finishes in the top 10 this year – that there’s really nothing left for him to say.

Not that he had a choice. Kuchar has laryngitis and begged off a series of interviews, letting his score speak for itself. It was the second-best start of his career, and the 21st time in 23 events this year that he broke par in the opening round.

“Just keep playing,” Kuchar said to one question he felt good enough to answer. “I was driving it well. I was actually doing everything well. It felt very good. Last week was a little bit suspect, and this week I kind of figured some stuff out.”

Something clicked for Moore when he least expected it.

Dressed in a black sweater and white golf shirt, with a tie hung loosely around his neck, Moore was 1 over for the round and in a bunker on the 11th. He holed that out for birdie, hit 3-iron to 5 feet for birdie, and after a par, finished with five straight birdies.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting to do that,” Moore said. “I hit a horrible tee shot on 11 with an even worse lay-up, and then I hit a terrible shot from there into a bunker and then holed out. I don’t know. Just got a little positive momentum going from there.”

Poulter had to find some quickly. He hit his opening tee shot to the right on the 10th hole, put his approach into a front bunker and then caught that clean and sent it over the green. He missed a 4-foot putt and took double bogey, although it helped that it’s about a 250-yard walk to the next tee.

“Nice first round,” he said. “Not a very nice first hole, mind you.”

Retief Goosen and Charlie Wi were at 67, while the group at 68 included Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald and Justin Rose.

Phil Mickelson, not a fan of Cog Hill, ended with a bogey on the par-5 ninth hole for a 72. Mickelson swapped out playing in the pro-am to do a corporate function, and instead played Butler National on Wednesday, which he raved about.

He was asked if it was harder to play a course for which he has little affection.

“Yes,” he replied.

Woods feels the opposite, although that was hard to tell by the way he played. He began by hitting a poor bunker shot, an even worse chip and a bad putt for a double bogey. He missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the ninth. With an iron into the par-5 15th, he hit it well left into a tree and had to settle for par.

“I just didn’t have much today,” Woods said.

He also was nine shots behind in 2005 when he opened with a 73, and Woods wound up in second place two shots behind. But he was a little more predictable back then. What gave Woods hope is that despite such calm conditions, no one went lower than 64.

“Guys aren’t going low at this place because the greens aren’t good enough to go low,” he said. “Obviously, there’s a couple of players that have played well today, but overall, the guys just aren’t tearing the place apart.”

Woods is No. 51 in the standings, and the top 30 make it to the Tour Championship. He likely needs to finish around fifth place this week to go to East Lake in Atlanta.

The good fortune of Andres Romero appears to have run out. The Argentine birdied four of his last five holes at The Barclays to narrowly advance to the second round, and he tied for 11th in Boston to make it to the third round. He is No. 68 in the standings, but made five bogeys in six holes to start his round and shot 80.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.