Notes Nas wild ride 17th becoming easy

By Doug FergusonMay 9, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The PlayersPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' Kevin Na trudged up the 18th fairway, stopped a few yards short of the green and started searching for his ball.
 
It was buried deep in the rough.
 
He probably wished he could have left his entire round there.
 
Na had the wildest round during a strange Saturday at The Players Championship. The 25-year-old Na twice pulled within a stroke of leader Alex Cejka, but followed both of them with near-meltdowns on the unforgiving Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
 
He shot a 2-over 74, was at 5 under heading into the final round and six strokes behind Cejka. It could have been worse, too.
 
This golf course can do that to you, said Na, who turned pro at 17 and is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory. Every hole is birdieable, but definitely you can make an X on it.
 
Na has proof. He made consecutive birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to get to 9 under, then badly misread a long putt on No. 9 that seemed to start the free fall. He pulled his tee shot on No. 10 into the sand, then hit his approach 70 feet past the pin and three-putted for bogey.
 
He yanked his second shot into a tree on the par-5 No. 11 and dropped another shot. Things got even messier at the par-3 13th.
 
His dropped the club during his follow through, then covered his mouth as his tee shot landed in the water left. His third shot landed over the green, leading to a triple bogey.
 
Na managed to regroup and get back near the top of the leaderboard with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 15 and an eagle at the par-5 16th. But his day ended in forgettable fashion ' with consecutive bogeys that left him in a three-way tie for eighth heading into the final round.
 
It was wild, Na said. Some of the holes youve just got to take your medicine center of the green. I tried that. It was just a little off. I wasnt down the middle of the green, and thats what you need to do out here. Im going to go work on it on the range and figure it out a little bit.
 
He might first want to try to forget the last two holes.
 
Nas tee shot at the famed island green, No. 17, might have been the most baffling. After discussing club selection with his caddie, he watched in disbelief as his ball sailed by the pin and rolled precariously close to the edge of the water.
 
Using a hybrid club, he watched his slippery putt roll past 10 feet past the hole. He missed the par putt, but walked off the green feeling a little lucky he didnt make double bogey.
 
He hoped to get back on track at No. 18, but landed just short of a tree in the right rough. His knocked his approach shot into the tree and it ricocheted into the fairway. He came up short from there and couldnt even find his ball as he walked toward the green.
 
Fans and volunteer marshals had to help him out.
 
This course, its crazy, he said. I love the crowd here. I love the way the finishing holes are. Its just beautiful finishing holes. I think its just a great test of golf. Youve got the greatest players in the world having trouble shooting par on this golf course. It means something. Theres a reason why were shooting over par.
 

 
ANOTHER CUT: For the first time in the tournaments 36-year history, The Players Championship had a second cut. Twelve more players were cut after the third round Saturday, all of them sent home because of a Tour rule that calls for another cut if more than 78 players make it to the weekend.
 
Robert Karlsson, Hunter Mahan, Stewart Cink and Fred Funk were among the dozen players done a day earlier than they had hoped.
 

 
ISLAND PARADISE?: The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, the famed island green that has given players nightmares over the years, has proven to be a much more pleasant place to visit this year.
 
The lagoon hole, the one with swirling winds and daunting galleries, is playing under par for the first time since 1997. The holes scoring average is 2.940 through three rounds, with only 24 balls hit into the murky waters. Only four balls landed in the water Saturday, the fewest in any round since only four also got wet in the third round in 2004.
 

 
DIVOTS: NBC commentator Peter Jacobsen took a playful jab at Tiger Woods, and renowned swing coach Hank Haney, during the third-round broadcast. Jacobsen said he thought Woods would rub off on former NBA star Charles Barkley, who is starring in a reality TV show as Haneys pupil. But Jacobsen said it looked like Barkley was rubbing off on Woods. Only 18 players shot under par in the third round. Woody Austin and Kenny Perry led the way with 68s. Alex Cejkas five-stroke lead is the largest in tournament history heading into the final round.
 

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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."