Rose, Wilson tied on top at BMW

By Doug FergusonSeptember 16, 2011, 10:08 pm

LEMONT, Ill. – Coming off his best round of the year, Justin Rose figured it couldn’t get much better in the BMW Championship. He was good enough Friday for a 3-under 68 and a share of lead with Mark Wilson.

Rose felt flat at times, especially early on the back nine at Cog Hill on a cool, overcast day in the Chicago suburbs. But a 3-iron into 30 feet for an eagle on the par-5 15th woke him up, and not even a bogey on the last hole changed his outlook on the day or the weekend of this FedEx Cup playoff event.

“You never quite know what to expect after playing so well in the first round,” Rose said of his opening 63. “Actually, my caddie said it’s the best round he’s seen in 20 years out there from a ball-striking perspective. So, there’s only one way to go from there. But today was good.”

It was even better for Wilson, who considers Cog Hill a home course after he moved to the area. Wilson again had a large following of friends and family, and he treated them to a good show. He ran off four straight birdies around the turn, starting with a wedge to tap-in range at No. 8, and was steady the rest of the way for a 66.

They were at 11-under 131.

Webb Simpson, who leads the FedEx Cup and has won two of his last three tournaments, made his only bogey of the tournament on the fifth hole but was otherwise solid in his round of 68 that left him two shots behind.

They will be in the final group Saturday morning, when the tee times are moved forward to finish in time for NBC Sports to televise the Notre Dame football game.

John Senden of Australia, who is No. 55 in the FedEx Cup and needs a top-five finish to advance to the Tour Championship, had a 66 and was alone in fourth place at 134. Bill Haas, who has the Presidents Cup on his mind at No. 12 in on the American list, was another shot back after a 66.

This is a pivotal week for two cups.

The BMW Championship is the final tournament for the top 10 players for U.S. and International teams to qualify for the Presidents Cup. Brandt Snedeker (No. 11) had a 66 and was tied for seventh with a group that included David Toms (No. 10). Also at 5-under 137 were Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby, both of whom are on the bubble for the International side. Another shot behind was Jim Furyk, who is No. 9 on the U.S. list.

For the FedEx Cup, the top 30 advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake for a shot at the $10 million prize.

Wilson, a two-time winner early in the season, already is a lock for East Lake. He would have to win the BMW Championship to earn a spot on the Presidents Cup team, although it could come with an even greater bonus. No one on the PGA Tour has really stood out this year, and these next few weeks are likely to go a long way toward deciding player of the year.

Wilson really isn’t part of the conversation yet. His wins were eight months ago, against fields that were not terribly strong. A win at Cog Hill would be different, not to mention timely.

“That would put me with the most wins of anybody, and then going into East Lake if I can get another one there, I think I’d have a good argument. That’s a lot of ‘ifs,’” Wilson said. “I’ve played great so far. There are a lot of great players out here, but I feel like I’m playing very close to the same form I had when I started the year out. My mind is in a better place, and I’m just kind of accepting the results.

“But yeah, I would definitely put myself in there. Certainly not right now, but I need at least one more win, two more wins to probably be in that discussion.”

Rose is at No. 34 and still looking at this week as having nothing to lose - he wasn’t in the top 30 when he arrived at Cog Hill, so the Englishman figures he could only give it his best shot. That’s not to suggest he is firing at every pin. Rose patiently picked his spots in the second round, and cashed in late with the eagle and birdie.

“I think it’s more of a mental shift,” he said. “It’s not putting pressure on yourself, it’s not getting frustrated out there, it’s having the ability to stay a little more patient, and I think that’s what I’m feeling this week.”

Phil Mickelson is not feeling it. He started his round by missing three birdie putts inside 8 feet—two of them from inside 4 feet - and then had four bogeys on his back nine for a 73 that put him 14 shots behind.

Luke Donald, the world No. 1, bounced back from an opening 75 with a 66 that at least got him to under par. Despite his noble effort, the NCAA champion from Northwestern learned he had a 7:35 a.m. starting time Saturday because of the conflict with NBC Sports and Notre Dame.

Donald ended his day with this tweet: “Thanks Notre Dame for my 7.35am tee time. I knew there was a reason why I didn’t like you!”

 

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x