Simpson takes 1-shot lead in Wells Fargo

By Doug FergusonMay 5, 2012, 10:38 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The cheers Webb Simpson heard Saturday at Quail Hollow were all for him.

Simpson, who lives about a mile away from the golf course, emerged from a crowded leaderboard with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole. He finished with a 3-under 69 for a one-shot lead in the Wells Fargo Championship.

Simpson, who played the opening two rounds with crowd favorite Tiger Woods, was among seven players who had a share of the lead at some point in the third round. One of them was Rory McIlroy, who can return to No. 1 in the world this week. McIlroy was slowed by a three-putt late in his round but still had a 66 and was among those two shots behind.

Five players were tied until Simpson made his birdie and finished with a solid par to reach 14-under 202.

Ryan Moore (68) and D.A. Points (69) were one shot behind, though nothing was settled on a steamy afternoon except for Simpson atop the leaderboard and a lot of his neighbors loving it.

Ten players were separated by four shots going into the final round, with McIlroy and another 23-year-old sure to command a lot of the attention. Rickie Fowler, trying to win for the first time on the PGA Tour, played in the group ahead of McIlroy, and they matched birdies for much of the round. Fowler had a 67 and was three shots back.

Nick Watney, the 36-hole leader, missed three birdie chances inside 15 feet over the last seven holes and then took bogey on the 18th when his drive tumbled into the creek. Watney had to settle for a 72 and joined McIlroy at 12-under 204.

Stewart Cink, another player in that five-way tie, took four putts from the front of the 18th green for a double bogey and shot a 71. Even so, he was only three shots back as he tries to win for the first time since the 2009 British Open at Turnberry.

Geoff Ogilvy finished right after the leaders teed off, and despite a bogey from the creek on the 18th, he shot a 65. Ogilvy figured it would at least get him within range, but as the wind picked up and the course became much tougher late in the day, the former U.S. Open champion wound up only four shots behind.

Phil Mickelson ran off four straight birdies late in his round. He and Lee Westwood had 68s and were nine shots back.

Simpson has the crowd on his side, and it wasn't hard to figure out. Watney blasted a beautiful drive on the par-5 15th, followed by a fairway metal into the wind to the fringe for a two-putt birdie and a share of the lead. Walking off the green, he looked back at the crowd clapping wildly for Simpson making birdie to join him atop the leader board.

''It's like playing with Phil,'' Watney said. ''Visiting team.''

Watney wasn't at all bitter about this. After all, he is staying with Simpson this week. They have a deal that high score takes out the garbage, a chore that falls to Watney.

McIlroy won the Wells Fargo two years ago when he made the cut on the number, then had a 66-62 weekend to win. He was only six back going into the third round and said his task would be easier. He was joking, but he might have been right.

It already was going to be a good weekend. McIlroy went to dinner Friday night to celebrate his 23rd birthday, and he got quite a surprise when his parents, Gerry and Rose, flew up from Florida to join him. Then, McIlroy birdied his opening three holes and kept right on going.

He was particularly strong at the end of his round, ripping a drive 344 yards into the wind on the 15th that left him a 4-iron to the green.

McIlroy didn't care how far his drive went. He was more concerned with the leaderboard, and he liked what he saw.

The question is whether anyone else was paying attention.

''I hope so,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm not so sure. The guys that are at the top of the leaderboard are really accomplished players, and I'm just one of a bunch of guys that can go out and win there tomorrow. But maybe. Maybe if they see my name on the leaderboard, they might start to think about it a little bit more.''

Fowler didn't look intimidated. There was a backup on the tee at the par-3 17th. Fowler hit a tight draw to a tough pin and walking off the tee, looked back at McIlroy and nodded to him with a smile.

The only time Fowler won as a pro was in the Korean Open, and it came at McIlroy's expense. More key for Fowler was the third round. It was only the third time in nine tries this year that he broke 70 in the third round, and those were his best finishes of the year.

''All in all, it was what we needed to do - Moving Day, moving in the right direction and put myself into a position where we can go out and have a little bit of fun tomorrow,'' Fowler said.

Even so, the edge might go to McIlroy. He looks primed to go back to No. 1 for the third time this year. His game has looked sharper each day. And of the top 22 players going into the final round, he is the only player to have won this year.

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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.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Finances


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm