Three-way tie for Wells Fargo lead

By Doug FergusonMay 3, 2012, 11:11 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Webb Simpson was nervous playing in the same group with Tiger Woods. It sure didn't show Thursday in the Wells Fargo Championship.

Simpson chipped in from 35 yards in front of the par-4 eighth green for eagle, and then made Woods shake his head and smile when he holed a 60-foot birdie putt that might have rolled off the 12th green if the cup didn't get in the way. It led to a 7-under 65 for a share of the lead Thursday with Stewart Cink and Ryan Moore.

''I was nervous playing with Tiger. I prayed a lot out there,'' said Simpson, who lives about a mile away from Quail Hollow and already was on edge about trying to perform well for the neighbors. ''Once I made a couple birdies, I kind of enjoyed it.''

There was a lot to like for just about everyone on a steamy day in Carolina. With temperatures pushing 90 and barely a breeze, scoring conditions were so ideal that even par was over the cut line going into the second round. The average score was 71.72, the lowest for the first round in the 10-year history of the tournament.

Woods failed to take advantage. In his first tournament since a tie for 40th at the Masters – his worst performance as a pro at Augusta National – he made too many mistakes early and had to one-putt three of the last four greens for a 71.

''I've got to obviously not make those little mistakes like that tomorrow,'' Woods said. ''We've got a long way to go, and we've got some rain coming probably on the weekend, so we're going to have to go get it.''

So many others did just that, including Cink, who has been mired in a slump. He ended an already solid day with three straight birdies, holing a 20-foot putt on the ninth for his lowest round of the year. Moore also birdied his last three holes.

Rickie Fowler, still searching for his first PGA Tour win in his third full season, led a group of five players at 66 that included Patrick Reed, the 21-year-old from Augusta State who has Monday qualified to get into the last two tournaments.

The scoring was so low that about one-quarter of the field shot in the 60s, and half of them broke par.

''I think any time you get Tour players in 90-degree weather with not much wind, it's naturally going to soften out the greens,'' Simpson said. ''I think you've seen over the years, the hotter it is and the less wind there is, the scores are going to be really good. And I think that's what happened. They can't get the greens too firm with this weather. It will just burn them out.''

He didn't have much of an explanation for his own golf, considering he had only two rounds in the 60s in his previous three starts at Quail Hollow. Plus, there was that apprehension about playing with Woods, and the large crowd the 14-time major champion attracts.

The only other time Simpson played with Woods didn't last long. It was the final round of Doral this year, where Simpson jokingly said, ''I accidentally kicked him in the leg and he withdrew.'' Woods left after 11 holes that day with tightness in his left Achilles tendon, which raised questions about his future until Woods won two weeks later at Bay Hill.

Eleven holes at Doral at least gave Simpson a taste of what to expect.

''We went from 10,000 people every hole to zero people,'' he said.

Thousands of fans on a scorching day at Quail Hollow followed them around all afternoon, with Simpson and Geoff Ogilvy (71) in tow. Simpson is the one who generated most of the cheers. He stuffed his tee shot on the par-3 second and his approach on the third to inside 3 feet for birdies, holed a birdie putt just inside 30 feet on the sixth, and then chipped in for his eagle at No. 8.

Simpson joined the morning leaders with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 11th, but no birdie was more unlikely than No. 12. His tee shot went into the right rough, and because of trees blocking the flight of his ball, hit a low bullet that ran up the hill to the back side of the green, leaving him a 60-foot putt that swung sharply to the left and ran quickly away from him.

He was trying to get it within about 6 feet of the hole, and it dove into the cup. Simpson flung his belly putter to the ground and laughed, which is about all he could think of to do.

''I play here a lot, and I knew where I hit it was pretty dead,'' he said. ''So, yeah, I'll take it.''

Phil Mickelson recovered from a tee shot that went out-of-bounds and led to triple bogey and shot 71. Rory McIlroy, who earned his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow two years ago by closing with a 62, birdied three of the par 5s but three-putted from 18 feet on the 18th hole and had to settle for a 70.

Fowler led the parade of good scoring in the morning with a round of 66 that was so flawless he never came close to a bogey. He had a birdie putt on all but one green, and the longest putt he had for par was 4 feet. He hit 6-iron to the front pin – a tiny target – on the par-5 seventh hole for an eagle, then birdied three of his last four holes.

Fowler has become a fan favorite, especially with young kids in their orange attire, but he still doesn't have the hardware that matters. Fowler is not nearly as concerned as everyone else about his 0-71 mark on the PGA Tour. He won the Korea Open last year by beating McIlroy, and he feels as though his game is headed in the right direction.

''I feel that I'm good enough to win,'' Fowler said. ''I definitely feel like the amount of people expecting or thinking that I can win is a compliment. I'm not too worried about the talk that goes on about when my first win is coming, but it's my main goal, and that's what I'm focused on.''

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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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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

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Cart on the green


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Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


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Pros comment on the president

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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