Westwood maintains slim lead at The Players

By Doug FergusonMay 9, 2010, 12:01 am

The Players Championship

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – A scrambling par on the final hole allowed England’s Lee Westwood to keep the one-shot lead that he started with Saturday at The Players Championship.

Phil Mickelson suddenly is back in the picture, along with a possible No. 1 ranking. Tiger Woods is not.

Westwood, who fell two shots behind with six holes left in the third round, avoided the kind of mistakes on the back nine that slowed Heath Slocum and finished with a 2-under 70 to take a one-shot lead over Australian Robert Allenby going into the final round on the always unpredictable TPC Sawgrass.

Allenby was five shots behind when he walked off the 13th tee. He answered with a 6-iron to just outside 12 feet on the par-5 16th for eagle, then a 12-foot birdie on the island-green 17th that curled into the side of the cup. He shot a 67 and will play in the final group.

Westwood was at 14-under 202.

“The golf course changed a lot. It got really firm this afternoon,” Westwood said. “I thought I played well – gave myself a lot of chances, missed a couple, but all in all, I was pleased with the way I played. I didn’t make too many poor shots out there.”

He certainly didn’t on the 18th after his drive landed in a drain grate. He took a free drop, saw a gap in the trees and hit a 6-iron onto the green to give himself another shot at winning.

A month ago, Westwood had a one-shot lead over Mickelson going into the last round of the Masters.

Mickelson began the day nine shots out of the lead, the same as Woods.

They went opposite directions, however. Mickelson didn’t make a bogey until the final hole for a 66 to put himself back into the picture, just five shots behind Westwood. The 10 players ahead of him have a combined 14 victories on the PGA Tour.

“I feel like things started to click a little bit today, and I think I’ve got one more low round in me,” Mickelson said. “I just hope that it will be enough, that I’ll be within striking distance.”

To reach No. 1 for the first time in his career, Mickelson has to win and have Woods finish out of the top five. Woods did hit part with a bogey-bogey finish for a 71 that put him 10 shots behind in a tie for 45th. His final bogey came after Woods popped up another 3-wood and had to hit fairway metal to the green.

It was the second time this week he hit a fairway metal for his second shot to a par 4.

“I had it going for a little bit,” Woods said. “I thought if I could have birdied 16 and 17, I’d have been right back in the tournament.”

Even for the 14 players separated by five shots, so much depends on Westwood and Allenby.

U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, the only player in the top 10 with a major, didn’t make a birdie until the ninth hole in his round of 69. He was at 12-under 204, along with Torrey Pines winner Ben Crane (68) and Francesco Molinari of Italy, who had a 71.

Slocum, who won the opening playoff event last year against a cast of stars, ran off three birdies in four holes around the turn to reach 15 under until a three-putt from the fringe below a steep ridge on the 13th changed everything. Slocum also bogeyed the 15th, then dumped his tee shot into the water on the par-3 17th for a double bogey. After all that work, he shot 72.

“What I’m going to have to do tomorrow is play perfect and finish strong,” Slocum said.

His poor finish put him at 11-under 205, three shots behind and tied with Tim Clark (66), Charley Hoffman (69) and Chris Stroud (66), a newcomer to this stage.

Westwood closed out both of his nines well. He hit a towering 5-wood over the trees on the par-5 ninth for a simple up-and-down for birdie, then the 6-iron on the 18th through the trees. His lone birdie on the back required a small break when his tee shot went through some pines and left him only an 8-iron to the green at the par-5 16th.

Allenby’s only blemish on the back nine looked ugly – a bladed lob wedge through the 12th green. He was in a divot in the rough, however, and wasn’t bothered by the bogey.

Even as he walked off the tee and saw Slocum in the group behind approaching at 15 under – five shots ahead – Allenby didn’t panic.

“That’s the thing,” Allenby said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen out there. All you can do is just play your own golf. But I knew I had to push it a little bit just to try to get within reach. Obviouslyly, the leaderboard changed a couple of times through the back nine. Luckily for me, I did well on the finishing holes.”

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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.


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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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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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