Dark-Horse Defending Champ Tied at Colonial
He shot a 66 Saturday to remain tied with Phil Mickelson, this time atop the MasterCard Colonial field, and hes suddenly become the man who just wont go away.
Quigley shot a 4-under-par 66 on the par-70 course to own the lead most of the day. The stingy Mickelson birdied the final hole to deadlock the score at 11-under-par. Both passed a fast-fading Corey Pavin, who lost the swing that had served him so well for two days and shot 73.
I said before the day began that I needed to shoot 4- or 5-under today, and fortunately I did, said Quigley, who enjoyed his pairing with Rocco Mediate. It was pretty relaxing. I think for me, in order for me to play well, I need to do that.
I think Brett looked pretty good, said Mickelson, who, like the rest of the PGA Tour, has become a believer. I saw him make a bunch of putts.
It doesnt matter whether I have the lead or not, said Quigley about going into the final round tied for first. He (Mickelson) is going to play well. Ive just got to stay patient. If you hit in the rough, its so difficult.
Mickelson believes in the positive approach. Shoot for pins and damn the torpedos. If you go out aggressively, you can light it up, he said.
Quigley is a dare-devil type who enjoys a lot a sports, including racing. He missed the Touchstone Energy Tucson Classic earlier with a snowboarding injury. But he outdid himself when took a turn at a driving school at Texas Motor Speedway prior to the Colonial.
You are going 160 miles per hour in the Winston Cup cars, and we were literally 2-feet apart. When we were in the backstraight, we could have held hands. It makes a three-footer seem pretty easy when youre looking at that wall going 160 miles per hour.
Quigley served notice that this was possible when he finished second in Greensboro three weeks ago. He missed the cut at New Orleans and everyone assumed he would go away. But the five-year veteran, who has never finished in the top 125 on the money list, looks suspiciously like someone the Tour is going to have to deal with.
He doesnt even have a regular-tour card. Quigley started the season with privileges on the Buy.Com Tour and won an event on that circuit towards the end of April. The next week he shocked everyone by nearly winning the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic on the regular tour. He has decided to try for his card by winning top-125 money from last year, $391,075, and already is $308,000 by virtue of what happened in Greensboro.
And if he finishes in the top five here, he will make it. He apparently has turned his back on trying to make the big tour by finishing in the top 15 on the Buy.Com, at least for now.
The next three weeks will be big for me, said Quigley. I was the last man in for Kemper (next week), and if I play well here, Im going to get into Memorial. If I play well the next three weeks, then I am going to stay out here. The bottom line is, I need to get my job for next year. However I have to do it, Im going to do it.
Quigleys key hole was the ninth, which he parred after having to take a drop on his second shot from a ladys purse. He dropped the ball into deep rough without a penalty, then chipped onto the green 60 feet away. He proceeded to roll the ball into the cup, to the surprise of everyone, including himself.
It was a round-maker, he said of the all-world par. The people stood up and cheered, it was a great feeling.
The difference in the two tours, Buy.Com and the regular tour, is largely mental. Youre playing against the big boys on the regular tour, and youve got to take their money when you have the chance.
You have to get used to playing with Fred Couples, Davis Love, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Quigley said. Theres not much difference in the actual scores. But out here, youre playing with guys you grew up watching on TV. Youve got to compete against them to make a living.
Quigley is showing some signs of being able to compete against them, especially if he finishes this one strongly.
Ive been in this situation before, he said. I need to not put too much pressure on myself to play well. I dont need to worry about results. I just have to go out and play golf.
Shigeki Maruyama shot a 65 and stands third with a score of 8-under. Tied for fourth is Tom Lehman, Mediate and David Toms.
Full-field scores from the MasterCard Colonial
Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers
PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.
It came on St. Patrick’s Day.
“This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”
Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).
One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.
“First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.
Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year. Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.
Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF
PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”
She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.
That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.
With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.
Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.
Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.
Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?
“I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”
Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.
“The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”
Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.
“I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”
About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.
“I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.
Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.
While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.
Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.
“You never know,” she said.
Stenson leads strong cast of Bay Hill contenders
ORLANDO, Fla. – Henrik Stenson has a tortured history here at Bay Hill, a collection of close calls that have tested his mettle and certainly his patience.
Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational won’t get any easier. Not with a course that is already firm and fast and fiery, just the way the King would have wanted it. And not with 13 players within five shots of the lead, a group that includes Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and, yes, even Tiger Woods.
Without his best stuff Saturday, Stenson still managed to edge ahead of Bryson DeChambeau to take a one-shot lead heading into the final round. It’s familiar territory for the Swede, who posted four consecutive top-10s here from 2013-16, including a few agonizing near-misses.
Three years ago, Stenson appeared on his way to victory when he was put on the clock on the 15th hole. Rattled, he three-putted the next two holes and lost by a stroke. The following year, he was tied for the lead with three holes to play, then hit it in the water on 16 and bogeyed two of the last three holes.
“It wouldn’t be the only tournament where you feel like you’ve got some unfinished business,” Stenson said, “but I’ve been up in the mix a few times and we’re here again, so of course I would like to see a different outcome.”
What will be interesting Sunday is whether history repeats itself.
Neither Stenson nor DeChambeau is quick-paced, with DeChambeau even acknowledging that he’s one of the game’s most methodical players, stepping off pitch shots and checking (and re-checking) his reads on the green. With so much at stake, it’s not a stretch to imagine both players grinding to a halt on a course that got “crusty” in the late-afternoon sun.
“We’ve got a lot of guys behind me,” DeChambeau said, “so I’ve got to go deep tomorrow.”
The 24-year-old earned his breakthrough victory last July at the John Deere Classic, but that was one hot week as he tried to play his way out of a slump.
Even this week’s performance was unexpected, after he withdrew from the Valspar Championship because of a balky back.
Last weekend he underwent an MRI (clean), didn’t touch a club for three days and showed up here cautiously optimistic. His ball-striking hasn’t suffered at all – in fact, he’s ranked fifth in strokes gained-tee to green – and now he’s relishing the chance to take on some of the game’s biggest names.
“Whatever happens,” he said, “it’s going to be a great learning experience.”
Of the 13 players within five shots of the lead, 10 are Tour winners. That includes McIlroy, whose putter has finally come alive, and Rose, who shot a third-round 67 to move within three shots, and Fowler, whose game is finally rounding into form, and also Woods, who has won a record eight times at Bay Hill.
Even if he doesn’t pick up a pre-Masters victory – he’s five shots back, the same deficit he erased here in 2009 – Woods has showed flashes of his old self at one of his favorite playgrounds, whether it’s the blistered 2-irons off the tee, the daring approach shots or the drained 40-footers.
“I’ve got a chance,” he said.
And so do the rest of the major champions and PGA Tour winners assembled near the top of the leaderboard.
It should be a wild final round at Arnie’s Place – even if Stenson, for once, is hoping for a drama-free Sunday.
DeChambeau uses big words to describe back injury
ORLANDO, Fla. – Bryson DeChambeau needed just 30 seconds of explaining the state of his lower back to send the media center at the Arnold Palmer Invitational spinning.
DeChambeau shot an even-par 72 in the third round at Bay Hill, and he will start the final round one shot behind Henrik Stenson as he looks to win for the second time in his young PGA Tour career. DeChambeau’s strong play this week comes in the wake of his decision to withdraw from last week’s Valspar Championship because of a bad back.
DeChambeau is no stranger to new vocabulary words or adopting a scientific take on matters, and it was when he delved into the details of his injury that things got interesting.
“It was because my quadratus lumborum wasn’t working. My iliacus, longissimus thoracis, they were all kind of over-working if you want to get technical on that,” DeChambeau said. “But they weren’t working very well, and I overworked them. Pretty much my lower right back was hurting and I rested it. How about that?”
DeChambeau tied for fifth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last month, but he has struggled to find results in the weeks since. One of the keys to a quick recovery between Innisbrook and Bay Hill was some time on the couch this past weekend and a binge session of The Walking Dead on Netflix.
“I literally didn’t do anything, and that’s really the first time I’ve done that in my entire life. I’ve never actually taken three days off where I didn’t touch a club,” DeChambeau said. “So that was unique for me and actually took me some time to acclimate to that, my body to get comfortable to get in a rested state. And then once it was finally able to rest, it healed a little bit and I was able to make a run for it this week.”