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
If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it
NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.
She says she always gets nervous starting a round.
You don’t believe it, though.
She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .
Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .
Or disarming ticking bombs . . .
“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.
Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.
Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.
Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.
At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.
She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.
She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.
And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.
There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.
Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.
It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.
Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.
Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.
“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”
About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.
Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.
“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”
David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.
“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”
Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.
Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . .
“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.
Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.
“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”
Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.
“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.
Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.
National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.
The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.
Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.
These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:
Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.
This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.
“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”
Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.
In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.
If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.
“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”
Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.
Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.
''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''
The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.
The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.
''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''
Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.
''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''
First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).
Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.
''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.
''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''