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
Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational
Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.
The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.
Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.
“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”
Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews
Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.
Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.
Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form
Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.
Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.
Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.
Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA.
New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.
Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.
Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.
Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.
Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.
Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions.
Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might
Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.
“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”
Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”
“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”
Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)
Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”
Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.
“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"
As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.
"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.
Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”