Day maintains two-shot lead at soggy Bay Hill

By Nick MentaMarch 19, 2016, 7:05 pm

ORLANDO, Fla.  Thanks to pushed-up tee times and some luck with the weather, the 76 players in the field managed to dodge a sizable storm Saturday and complete Round 3 at Bay Hill, where Jason Day will take a two-shot lead over Henrik Stenson, Troy Merritt and Kevin Chappell into the final round. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Leaderboard: Day (-15), Merritt (-13), Chappell (-13), Stenson (-13), Derek Fathauer (-11), Justin Rose (-11)

What it means: Day is in search of his eighth PGA Tour win and sixth in the last 13 months. Up two to start the third round, he was briefly overtaken by Stenson, who played Nos. 4-6 in 4 under. But the Aussie drew even one hole later before chipping in for birdie on No. 8 to re-take the lead. He wouldn’t trail again for the remainder of the day. A birdie from the fairway bunker at the par-5 16th pushed his lead to two and closing pars got him into the clubhouse in 2-under 70. As for the chase pack, Merritt birdied two of his last three holes to play with Day in Sunday's final pairing. The 30-year-old broke through for his maiden win at the Quicken Loans last year. Chappell has never won on Tour but owns three runner-ups, including one earlier this season at the RSM Classic. Stenson, ranked seventh in the world, hasn’t won in the U.S. since the 2013 Tour Championship, but finished in second four times last season, including here at Bay Hill. He'll play with Chappell in the second-to-last tee time.

Round of the day: Merritt, Chappell and Ben An recorded 5-under 67s. Chappell birdied four of his first six holes and turned in 3 under before adding two more circles across a bogey-free back nine. Merritt also made the turn 3 under before carding four birdies, three pars and two bogeys on the back. Unlike the other two, An sits 10 shots back at 5 under for the week.

Best of the rest: Five players – Emiliano Grillo, Smylie Kaufman, Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III and Scott Brown – posted 4-under 68. Of the five, Grillo is the closest to the lead at 9 under, six back.

Biggest disappointment: After bouncing back from an opening 75 with a 67 on Friday, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy put three balls in the water en route to another 3-over 75. McIlroy made three double bogeys, his second coming at the par-4 third, his 12th hole of the day, when he found the water not once but twice.

Shot of the day: Day found the right fairway bunker at the par-5 16th and managed to play his second shot from 184 yards to 28 feet, setting up his final birdie of the day that has him ahead by two.

Storyline to watch Sunday: Day and Stenson got the attention Saturday, but their playing partner, world No. 8 Justin Rose, is only four back, tied with Fathauer at 11 under. Rose never challenged for the lead in Round 3 and dropped a shot on 17 but is nonetheless within striking distance for his eighth Tour victory. The 2013 U.S. Open champion has won at least one Tour event every year since 2010.

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and nine shots behind Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and four shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."