Fowler 1 back heading into weekend in Phoenix

By Nick MentaFebruary 6, 2016, 12:25 am

Rickie Fowler flagged his approach at the 18th hole Friday and cleaned up for a closing birdie and a round of 3-under 68. Here's how things look heading into the weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where Fowler trails by just one:

Leaderboard: James Hahn (-10), Fowler (-9), Danny Lee (-9), Hideki Matsuyama (-7), Shane Lowry (-7), Harris English (-7)

What it means: Fowler has been on a tear since last May, winning four times worldwide, including two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi. He sits one behind Hahn, who won his first PGA Tour title one year ago when he bested Dustin Johnson in a playoff at Riviera. But the 36-hole leader has struggled in the 12 intervening months to follow up on that success, having posted just two other top-10s. Tied with Fowler at 9 under is Lee, who also won his first Tour title last year, at The Greenbrier, and tied for second at the Tour Championship. Of the three, only Hahn is not currently invited to the Masters in April. A win this week would get him there. 

Round of the day: Hahn jumped into the lead with a bogey-free round of 6-under 65. He made three birdies going out and three more coming in. He has dropped just one shot this week, at the par-3 seventh in Round 1. Scott Piercy also turned in 65, making five birdies, one bogey, and one eagle at the par-5 13th. He sits five shots back at 5 under after an opening 72.

Best of the rest: Three players - Lee, Zach Johnson and Jeff Overton - shot 66 in Round 2. Lee made five birdies across his first eight holes before playing the remainder of the round even par, trading two birdies with two bogeys.

Biggest disappointments: Notable names to miss the even-par cut include Justin Thomas (+2), Kevin Kisner (+2), David Lingmerth (+3), Hunter Mahan (+3), Tony Finau (+3), Jason Dufner (+3), Fabian Gomez (+4) and Ian Poulter (+4).  

Shot of the day: In only his second PGA Tour start, 21-year-old Jack Maguire made his first PGA Tour ace Friday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The former Florida State Seminole pulled 7-iron at the 192-yard par-3 12th and found the bottom of the cup:

Quote of the day: "I used words that I shouldn't have used. I didn't explain myself well. My wife says that, too, when I go home. I don't communicate very well." - Bubba Watson, apologizing for his remarks from Wednesday.

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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 10 shots behind leader 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 five 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."