You Oughta Know: How big is one stroke?

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 12, 2015, 1:26 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Jordan Spieth leads the Masters at 16 under par, four shots ahead of Justin Rose. Here are some things You Oughta Know as we head into the final round here at Augusta National:

• How important was Spieth's 18th-hole up-and-down to save par and preserve his four-shot lead? Over the last two seasons on the PGA Tour players with a lead of four shots or higher entering the final round have won seven of nine tournaments.  Leading by three shots has produced a 3-for-8 record, by four shots is 3 for 4 and by five shots is 4 for 5.

• Spieth set the 54-hole Masters scoring record at 16-under-par 200. Tiger Woods (1997) and Raymond Floyd (1976) had the previous record of 201 and both won their respective tournaments.

• Spieth’s double bogey on the 17th hole cost him a chance at holding the all-time major championship scoring record through 54 holes. Nick Faldo was 17 under par after three rounds of the 1990 British Open. Spieth joined Rory McIlroy (2014 British), Woods (2000 British) and Ernie Els (1995 PGA) at 16 under par.

• Spieth is looking to win his first green jacket in wire-to-wire fashion, which would allow him to join Craig Wood (1941), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Floyd (1976) as wire-to-wire winners.

• The Masters champion has come out of the final pairing in 20 of the last 24 years. Zach Johnson (2007), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bubba Watson (2012) and Adam Scott (2013) are the exceptions.

• The only Masters champion not inside the top 10 after three rounds was Art Wall Jr. in 1959. He was tied for 13th place.

• The third-round leader or co-leader has gone on to win the Masters 42 out of 78 times. Bubba Watson did so last year.

• This will mark the 11th time – and fourth time in a major – that McIlroy and Woods have been paired together.

• Woods (73-69-68) is tied for fifth place at 6 under par. This is the first time he has shot consecutive rounds in the 60s at the Masters since 2005.

• The last time Woods finished inside the top 10 in an official PGA Tour event was 595 days ago, at The Barclays in 2013.

• Rose, from England, is looking to become the 16th player to win the Masters and the U.S. Open. Faldo is the only player from England to win the Masters (1989, 1990, 1996).

• If Phil Mickelson, 44, wins his fourth green jacket he would be the second-oldest winner of the Masters behind Jack Nicklaus, who was 46 in 1986.

• Mickelson has only one top-10 finish in his last 31 starts on the PGA Tour.

• With a win Mickelson would join Lee Trevino and Faldo as players with six major championship victories.

Note: Information from Golf Channel’s editorial research unit was used in this report.

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.