Love Has Sights Set on Fifth Title

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
Craig Barlow leads Davis Love III by a stroke in the MCI Heritage Classic.
Its nothing new for either player. Love is always in contention at this event, while Barlow has had the lead on more than one occasion on the PGA Tour.
Ive led every round of a tournament except on Sunday, said Barlow. Ive been the first-round leader, second-round leader and third-round leader, and I have one more to accomplish.
Barlow fired a 6-under 65 Thursday, coming home in a course-record 8-under 28. Ive shot 28 once before, but not in a tournament, he said.
Love and John Senden had a 66 in Round 1. Ten players are tied for fourth place. 2000 champion Stewart Cink, Chad Campbell, Rocco Mediate, David Sutherland, Greg Chalmers, Rod Pampling, Kenny Perry, Tom Pernice, Jr., Hal Sutton and Scott Simpson shot 4-under 67.
Len Mattiace, who lost last week's Masters Tournament in a playoff to Mike Weir, is among those at 3-under.
While Barlow is seeking his first career tour victory, Love is vying for his fifth career win in this event alone.
He won in 1987, 91, 92 and 98. Sam Snead holds the record for most tour titles in the same event with eight at Greensboro.
In addition to his domination at Harbour Town Golf Links, Love also has a pair of wins under his belt this year ' both at venues where he had previously prevailed.
Love won for the second time at Pebble Beach and for the second time at the TPC at Sawgrass. The last time he had a three-win campaign was 1992 ' a year, incidentally, in which he won both The Players Championship and the Heritage.
Love appeared ready to again capture this event last year. However, he followed his opening 62 with 68-72-71, and finished four back of eventual winner Justin Leonard.
I think thats the way I kind of describe my whole last two years, Love said. Before this year, every once in awhile, Id have a good round and it would put me on the leaderboard, but I really wasnt playing 100 percent where I felt like I was winning or on top of everything.
Aside from a poor first round last week at Augusta ' when he shot 77 ' Love has been on top of just about everything this season.
Never was it more evident than when he fired a final-round 64 in cold, windy, wet weather to win The Players.
A couple of guys were teasing me in the locker room saying, Oh, you were working hard on the range yesterday for a guy that just shot 64 in The Players, said Love.
You know, youve got to be ready and so I worked at it yesterday to make sure that I was going to be comfortable with my driver and my 3-wood (this week).
The practice paid off Thursday as he hit all 14 fairways on the precision layout. He also needed only 24 official putts, which didnt include rolling in a 35-footer for birdie from the fringe at the par-4 10th, his first hole of the day.
While Love had an efficient five birdies and no bogeys, Barlow made two eagles, five birdies and three bogeys.
He shot 2-over 37 on the back nine, his first nine holes, but turned it around completely at the turn. His second nine featured eagles on the par-5 second and fifth holes.
Mike Souchak (1955), Andy North (1975) and Billy Mayfair (2001) hold the nine-hole tour scoring record at 27.
Barlow said the difference was as simple as a slight adjustment in ball position. Having had problems all year long with pushing shots to the right, the 30-year-old Las Vegas native put the ball a little forward in his stance, starting with his second shot at 18, and ' viola.
It felt uncomfortable, but I had nothing to lose. I started hitting good shots and I started rolling with it, he said.
Golf is a silly game when it comes to feel.
Barlow said he moved the ball a couple of inches closer to the center of his stance. He admitted that he had tried doing it earlier in the year, but could never find his comfort level.
Im a feel player; I dont play on mechanics, he said. If it doesnt give me a feel, I search for a different feel ' and I found the feel. Theres no other explanation expect it worked.
And he needs it to continue through to the weekend. Barlow has missed six cuts in nine starts this year, and is mired in 184th place on the money list.
A slow start is nothing new to the six-year tour veteran. He has had to scramble late each year to try and keep his card. He finished 124th on the money list in 1999, 122nd in 2001, and 124th in 02.
Im just thankful its not the top 120 keeps your card or I would never have kept it, he said. All I can do is play as hard as I can. If Im a bubble guy, thats who I am.
Obviously, I would love to graduate from that position.
Related Links
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    Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 4:54 pm

    Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.

    In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."

    What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:

    After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."

    Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.

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    Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 4:12 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.

    Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.

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    “We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”

    This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.

    “The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.

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    Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 20, 2018, 3:20 pm

    The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.

    The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.

    The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.

    "The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."

    First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.

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    Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 20, 2018, 12:48 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.

    Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.

    Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.

    Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.

    Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.


    Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.

    Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.  

    P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.

    Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.

    Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.