Pooleys Record Round Gives Him Open Lead
The 50-year-old, competing in his first Senior Open, recorded nine birdies and saved par from 15 feet at the last for his record round.
Pooley leads Walter Hall (72) and Tom Watson (69) by three strokes, at 9-under. Watson hit all but three fairways and three greens in round three, but was plagued by a balky putter he used 31 times.
'I'm going to watch that buttery putting stroke of Don Pooley's tomorrow and see if something can rub off on my putting stroke,' said Watson, who will play in the final twosome Sunday.
Pooley, a two-time PGA Tour winner, joins Johnny Miller (1973 at Oakmont), Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf (1980 at Baltusrol), and Helen Alfredsson (1994 at Indianwood G & CC) as the only players in USGA history to shoot 63 in an Open event.
His 8-under performance also ties the USGA Open record in relation to par. Millers and Alfredssons 63s came on par-71 courses. Orville Moody shot 8-under 64 in the third round of the 1989 U.S. Senior Open at the par-72 Laurel Valley G.C.
I have not won that much in my career and to win a major on the Senior Tour would be huge, Pooley said.
Pooley barely made it into this weeks field. He was one of 116 players battling for five qualifying spots, and birdied the final hole to join a playoff. He then birdied the first extra hole to punch his ticket to the Caves Valley Golf Club outside of Baltimore, Md.
Pooley started the day six strokes back of overnight leader Hall, who extended his advantage with three straight birdies out of the gate Saturday.
Watson stayed in stride with birdies on the first three holes, as well.
Hall made his first mistake of the day by coming up woefully short of the green on the par-5 seventh and making bogey. He dropped another shot at the ninth, and again carded a 6 at the par-5 13th.
After the torrid start, Hall notched only one birdie over his final 15 holes. He made a 3 at the par-4 16th, but gave it right back with a bogeys at 17 and 18.
Pooley, meanwhile, turned in 5-under 31, and birdied the tenth ' his fourth birdie in a row ' to move to 7-under. Playing in his first full season on tour, Pooley missed a two-footer for birdie at 14, but came back with a short putt to tie for the lead at 16. He then rolled home a 20-footer for his ninth birdie of the day at the uphill 464-yard, par-4 17th.
Needing a par to earn a share of the USGA record, he drove into the right fairway bunker at the 455-yard, par-4 18th. He played his second shot short of the green. But with a bunker protecting the flag, Pooley could get his third shot no closer than 15 feet past the hole.
Faced with a hard breaking left-to-righter, he snaked in the save.
Making putts like that on the last green - with all those people watching - was a lot of fun, he said.
Pooley will try and become the first player since Graham Marsh, in 1997, to successfully convert a 54-hole lead into victory at this event.
Ive got a good game plan, and Im going to stick to it ' adjust it if necessary tomorrow. But Im going to stick to the plan as of now, Pooley said.
Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Open
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry