Tiger Four Back and Lurking

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 13, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Tiger Woods, once one putt away from going home, was in great position to make history Sunday as he sought his third consecutive Masters title. Unlikely leader Jeff Maggert stood at 6-under going into the final round, while Woods was four shots off the pace.
 
Tiger WoodsMaggert overcame a double bogey on No. 11 with five birdies over his final six holes in Saturday's third round, giving him a two-stroke lead over fast-fading Mike Weir. Woods, fighting for the right to keep playing, made the cut on the number and then blitzed the course for a bogey-free 66.
 
No one has ever won three straight Masters. No one has ever trailed by 11 shots after 36 holes and gone on to win at Augusta National.
 
None of this seemed plausible when Woods stood behind a small pine tree in the ninth fairway on his final hole of the second round Saturday. He managed to squeeze a shot under the shoulder-high branches and scratch out a par just to make the cut.
 
That was only the appetizer on a spectacular day of sunshine and golf, which proved to be far more appealing than a tepid protest against Augusta National's all-male membership that took place a half-mile down the road.
 
Sunday was shaping up to be even better.
 
'This is a position you dream about,' said Maggert, who has never held the 54-hole lead in a major championship.
 
Jeff MaggertMaggert has won only once in the previous nine times he has led going into the final round, and there were plenty of stars lurking behind.
 
Weir, who had a six-stroke lead at one point, staggered home with a 39 on the back for a 3-over 75 and was at 213.
 
Vijay Singh, who won the Masters three years ago, and former PGA champion David Toms each had 70 and were another stroke back.
 
Woods had some familiar company at 1-under 215: Phil Mickelson, who made crucial par putts on the final three holes, the last from 20 feet that suspended on the back lip of the cup before falling. That gave Lefty a 72 and another chance to win his first major.
 
Cheers crisscrossed Augusta National, but they were never far from Woods.
 
He started the third round at 5-over par with 42 players in front of him. When he played the last of his 26 holes Saturday, he was in a tie for fifth.
 
David TomsWoods proved to be a prophet.
 
'If I can be even par or under par, I'll be right where I need to be,' he said after walking off the ninth green, relieved to have made his 102nd consecutive cut.
 
He is right there, four strokes and four players separating him from slipping on the green jacket for the third straight year.
 
It was quite a show -- unlike the demonstrations down Washington Road.
 
Martha Burk had been pointing to Saturday of the Masters for her National Council of Women's Organizations' protest.
 
Martha BurkAbout 40 people joined the cause, a group that was outnumbered by police and media.
 
'You've got to make a choice -- is it discrimination or is it dollars,' Burk said, threatening to boycott companies whose executives belong to the club. 'Today we are protesters with placards. Tomorrow, women will protest with their pocketbooks.'
 
People will probably pay top dollar for a Masters ticket Sunday.
 
While Woods commanded most of the attention, he was among 16 players within six shots of the lead going into the final round.
 
Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, a forgotten man in golf this year, quietly crept into contention with a 71 and also was at 1-under 215.
 
Len Mattiace (69), Jim Furyk (71) and Jonathan Byrd (71), who grew up about 30 miles away in South Carolina and is playing his first Masters, were at 216.
 
As usual, Amen Corner was up to its old tricks.
 
Woods finally found some momentum at No. 11 by holing a 50-foot birdie putt that made a left turn as it got to the hole and dropped. On the par-5 13th, his second shot somehow stayed out of the water and he chipped close for birdie.
 
Others weren't so fortunate.
 
Former British Open champion Paul Lawrie was four strokes out of the lead until Amen Corner left him cursing -- a double bogey on No. 12, a triple bogey on the 13th.
 
Ricky BarnesU.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes, the first amateur in 42 years to play in the final two groups on the weekend at the Masters, was also at 2-under and zeroing in on the lead when he took double bogey on the 12th.
 
Barnes shot 40 on the back for a 75 and was at 2-over 218.
 
Weir paid a steep price. His approach into the 11th plugged into the side of the hill inside the hazard line, and he played a delicate shot to limit the damage to a bogey. Two holes later, he went for the 13th green and landed in Rae's Creek to make another bogey.
 
The tenacious Canadian is far from out of it. He has trailed going into the final round in all five of his PGA Tour victories, two of them earlier this year.
 
Maggert was a victim, too, when he took double bogey on No. 11. With quiet confidence, he struck back quietly.
 
His birdie blitz might have been a real show-stopped if Maggert had not three-putted for par on the 15th. Still, he hit his tee shot to five feet on the par-3 16th, made the first birdie of the round on No. 17 from 15 feet and closed out his 66 from 20 feet on the 18th.
 
The tone was set early, when 75 players returned to complete the second round under blazing blue skies.
 
For a while, it appeared as though history might be revisited.
 
A three-putt bogey from 25 feet on No. 8 put Woods on the verge of missing the cut, just as Jack Nicklaus did in 1967 when he was trying to win his third straight Masters.
 
Woods was 5-over -- right on the cut line -- when he sprayed his drive behind a pine tree that blocked his path to the green. He hit a waist-high shot that ran up the slope and dropped into a bunker, then calmly blasted out to three feet above the hole.
 
If he missed, his chances were over.
 
'That putt was either going in or going off the green,' Woods said.
 
He powered it in the right side for perhaps the most important par he has ever made at the Masters. Woods was still 11 strokes behind Weir, but still in the game.
 
Weir finished with a 68 and had a four-stroke lead after 36 holes, the first time a Canadian has been in the lead at the Masters since Stan Leonard in 1959.
 
The sun was out, big names lit up the scoreboard, and the Masters finally felt like its old self after a week of rain. Though the protest site was a short walk down the road from Magnolia Lane, it seemed so far away.
 
'Do you think any of these people care what's going on out there?' Nicklaus said. 'That's the bottom line. None of these people really care what's going on outside the gates of this club. Come on. It's a golf tournament.'
 
And by the look of it Saturday, not just any tournament.
 
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • Photo Gallery
  • Augusta National Course Tour
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology
     
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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.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.