DJ leaves door open at HSBC; Poulter makes push

By Jason CrookNovember 2, 2013, 8:06 am

He wasn't quite as sharp as he was in Round 2, but Dustin Johnson was good enough Saturday to hold onto his lead in Shanghai, China. DJ carded a 6-under 66 on Moving Day at Sheshan International Golf Club and leads by three at the WGC-HSBC Champions. His round could have been much better if not for two double bogeys.

Here’s a look at where we stand entering the final round of the fourth event on the 2013-14 PGA Tour schedule:

Leaderboard: Johnson (-18), Ian Poulter (-15), Graeme McDowell (-14), Graham DeLaet (-12), Justin Rose (-12), Rory McIlroy (-12), Martin Kaymer (-10), Boo Weekley (-10), Bubba Watson (-10)

What it means: Instead of slamming the door on the rest of the field Saturday, DJ left it slightly propped open with a couple of double bogeys, one on the final hole. So instead of what could have been a seven-stroke lead, Johnson's lead over Poulter is only three. However, DJ is still 18 holes away from his first win since the 2013 season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. When he's been on his game this week he looks unbeatable, but once again seems to be his own worst enemy at the most inopportune times. Poulter will join Johnson in the final group Sunday.

Round of the day: Hope DJ enjoyed his stay as part-owner of the course record at Sheshan International Golf Club, because it was a short one. Martin Kaymer fired a 10-under 62 on Saturday to claim sole possession of the course record and surge up the leaderboard in the process. He did most of his damage on the back nine, recording six birdies in a seven-hole stretch. He's still 10 off the pace, but that course record is his to enjoy, at least until tomorrow. 

Best of the rest: Poulter shot 9-under 63 and sits three shots behind his Sunday playing partner. Poulter was on 59 watch after an eagle at 14 got him to 9 under on the day, but he bogeyed 17 to take the magic number out of play. Graeme McDowell carded an 8-under 64 and was steady all day with 6 birdies, but it was his late eagle-2 on the 16th hole that shot him up the leaderboard.

Biggest disappointment:  Phil Mickelson. While he's certainly played worse rounds, his Friday 68 gave Lefty some hope that a low Moving Day could get him into contention heading into Round 4. Instead, Mickelson's game stalled, wiping out his three birdies on the day with three bogeys, and finishing with an even-par 72. He sits at 5 under for the tournament, 13 shots off the pace.

Main storyline heading into Day 4: The narrative stays the same as we turn to the final round: Can anyone catch Johnson? However, his late mistake suddenly makes the task a whole lot less daunting. Poulter got within one of the lead on Saturday, until DJ came roaring back, birdieing holes 13-15. But the double bogey on 18 gives Poulter a glimmer of hope. It's well documented that he likes head-to-head matchups. Can he seize the opportunity Sunday, or will the three-shot deficit prove too much to overcome?

Shot of the day: While this section normally highlights a good shot, it was a rare lowlight from DJ that could play a huge role going into the final round. Standing on the 18th tee with a five-stroke lead, Johnson ripped his drive into the water and had to re-tee, eventually leading to a double bogey and bringing the field within striking distance heading to Sunday.

Quote of the day: “He's got me by probably 40 (yards off the tee) but that's fine, I'll get it in there closer than him.” – Poulter, with a smile, on playing in the final group with Johnson

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey six on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."