Kuchar leads Barclays; Woods 5 back as play suspended

By Will GrayAugust 23, 2013, 11:43 pm

With play suspended because of darkness for the second consecutive day, Matt Kuchar relied on steady play and a bogey-free effort to grab the lead at Liberty National Golf Course midway through the second round. Here's how things shape up at The Barclays, where Kuchar holds a one-shot lead and Tiger Woods trails by five shots through 13 holes:

Leaderboard: Matt Kuchar (-10 through 13 holes), Webb Simpson (-9), Gary Woodland (-9), Rickie Fowler (-7), Adam Scott (-7), Keegan Bradley (-7), Justin Rose (-7 through 14 holes)

What it means: After Simpson took the early lead thanks to a 5-under 66, Kuchar caught and ultimately passed him thanks to a solid effort Friday that included five birdies and eight pars. The final hole he completed was the par-5 13th, where Kuchar reached the green in two shots and took sole possession of the lead after two-putting for birdie. Woodland's closing birdie in the waning light allowed him to join Simpson at 9 under through 36 holes as a star-studded leaderboard is beginning to formulate in New Jersey.

Round of the day: In need of a solid score to make the 36-hole cut, Bradley went one better, breaking the course record with his 8-under 63 Friday at Liberty National. The former PGA champion failed to drop a shot in his second round, carding four birdies on both the front and back nines in Jersey City. Though he reached just 14 of 18 greens in regulation, Bradley was able to move up 73 spots on the leaderboard and as a result finds himself firmly in contention with two rounds still to play.

Best of the rest: Beginning his second round on the back nine, Fowler got things going in a hurry. Birdies on Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 16 were sandwiched around an impressive eagle at the 13th, a stretch that helped propel Fowler to an outward 5-under 30. The 24-year-old played the front nine in 2 under for a round of 64, climbing 55 spots on the leaderboard in the process. Now at 7-under 135 through two rounds, Fowler finds himself three shots off Kuchar’s overnight lead and in position to contend for what would be his fifth top-10 finish of the year.

Biggest disappointment: One of the more consistent players on Tour last year, Bo Van Pelt has struggled to replicate those results this season. After opening with a 1-under 70, Van Pelt appeared in solid position but struggled Friday to a 5-over 76 in the second round. As a result, the former Oklahoma State product will miss the cut this weekend in New Jersey and, although he entered the week 90th in the FedEx Cup standings, will have to watch the leaderboard Sunday to find out if he will be able to hold on to a spot in the top 100 to advance to next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: With Kuchar among a large group of players that will have to resume their second rounds at 7 a.m. ET Saturday, it remains to be seen exactly how the leaderboard will shape up heading into the third round. One certainty, though, is that there will be no shortage of high-profile contenders, as the group chasing Kuchar includes each of the season’s first two major champions, with Woods still lurking five shots behind after an erratic effort Friday.

Shot of the day: After a 346-yard drive found the fairway, Fowler found himself in prime position at the par-5 13th hole with just 183 yards to the hole. His approach shot carried the lake in front of the green and landed near the pin, settling just 3 feet from the target to set up an easy eagle.

Quote of the day: “This has always been a tournament that I've always really wanted to play well at, and this is the first time I've even remotely come close to shooting under par, so it's nice.” – Bradley, who broke the course record Friday with an 8-under 63.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

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

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

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.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

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."

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.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

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