Kuchar remains steady, leads Memorial by 2

By Will GrayJune 1, 2013, 9:17 pm

With winds swirling throughout the day, many of the game's best players found themselves on the wrong side of par during the third round of The Memorial Tournament. Here's how things shape up heading into the final round at Muirfield Village, where Matt Kuchar finds himself staked to a two-shot lead thanks to steady play amid difficult conditions:

The leaderboard: Matt Kuchar (-8), Kevin Chappell (-6), Kyle Stanley (-6), Justin Rose (-5), Bill Haas (-5), Matt Jones (-5), Adam Scott (-4), Charl Schwartzel (-4)

What it means: With Haas quickly surrendering his overnight lead, Schwartzel moved to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a pair of early birdies. The South African quickly regressed, though, and Kuchar was able to rise above the field on a difficult day behind five birdies, firing his third straight round of 70 or better this week. 

Round of the day: Beginning the day seven shots off the pace, Chappell played his way into the final group Sunday thanks to a cooperative putter. The former UCLA standout took just 24 putts in the third round, firing a 4-under 68 despite reaching just 10 of 18 greens in regulation. Chappell made only one bogey Saturday at the par-5 11th and more than offset that error with five birdies, including three in a row from holes 5-7.

Best of the rest: While many big names were struggling early Saturday amid breezy conditions, Henry made Muirfield Village look tame while matching Chappell’s 4-under 68. Beginning on the 10th hole, Henry went out in 4-under 32, notching four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 14-18. Despite a pair of bogeys across his final four holes, the Texan now finds himself in position for his first top-10 finish of the 2013 season.

Biggest disappointment: It’s rare to see Tiger Woods struggle; it’s rarer still to see him struggle on a course where he’s won five times. That’s what happened Saturday at Muirfield Village, though, as the defending champion plummeted after a 7-over 79. Woods went out in 8-over 44, a humbling stretch that marked his highest nine-hole score as a professional, and will begin the final round at 8-over, 16 shots behind the leader.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: After nearly hoisting the trophy a week ago at Colonial, Kuchar is in position once again to become just the second multiple winner this season on the PGA Tour. He’ll likely be facing another day of difficult conditions at Muirfield Village, though, with several top-ranked players – not to mention a pair of Masters champions – in close pursuit.

Shot of the day: After busting a drive 331 yards at the par-5 11th, Stanley had only 215 yards for his approach. The shot from the fairway was an accurate one, landing just two feet from the pin to set up a tap-in eagle. It was a highlight on an otherwise difficult day for Stanley, who remains in contention despite a 1-over 73 in the third round.

Quote of the day: 'It was tough out there from beginning to end. We didn't hit that many bad shots starting out the day and the next thing you know, we're quite a few over par.' – Woods, whose 8-over 44 on his outward nine included two double bogeys and a triple bogey.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

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Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship

With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."