Match by match: Presidents Cup Day 2 fourballs

By November 18, 2011, 4:30 am

Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson (U.S.) d. Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa (International), 3 and 1

Forget Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods. The Americans have found a new juggernaut pairing in Simpson and Watson.

They beat Ishikawa and Els in a reprise of their Thursday foursomes match.

'We got off to a pretty good start, but the pins were very hard today and were tough to get close to,' Simpson said.

The Americans struck first with a Simpson birdie at the par-3 third hole before giving it back to a par by the Internationals at the fourth.

A birdie by Watson at the sixth and par by Simpson at the seventh allowed the Americans to regain a lead they would not relinquish. The teams each won two holes on the back nine before the Americans went dormie. A par at the 17th gave the first point of the session to Simpson and Watson.

Watson is pleased with his partner.

'He's doing good right now, and I'm riding his coattails pretty good, and somehow we got two W's out of it,' Watson said.

For the first time in Presidents Cup history, the same pair has gone out in the opening match of the first two sessions and won.

Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day (International) d. Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson (U.S.), 1 up

For the first time in his Presidents Cup career, Woods has begun 0-2.

Woods and new partner Johnson lost a closely contested match against Aussies Day and Baddeley.

Only three holes were won by either side in the entire match, with just one coming on the back nine. 

Woods won his first and only hole of the opening two sessions with a birdie at the par-4 fourth. The 14-time major winner made just one more birdie in the round - at the par-5 15th – but it was only good enough for a tie on the hole.

Baddeley could not sink a putt to win on the 17th hole for the second consecutive day, but made good on the 18th. Hitting an iron off the tee to insure placement in the fairway, Baddeley found the green and made a critical two-putt for the clinching par.

'I felt like I let him down yesterday, so it felt great to come through today,' Baddeley said afterwards.

If Woods loses his next match, it will equal the longest skid of his Presidents Cup career. He lost the final three pairs matches at Royal Melbourne in 1998.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk (U.S.) d. Adam Scott and Kyung-tae Kim (International), 2 and 1

Mickelson and Furyk may each be struggling with their form, but have managed to win both of their opening Presidents Cup matches. They never trailed against  Scott and Kim.

The newly minted Hall of Famer and Furyk each won two holes though both struggled to maintain confidence on the greens.

'This is crazy because when you get wind like this on greens that are 14 on the Stimpmeter, it's very hard to putt,' Mickelson said. 'I hit a couple of good putts early on that didn't go in [which] affected my confidence.'

A day after torching Royal Melbourne against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, Scott could only manage one birdie on the round.

Furyk made several critical short putts down the stretch, posting the Americans' score on all but one hole of the back nine. 

The '03 U.S. Open champion said his team's point came in ugly fashion.

'We ham-and-egged it out there pretty well today,' Furyk said.

Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi (International) d. Bill Haas and Nick Watney (U.S.), 1 Up

Watney barely contributed, with the Americans using his score on just four holes. Haas was responsible for both American wins, including an eagle at the par-4 11th. Haas drove the green from 333 yards, leaving a 7-footer for a deuce. 

The two wins by the FedEx Cup champion neutralized early wins by Ogilvy with birdies at the fifth and sixth holes. 

Ogilvy took the final hole won in the match at the 12th after both Haas and Watney made bogeys following errant drives. 

Choi became the leading player for the Internationals. He is the only player on the team to record two wins.

Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar (U.S.) d. Y.E. Yang and Robert Allenby (International), 4 and 3

Stricker did not win a hole. Kuchar's score was the one used in all five holes won by the Americans. The duo did need Stricker's score for seven halved holes.

Kuchar won three of four holes between the third and sixth, two of them with birdies. Until Kuchar made birdie at the 12th hole to go 3 up, Stricker carried the team.

The duo clearly worked well together, playing 6 under in 15 holes.

Yang was paired with Allenby as part of captain Greg Norman's strategy to create five teams with an Australian serving as sherpa to their partner around Royal Melbourne. The 2009 PGA champion did the bulk of the work, however, contributing on 10 holes.

Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel (International) d. Hunter Mahan and David Toms (U.S.), 2 and 1

Maybe all it took for Goosen to get on track at Royal Melbourne was to pair with a fellow South African.

Goosen and Masters champion Schwartzel jumped out to an early lead as Goosen won the second and third holes. Schwartzel extended the lead to 3 up with a birdie at the short par-4 11th. 

The Americans managed just a single win in the match, taking the 14th with a par after three players missed the green at the gusty par 3.

Toms and Mahan beat themselves by hitting just 14 of 34 combined greens in regulation.

Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Friday 3PM-midnight and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

You don’t believe it, though.

She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

“In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

“I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

“She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

“She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

“Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

“It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

“No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

“I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

“He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''