Stefani maintains Tampa lead over Scott, Choi

By Will GrayMarch 15, 2013, 10:38 pm

Warmer temperatures allowed for lower scores on the Copperhead Course Friday, but first-round leader Shawn Stefani is still the man to beat after 36 holes. Here is how things shape up heading to the weekend at Innisbrook:

The leaderboard: Shawn Stefani (-7), Adam Scott (-6), K.J. Choi (-6), Harris English (-5), Brian Harman (-5), Jason Dufner (-5)

What it means: Stefani remains out in front for the second straight day, but the big names are not far behind. After a day that resembled major championship conditions - and scoring averages - Thursday, most players were able to extract a bit of revenge on the Copperhead Course Friday as winds abated and temperatures improved.

Round of the day: After an opening 75 Thursday, Erik Compton appeared in danger of missing the 36-hole cut. Six birdies in his second round, though - including four on the back nine - gave Compton the low round of the day, a bogey-free 65 that vaulted him 101 spots up the leaderboard.

Best of the rest: Dufner, Scott and James Driscoll all carded rounds of 5-under 66 Friday, though the latter two did so without making a bogey. The rounds moved both Dufner and Scott into contention, while Driscoll went from the wrong side of the cut line to inside the top 15.

Biggest disappointment: After a 2-under 69 amid tough conditions Thursday put Vijay Singh onto the first page of the leaderboard, the Fijian was unable to maintain the momentum despite the lower scores seen Friday. Singh did not record a single birdie during his round of 2-over 73, falling back to even par for the week and will now begin the weekend seven shots off the pace. 

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Can the underdog keep the contenders at bay? Stefani has never won before on the PGA Tour and is now being chased by several big names. He was able to keep his nerves steady with a 1-under 70 Friday, but playing in the final pairing Saturday may test his mettle.

Shot of the day: Needing a birdie on the 18th hole to make the cut, Daniel Summerhays appeared to be headed for an early exit when his approach shot sailed over the green on the home hole. When his flop shot from near the grandstand improbably found the hole, though, Summerhays was in the house at 2 over, earning him a tee time Saturday after making the cut right on the number.

Quote of the day: 'To go bogey-free anywhere is good, and I think here is particularly good. It's quite a tricky golf course, and mistakes are easily made.' - Scott

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.

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."

Rose falters down stretch, Fleetwood wins Race to Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 1:16 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Tommy Fleetwood was crowned the European Tour's Race to Dubai champion Sunday after his nearest challenger, Justin Rose, faltered on the back nine. 

Rose appeared to be on track for a third win in as many starts, getting to 19 under after 11 holes Sunday without any trouble at Jumeirah Golf Estates. But his round unraveled after that with bogeys on the 12th, 14th and 16th holes to finish with a two-under par 70 and a share of fourth place.

With Fleetwood struggling to make birdies and finishing way behind in a tie for 21st place at 11 under, Rose needed to finish in sole possession of fourth to win his second Order of Merit title.


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


The season-ending tournament was won by Spain's Jon Rahm, who fired a final-round 67 and a 19-under total.

Ireland's Shane Lowry (63) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat were tied for second at 18 under.

Rose was T-4 with Masters champion Sergio Garcia (65) and the South African duo of Dylan Frittelli (69) and Dean Burmester (68).

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”