Duke Widens Lead in Quebec
Carrying a slim one-shot edge into the third round, Duke fired a 6-under-par 66 and now sits at 19-under through three days for a three-stroke edge over Jace Bugg (Henderson, Ky.). Doug LaBelle (Mt. Pleasant, Minn.) is four shots back. Both Bugg and LaBelle equalled the Les Quatre Domaines course-record 63 that was established Thursday by Australias Scott Hend. Craig Matthew (Ile Bizard, QC) is the top Canadian, eight shots off the lead.
Duke, 32, was the 1999 Canadian Tour McDonalds Order of Merit champion on the strength of two wins but has admittedly struggled this year, with a 13th place showing at the TELUS Vancouver Open being the highlight of 2001. As impressed as he was with the rounds displayed by Bugg and LaBelle Saturday, Duke maintained he is just focused on what he has to do to break his two-year winless drought.
Records are made to be broken, I am just trying to win a golf tournament, he admitted. This course isnt as easy as the scores would show-if you watch golf on TV or on this Tour, you know these guys can play. The greens were nice and firm today, and that allows guys to drop those 20-foot putts.
After having a dream Friday night that an accident on a neighbouring highway prevented him from getting to the course on time, Duke left early Saturday morning only to find himself locked in bumper-to-bumper traffic. He did, however, make it to the suburban Montreal club with plenty of time to spare, enabling him to continue his quest of salvaging what admittedly to date has been a season to forget.
I know how Ill play each hole tomorrow, Ill try to keep rolling in my putts and see what happens. This game is all about confidence-if you keep working hard, keep knocking at the door, eventually it is going to open for you.
Bugg, meanwhile, who finished his 63 about fifteen minutes after Labelle and will be matched with Duke in the final pairing Sunday, had an eagle, eight birdies and a bogey but stressed he can still play much better.
Im not playing nearly as well as I have been, he said. I was just grinding it out today, and got everything I could out of my round. Ken is a good player, but I wont play against just one player (Sunday). Ill be playing against the course.
After playing through swirling winds in the opening two rounds, Labelle took advantage of nearly ideal scoring conditions Saturday afternoon.
With no wind, the course was pretty vulnerable today, maintained the 26-year-old. Now Ive got a chance, and that is all I can ask. You cant ask for a round like that - you go out there and play it shot by shot, and hope it adds up to 63 or less.
Dave Christensen of Otsego, MN, who trailed Duke by one shot heading into Saturday, shot 3-over on the front nine before rebounding to wind up with a 1-under 71 and is six strokes back.
Full-field scores from the TELUS Open
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.
Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.
As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.
"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."
Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.
Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.
Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.
But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.
Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.
Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:
Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180
Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70
Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5
Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450
Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200
Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.
Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.
“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.
“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”
Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.
“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.
Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.
Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim.
Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.