Strange Finish in Store in Texas
The sixth-year Canadian Tour veteran posted a 3-under 69 Saturday for a 36-hole total of 10-under 134, two shots better than Michael Harris of Troy, Mich., and Mark Johnson of Helendale, Calif. Mark Johnson went into the second round at even- par before carding an 8-under 64, just one shot shy of the Barton Creek Resort Fazio Foothills course-record.
Derek Gillespie (Oshawa, ON) and Philip Jonas (Vancouver, BC) are the leading Canadians in the clubhouse at 4-under.
Tour officials announced Saturday that the tournament had been reduced to a 36-hole event, the first time in Tour history that a scheduled 72-hole event had been shortened to two rounds. The 1986 Labatt Blue Light Pro-Am, held in Stouffville, ON, was weather-shortened to 36 holes but was a scheduled 54-hole tournament. So, with Harris and Mark Johnson finished for the week, Rob Johnson has a four-shot edge with eighteen holes to go. Kevin Stadler opened with a 6-under 66 Friday and will be in the first group out of the chute Sunday morning at 7:30 A.M. CST. Brett Bingham of Red Deer, AB is at 4-under heading into Sunday.
Johnson has posted the number to beat. All he can do now is sit and wait.
Play was completely washed out Thursday when more than four inches of rain fell at Barton Creek Resort, and opening-round action was delayed another three hours Friday morning.
Play was halted because of darkness at 6:45 CST time Saturday. In addition to those who have had to tee it up in Round 2, three players will be back in position to finish their second rounds Sunday morning.
Johnson played 29 holes of golf Saturday, finishing off a 7-under 65 before turning around and pegging it up for Rd. 2. His touch on the green has been golden this week, with Johnson needing just 28 putts in each of the first two rounds. Defending Order of Merit champion Hank Kuehne began the second round five shots back of Johnson, but put the heat on the leader by going 5-under through his first ten holes. A double-bogey by Johnson on the par-4 13th allowed Kuehne to climb to within one, but Johnson rebounded with a birdie-two on the next hole and didnt look back.
That was key for me to come back with a birdie after taking the double, said Johnson, who has a pair of fourth-place finishes in his Tour career. I wasnt really paying attention to how Hank was doing, but I saw on the leaderboard he was getting close. And then Michael started making his move. I just wanted to make sure I got out of there without making any more bogeys.
On Sunday, Johnson will be in the unique position of having the opportunity to win a golf tournament without having to pull a club out of his bag.
I am just going to have to check out the Weather Channel and hope for 40-mile an hour winds, he joked. This is low-stress, believe me. There would be a lot more pressure having to sleep on the lead and wake up to play in the final pairing. I think its great - how often do you get to do this? It has been a bizarre week.
Harris, coming off a second-place showing at last weeks TravelTex.com Canadian Tour Classic, has three runner-up showings in the past year. Should the fabled Texas winds pick up Sunday, he may very well have his fourth.
Im just trying to get some respect out here, trying to get my name of the website, laughed the three-time All-Big Ten Team selection while at the University of Michigan. But I am playing great golf right now, and my time is going to come. I just need to find a way to get a couple more of those 12-footers to drop.
Gillespie had a rollercoaster 5-under 67 in his second round, featuring eleven birdies, one bogey as well as a double and triple bogey.
I dont think Ive ever had a round like that, he said, shaking his head. It was a very long day, but it seemed like I was all over the pin every shot, at least on the holes I birdied. Its too bad the weather didnt co-operate. This is a fantastic place to play and we could have had a lot of fun here this weekend. Its disappointing that way.
If Gillespie was left scratching his head in disbelief about his day, he need only look at the scorecard of playing partner Anders Hultman, who won the season-opener last week. The 23-year-old recorded seven birdies, an eagle and seven bogeys, including a stretch of five in a row, on his way to a 2-under 70.
And to think, Sunday is another day.
Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai
While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.
Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.
The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.
The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.
Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.
''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''
Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.
Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.
Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.
Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.
''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''
The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.
Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.
''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''
If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it
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.
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.
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: