Kat Leads Tiger Survives

By Mercer BaggsAugust 17, 2001, 4:00 pm
Tiger Woods barely makes the cut. A par-70, 7,213-yard layout yields record-tying low numbers. And a cowboy-hat-wearing Japanese player shares the 36-hole lead.
This is not the PGA Championship we were expectinG. But its what we have, and you wont find David Toms complaining.
Toms, in dire need of a great finish this week to earn a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, fired a 5-under-par 65 to tie Shingo Katayama, who shot a morning 64, for the lead entering weekend play in Duluth, Ga.
Click here to see how potential Ryder Cuppers fared in rd. 2
Toms and Katayama stand at 9-under-par 131. The 9-under total ties a 36-hole tournament scoring record, last set by Ernie Els in 1995.
Phil Mickelson (66) and Bob Estes (65) are tied for third place at 9-under.
Six players are tied for fifth place at 6-under; including Steve Lowery (67), K.J. Choi (68), Jim Furyk (64), Dudley Hart (68), Els (67) and David Duval (68).
Meanwhile, the two-time defending champion is nine shots off the pace.
Then again, Woods is happy to still be in the metro Atlanta area, as it took a pair of lengthy birdie putts over his final four holes just to keep him in the tournament.
Woods started the round at 3-over-par and needed to make a series of par saves to keep alive his chances coming down the stretch.
Tiger picked up a couple of shots at the 5th and 9th holes, but bogeyed the 13th.
He entered the par-3 15th at 2-over for the tournament, with the projected cutline looming at even par.
After coming up short of the green with his tee shot, Woods raced his birdie effort from 40 feet and off the green into the back of the cup. Had he missed, the ball might have traveled through the green. But as it was, Tiger moved to 1-over, which eventually became cutline.
At the par-4 16th, Tiger safely found the green, but some 30 feet from the flag. However, Tiger once again thrilled the gallery by draining the birdie effort to reach even par.
I knew I had to make something happen coming in, said Woods. I made two bombs.
Woods then proceeded to par his final two holes to shoot 67 and make the cut by one shot. Its officially the 74th consecutive cut made by Woods. He hasnt missed a cut in a major tournament since doing so in the 1996 Masters as an amateur.
'It seemed tougher trying to make the cut than winning the tournament,' Woods said.
Ive always believed youve got to give everything you have. Thats what I did today. I didnt hit it that great, but I hung in there, hung in there and did the best I could.
While Tigers performance, or lack thereof, is surprising, so too is that of both Katayama and Toms.

Katayama, known for the cowboy hat he wears during competition, capped a brilliant round by sinking a 20-foot birdie putt at the last. He raised his arms in celebration before the ball fell into the cup.
I started wearing the hat last year, Katayama said through an interpreter. Since I started wearing the hat, Ive had good results. I love my hat.
Toms sports the more traditional baseball cap, but was equally impressive on Friday.
This years Compaq Classic winner recorded six birdies and one bogey at the Highlands Course. He currently resides in 14th place on the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. And with this weeks event being the last before the American team in finalized, Toms needs no less than a tie for sixth to have a chance for automatically qualifying for the team.
Thats in the back of my mind, Toms said. But Im playing well enough to win this tournament. Thats first and foremost.
Lurking behind the two surprise leaders are a host of worthy contenders, but no bigger names than that of Mickelson and Duval.
Mickelson continued to avoid his penchant for disaster. For the second day in a row, the left-hander made five birdies to just one bogey.
Ive played two solid rounds and put myself score-wise about where I was expecting, said Mickelson. Heading into the weekend, Id like to try and separate myself a little bit.
Mickelson would like to do what Duval did at this years British Open ' shed the label of best player never to win a major.
Friday, Duval displayed stellar iron play, but was unable to go substantially low due to a poor putter. He left a number of birdie putts short.

News, Notes and Numbers
*The cutline fell at 1-over-par 141. Sergio Garcia (68-75), John Daly (72-77) and Tom Lehman (72-72) missed the cut. Lehman is currently 10th in Ryder Cup points.
*Mark OMeara set a new course record and tied a major championship record by shooting 63 in the second round. The 1998 Masters and British Open champion is four off the lead at 5-under.
*Overnight leader Grant Waite went from two ahead to seven down. The New Zealander followed an opening 64 with a second-round 74.
*1995 PGA champion Steve Elkington withdrew prior to his second round due to an illness.
*Rick Schuller was the only club professional of the 25 in the tournament to make the cut. Schuller, an assistant pro at River Creek Club in Leesburg, Va., shot rounds of 68-70 to qualify for weekend play.
Full-field scores from the 83rd PGA Championship
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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.