Snedeker, Day recovering from major hangover at Heritage

By Rex HoggardApril 17, 2013, 7:16 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – As Jason Day made his way down Harbour Town Golf Link’s 18th hole on Wednesday, the distant cadence of a bagpipe rode a warm breeze across Calibogue Sound and the sounds coming from the iconic lighthouse suggested cocktail hour had started early in the Lowcountry.

The Australian couldn’t have been any farther from Augusta National, in mind or body.

It seems to be a rite of heartache that the media fixates on the past long after those involved have moved on.

For Day, his near miss on Sunday at Augusta National lingered into the early hours of Monday, but by the time he’d made the 3 ½-hour drive to Hilton Head Island he’d turn the metaphorical page.

“I thought about it a lot that night,” said Day, who held a share of the lead through 69 holes until he bogeyed two of his last three to finish alone in third place and a stroke out of a playoff won by Adam Scott. “It’s not what I did (on Sunday), but what I did to get there that I’m trying to focus on right now.”

RBC Heritage: Articles, videos and photos

For professional golfers, dealing with disappointment is part of the gig, an occupational hazard that can’t be cheated. How that process manifests itself with each player is as individual as a golf swing, and just as unscientific.

“I just choked,” said Boo Weekley when asked how he dealt with losing a playoff to earn his first PGA Tour title at the 2007 Honda Classic. “I had a nightmare or two after it, right out of the gate. But everybody is different out here.”

Luckily, both Day and Brandt Snedeker, a 54-hole co-leader at last week’s Masters who struggled to a closing 75 and tied for sixth, have Harbour Town, all 7,100 yards of quirky cool that is the competitive equivalent of a reset button.

As demanding and draining as Augusta National can be, Harbour Town is something of a psychological respite.

They call it beach casual in these parts. Snedeker calls it “therapeutic” following last week’s pressure cooker.

“It definitely gets it out of my mind,” Snedeker said. “Sunday night was tough. Anytime you have a chance to win a major championship and you don’t do it, especially the Masters, a tournament I’d give my whole career to win, it’s tough. If it’s not tough, then I need to find another job. It’s supposed to be tough.”

Simply moving on may be even more difficult for these two bridesmaids.

Both Day and Snedeker had come close at Augusta National before. Day finished tied for second at Augusta National in 2011, when Charl Schwartzel birdied his last four holes to win; and Snedeker began the final round two strokes off the lead in 2008 but struggled to a closing 77 and tied for third.

On Wednesday in sunny South Carolina, however, both figured this time was different. It wasn’t because Adam Scott – and runner-up Angel Cabrera – birdied the last hole to force overtime or Sunday’s rains that soften the blow, it was time.

“I think this one is easier because I know I’m going back (to the Masters),” Snedeker said. “2008 was tough because I didn’t know. I was a young kid on Tour; I didn’t know how my career was going to unfold. Now I have a good idea what I’m doing.”

Day also took solace in the notion that the 77th Masters is not the end of the road for his green jacket dreams.

“I came (to the Heritage) in 2011 and it was pretty much the same, a whirlwind,” Day said. “My mind was thinking about the week prior. This week I’m a lot more prepared than I was two years ago.”

The pair has also been savvy enough to avoid too much input. Reliving Sunday in their own minds is one thing; listening to others do it just won’t do. Both have put up a media firewall as a result, largely avoiding the non-stop chatter on television and the Internet.

“You definitely don’t seek out the Golf Channel or Twitter, there is so much negative stuff out there and you try to turn away,” Snedeker said.

As hard as Sunday was for Snedeker and Day, this time does feel easier. Maybe it was the moment, maybe it’s maturity, or maybe it’s the bagpipes and non-stop happy hour of Hilton Head.

Dealing with disappointment is never easy, but the warm breezes coming off of Calibogue Sound make the healing a little easier.

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Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

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Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.

Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic

''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

That forced him to think differently for the back nine and he was rewarded with three birdies.

''It was quite funny really,'' Southgate said. ''We birdied the ninth and I walked off and said to my caddie Gary ... 'We've just shot level par, so let's just pretend that we've made nine solid pars and that we haven't holed a putt and haven't made a birdie. Let's just start again on the 10th'.''

The 32-year-old Guerrier started his round with a monster 48-foot birdie putt and had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

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J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

Australian golfer Hannah Green moved into second place after the round of the day, a 66.

Green, 21, is seeking to become the first Australian to claim her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Webb, who is playing a part-time schedule in 2018, missed the cut Friday by one stroke.

Green birdied her first three holes on Saturday and then added two more on the eighth and ninth. Two more birdies followed on the back nine with her only dropped shot a bogey on the 17th.

Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

"I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

"It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut, but I know she has got different plans."

South Korea's Hyejin Choi (70), was tied for third, five strokes behind. Australia's top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee was tied for fifth after a 69, six off the lead.

Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot a 71 and was eight strokes behind.

"It's always nice to be able to start the season on a good note, and I've obviously got tomorrow," Lydia Ko said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to finish off on a high note."

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Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

They were at 7-under 135.

Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue. He had three holes remaining in his second round. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole for a 68 and was one shot behind at 136.

Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.

Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos

Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

''All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence,'' McDowell said.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.