Austrias Brier New Leader in China

By Sports NetworkApril 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Volvo China OpenSHANGHAI, China -- Austria's Markus Brier closed with three straight birdies Saturday to post a 4-under 67 and take the lead at the Volvo China Open.
 
Brier completed 54 holes at 6-under-par 207 and is one stroke clear of Scott Hend. The Australian carded a 1-under 70 to move into solo second at minus- 5.
 
Andrew McLardy matched Brier's 67 and that helped him climb into third place at 4-under-par 209.
 
Second-round leader Raphael Jacquelin stumbled to a 4-over 75. That dropped him into a share of fourth at minus-3. He was joined there by Richard Sterne (69) and Graeme McDowell (70).
 
During the round, five separate players had at least a share of the lead at Shanghai Silport Golf Club.
 
With Hend and Anders Romero battling for the lead on the back nine, Brier flew up the leaderboard to claim the top spot.
 
Brier tripped to a bogey on the first, but reclaimed that lost stroke with a birdie on the third. He moved to minus-3 with a birdie on the eighth.
 
Around the turn, Brier bogeyed the 10th before a birdie on 11. He bogeyed the par-4 12th for the third straight round, but responded for the second day in a row with a birdie on 13.
 
'With the 12th, I have bogeyed it all three days so far, but from then on I feel comfortable with the tee shots and if you hit good tee shots it is short irons and wedges in,' Brier stated. 'You have to hit it on the fairway. I missed it on the 10th and 12th holes and was just in the thick stuff.'
 
Brier caught fire down the stretch. He collected a birdie at the par-4 16th and came right back with a birdie on 17 to grab the lead at minus-5. Brier closed with a birdie at the last to end one clear of Hend. Brier's final three birdies all came from inside 6 feet.
 
'(Sunday) that will be the key, hit the fairway and hopefully have as strong a finish as today,' said Brier of his thoughts on the final round. 'Like last year in Fontana, I had a good finish and I hope I can do the same.'
 
Hend birdied the fourth after three straight pars to open his round. He was tied for the lead after parring the fifth as Jacquelin dropped a shot at the fourth. Hend dropped shots on six and seven to slide to minus-3.
 
The 33-year-old got one shot back with a birdie at the eighth, but faltered to another bogey on nine. Hend atoned for that error with a birdie at the 11th. He gave another stroke back as he bogeyed No. 12.
 
Hend moved within one of Brier as he birdied the 14th. Hend carded his final birdie on 16 to get to 5 under. He parred the final two to finish one back.
 
Jacquelin fell out of the lead with three bogeys over his opening six holes. He went on to pick up another bogey on the back nine as he failed to card a single birdie on the day.
 
Adam Blyth, who was paired with Jacquelin, was even-par through eight holes and was tied for the lead with Romero. However, Blyth went 5 over par on the back nine to tumble down the leaderboard.
 
Romero, playing with Hend in the penultimate twosome, ran off three straight birdies from the seventh to grab the lead at minus-6. He fell down the leaderboard around the turn with four bogeys in a six-hole span.
 
Romero ended up carding a 2-over 73 that dropped him from third to seventh. He is alone there at 2-under-par 211. David Griffiths, Jean-Francois Lucquin and Peter O'Malley are the final three players in red figures at minus-one.
 
Blyth is tied for 11th place at even-par 213 with Michael Jonzon, James Kingston, Peter Lawrie and Robert-Jan Derksen.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.