Campbell Charges to Lead

By Sports NetworkNovember 8, 2003, 5:00 pm
HOUSTON -- Chad Campbell, who finished as the runner-up to Shaun Micheel at this year's PGA Championship, established a new course record Saturday when he fired a 10-under 61 to take the lead at the Tour Championship. Campbell stands at 13-under-par 200 and owns a one-shot lead over Charles Howell III, the first and second-round leader.
 
Campbell broke Jim Furyk's 2001 record of 62 on Saturday and the round of 61 was Campbell's lowest by two strokes. He fired a 63 in the third round of the Chrysler Classic of Tucson, one of three events including the PGA Championship where Campbell finished second this season.
 
'Well it was a good day, obviously,' stated Campbell, whose 61 was the lowest score in Tour Championship history. 'I chipped in today and made a long putt. Stuff like that just tells you that it is your day.'
 
Retief Goosen, the 2001 U.S. Open winner, shot a 4-under 67 and is tied for third place with Chris Riley, who posted a 5-under 66. That pair is knotted at 10-under-par 203.
 
Tiger Woods will need a miracle if he is to win his fifth consecutive money title. He had to win the Tour Championship at Champions Golf Club and Vijay Singh, the leader in the money race had come in worse than a tie for third place.
 
Woods never got anything going on Saturday, as he mixed two birdies and two bogeys for an even-par 71. He is at 2 under par for the championship and tied for 15th.
 
Singh, on the other hand, tallied five birdies and only one bogey to shoot a round of 4-under-par 67. Singh is alone in ninth place at 5-under-par 208.
 
Also at stake this week has been the Player of the Year race, which is voted on by the players. Woods and Singh are the front runners but with neither looking in great shape to visit the winner's circle Sunday, it will come down to what the players thought before this week.
 
'It's in the voting hands now. It comes down to what they believe is a better year,' said Woods. 'If Vijay would have won the tournament, or still can, if he would win the tournament, he would lock it up. And if I would win it, it would be locked up. So it was all in our hands at the beginning of the week.'
 
'I'm in great position unless something odd happens,' said Singh, referring to the money title. 'I think I've secured it. That wasn't my concern coming over here. I wanted to play well in this tournament and I'm playing well.'
 
But no one in the field played better than Campbell on Saturday. He was 2 under par on his round after a bogey at No. 8 but he turned things around very quickly. Campbell drained a 20-footer for eagle at the par-5 ninth, then went on a birdie tear on the second nine.
 
Campbell missed the green at the 10th but chipped in for birdie. He sank a 10- footer for birdie at 11, then ran home a 55-footer for birdie at the par-3 12th. Campbell hit a poor drive at the par-5 13th but laid up and wedged his third to four feet to set up his fourth consecutive birdie and fly past Howell into first.
 
Campbell parred the 14th but returned to his birdieing ways. He holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the 15th and made another birdie at the par-3 16th to reach 10 under with two holes to play.
 
Time to start thinking about 59?
 
'I never really knew exactly how many under I was,' admitted Campbell. 'I knew I was playing good, but it doesn't really matter. I knew I had a lot of ground to make up at the start of the day. That's the outlook I was taking.'
 
Campbell had looks at birdie on the final two holes but neither found the cup. Instead Campbell gets the third-round lead for the first time since the PGA Championship, when Micheel upstaged him in the final round. It could be win No. 1 for Campbell, whom many of his fellow players say is the next big thing in golf.
 
'I'm really not picky where my first win would come,' said Campbell. 'It would be extra special winning it here in Texas. I've always loved coming to Houston and playing all their golf courses.'
 
Howell made three birdies on the front nine to stay ahead of the field but got caught in Campbell's wave. Howell found the fairway at the 10th but pulled a 6-iron that hit a tree and landed in the rough. He chipped to 12 feet but missed the par putt.
 
Howell came back on the back nine. He sank an eight-footer for birdie at the 15th and added another at No. 17 to get within one shot of Campbell.
 
Jonathan Kaye (68) and Davis Love III (67) share seventh at 6-under-par 207, followed by Singh in ninth.
 
Furyk, the U.S. Open winner and Darren Clarke each shot rounds of 4-under 67 and tied Chris DiMarco, who carded an even-par 71 on Saturday, in 10th. The trio stands at minus-4.
 
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.