Eagle-Eye Tiger Keeps Lead

By Sports NetworkSeptember 30, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 WGC American Express ChampionshipCHANDLER'S CROSS, England -- Though he may see things differently, Tiger Woods is comfortably in position for his sixth straight win.
Woods eagled the 18th hole for the third consecutive day to finish a 4-under 67 at the WGC-American Express Championship on Saturday, getting to 19-under-194 for a six-shot lead heading into the final round.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is in position for his sixth straight PGA TOUR win.
He missed a slew of short birdie putts early in his round and watched his lead dwindle to two shots at one point, but Woods' 33-foot putt at the 18th has him closer to his fifth win at this World Golf Championships event.
'I didn't putt very good today and still increased my lead, so it's a pretty good feeling,' said Woods.
This is a PGA TOUR-sanctioned tournament, meaning a Woods victory on Sunday would technically add to his streak of consecutive winning starts.
He won five straight tournaments beginning at the British Open in July, then lost in the first round of the HSBC World Match Play Championship two weeks ago.
Although Woods acknowledged he believes the winning streak is over -- 'It ended two weeks ago,' he said Wednesday -- the PGA TOUR sees things differently.
Either way, Woods seems to have his 54th career victory -- and 12th individual WGC title -- all but wrapped up.
Adam Scott (65) trails by six at 13-under 200, while Brett Quigley (67) and Woods' Ryder Cup teammate Jim Furyk (69) are one shot further back at 201.
'You never know,' Scott said, 'there might be a chance to run him down tomorrow.'
Not likely.
In PGA TOUR events, Woods is 37-3 when leading after three rounds. The last time he lost with at least a share of the 54-hole lead was at the 2004 TOUR Championship, when Retief Goosen overcame a four-shot deficit and beat him by four.
Woods has won seven straight times as a third-round leader on the PGA TOUR, including four of his seven victories this year.
Saturday, he began with a five-shot lead after his best 36-hole start in six years.
In addition to the eagle, Woods had three birdies and one bogey at The Grove, where he entered the week as the defending champion and a four-time winner.
Woods opened with seven consecutive pars, missing four frustrating birdie putts within eighth feet during that span.
He bogeyed the par-4 eighth, then got back to 15 under around the turn when he finally made a birdie putt, from 10 feet at the ninth.
'It was a struggle on the greens all day,' Woods said. 'Didn't have the feel, didn't have the pace, and consequently I missed a bunch of short ones early in the round.'
Leading by two shots, Woods missed a 6-foot birdie putt at the 10th. But he led by four shots after rolling in a 7-foot birdie at the 12th.
He was in position for a birdie at the 13th, where he missed a 10-footer, and then again at the 15th, where he made a 2-footer to extend his lead from three shots to four again.
At the par-5 18th, Woods knocked his approach shot from the rough about 270 yards to the front of the green. It rolled within 33 feet, and he drained it for the finishing eagle.
'I hit it way too hard, so it was kind of nice that it went in,' Woods said.
He made a 20-foot eagle at the 18th to finish his round on Thursday, then drained a 10-footer there Friday for an eagle on his ninth hole.
Charl Schwartzel, currently 40th in a field of 60, was the only other player who eagled the 18th on Saturday.
'It's been good to me, hasn't it?' Woods said.
Stewart Cink, another one of Woods' teammates from the losing American Ryder Cup team, shot a 70 and is alone in fifth place at 11-under 202.
European Ryder Cuppers David Howell (71) and Henrik Stenson (68) share sixth place with Ian Poulter (68) at 10-under 203.
Ernie Els, European Ryder Cupper Padraig Harrington and Trevor Immelman are one shot further back at 204.
Tee times for the final round were moved up more than 2 1/2 hours due to the threat of localized thunderstorms. Players will be sent off in threesomes on No. 1 and No. 10 from 4:00-5:37 a.m. ET.
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x