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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  • Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


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    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.


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    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

    Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

    Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

    Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

    “At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

    Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


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    With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

    “I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

    Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

    Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

    “As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

    Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

    Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

    Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

    Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.


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    Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

    There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

    “I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

    Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

    The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.