Els In Total Control in Scotland

By Sports NetworkJuly 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
GLASGOW, Scotland -- Ernie Els shot his second consecutive round of 67 on Saturday to open a five-shot lead after three rounds of The Barclays Scottish Open. Els, who is in search of his second Scottish Open title, finished with a 54-hole total of 15-under-par 198 at Loch Lomond.
 
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland fired a spectacular round of 64 to move into a share of second with Phillip Price at 10-under-par 203.
 
Els has put together three solid rounds in his final preparation before defending his British Open title next week at Royal St. George's. However, Els doesn't have next week's major in mind but rather a victory this week, which would be his third of the 2003 season on the European Tour.
 
'I want to go out tomorrow and play the way I have been playing,' said Els, who also has two PGA Tour wins to his name in 2003. 'There is a lot of thinking going on and I will have to be patient and stick to my guns.'
 
Els stood four strokes clear of Price to start the day and picked up his first birdie of the round at the par-5 third. He then parred his next five holes before knocking his approach inside three feet for a birdie at the par-4 ninth.
 
The South African birdied the 14th and hit his second shot to 12 feet at the 15th to make it two in a row. He found trouble with a bogey at the 16th, his second dropped shot of the tournament, but managed to recover at the par-4 last.
 
Els hit a brilliant approach at the 18th that landed five feet from the cup. As steady as always, he drained the short birdie putt for a comfortable margin with one round to play.
 
'I saw a few of the flags for tomorrow and they look quite tough so it's going to be difficult to shoot very low which will maybe make it a little bit easier for me,' said Els. 'But I've still got to go out and play my game the way I've been playing and make some more putts.'
 
Clarke, who is seeking his first title of the year, rocketed up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first nine holes.
 
'Darren is very capable of shooting low scores,' Els said of Clarke, whom he will play alongside on Sunday. 'It'll be fun. I played with him the first two days and he looked like he was striking the ball well.'
 
The Ulsterman added back-to-back birdies starting at the par-4 14th and capped off his round with a birdie at the last.
 
'It was good to shoot a low number again and I am hitting a lot of very solid putts so I have a chance,' said Clarke, whose last victory came at the 2002 English Open. 'It's possible.'
 
Price has found himself in contention for the second week in a row. After winning the European Open last week at The K Club, Price tallied two birdies on the front nine but stumbled with a bogey at the 11th.
 
The Welshman countered with a birdie at the par-5 13th and rolled in a lengthy birdie putt at the 16th en route to a 68.
 
'Five shots is a lot behind, the way Ernie is playing, but you never know,' said Price. 'If I get off to a good start and maybe harass him a little, it might not be so easy for him.'
 
After a par at the first, Peter O'Malley collected four consecutive birdies and was well on his way to a remarkable round of 62 to move into fourth place alone at 8-under-par 205. O'Malley had previously shot 62 at this event in 1992, when he captured the title at Gleneagles.
 
Peter Lonard and Ian Poulter finished one shot further back at 7-under-par 206.
 
Tim Clark, Bradley Dredge, Alastair Forsyth, Gary Murphy, Terry Price, Iain Pyman and Shaun P. Webster followed at 6-under-par 207.
 
Phil Mickelson carded a 1-under 70 to finish in a tie for 49th at 1-over- par 214. Fellow Americans John Rollins and John Daly struggled with rounds of 76 and 77, respectively.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond
  • Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond Leaderboard
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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.