Furyk Remains Bogey-Free Leads in Vegas
Lee Janzen and Joel Edwards each tied the course record of 62 at the TPC Canyons course on Friday. Of the top 28 players on the leaderboard, all of them shot between 62 and 68.
Overnight co-leader Charles Howell III and Stuart Appleby are three strokes off the pace at 17-under, while Chris DiMarco, Steve Jones and Janzen are tied for fifth at minus-16.
Furyk, who is a three-time winner at this event, has yet to record a bogey through three rounds. His stellar round came at the TPC Summerlin, which is where the final two rounds will be played. The first three rounds, players rotated between Summerlin and TPC Southern Highlands, each par-72 courses, and the par-71 TPC Canyons course.
Furyk started on the back nine at Summerlin and posted five birdies in the first seven holes. His longest putt during the stretch was on his first birdie putt at the 11th, where he ran one home from 15 feet.
'I had a little quick start on the back side,' Furyk said, who has bettered his score each day, 66-65-64. 'Four birdies is a good start. I got in little trouble.'
Furyk kept the hot streak going with birdies at both par-5s, Nos. 3 and 9, on the front side. This put him at 4-under on the four par-5s for his round. He also drained a 25-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 fifth.
'I played real solid,' said Furyk, who won here in 1995, 1998 and 1999. 'I missed a few greens, but hit a lot of chips close. To win here, you have to shoot low numbers and limit mistakes.'
Sluman's day started off with a bogey five at the first hole at TPC Southern Highlands. After he hit a flyer over the green, he was unable to get up-and-down. He quickly got that stroke back as he birdied consecutive holes starting at the third.
'I was in a divot in the deepest rough I had ever been in my career,' said Sluman, referring to where his drive landed before he recovered for birdie at the third.
Sluman then went on a birdie streak. He birdied the sixth from 12 feet, then sank a three-footer at the next. He followed with a 12-foot birdie on the eight and made it four straight when he made a 10-footer at nine. He birdied three more holes after the turn to polish off his round of 64.
'You're really going to have to make a bucketful of birdies,' Sluman said. 'You have to be very aggressive and make putts. On top of that, you have to stay patient if things don't happen early in the round.'
Howell began on the back nine at the TPC Canyons course. He birdied the 10th, but gave that stroke right back on the 11th. There, his 8-iron missed the green and he could not get up-and-down. He rebounded with three birdies in a four-hole span starting at the 14th.
He posted consecutive birdies starting at the fourth after he made the turn. At the fourth, he two-putted at the par-5, then sank a three-footer on the fifth. Howell has now played his last eight rounds in 35-under-par dating back to the Valero Texas Open.
'My short game, first and foremost, is why my scoring is better lately,' said Howell, who earned his first PGA win at the Michelob Championship last week. 'I'll be relaxed this weekend (after winning). People may not understand that, but there is something about seeing your name on a leaderboard that helps you relax after a few times.'
Howell is looking to become the first player to capture tournaments in consecutive weeks since Tiger Woods accomplished the feat in March 2001, when he won the Bay Hill Invitational and The Players Championship. David Duval is the last player to win his first tour event one week and claim his second victory the following week. In 1997, Duval won the Michelob Championship then claimed the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic.
Paul Stankowski, John Cook, John Huston, Scott McCarron, Jay Don Blake, Phil Tataurangi, Brent Geiberger, John Rollins, Dudley Hart and Duval are five strokes off the pace at 15-under-par 200.
Defending champion Bob Estes missed the cut by one shot, despite a third round 62 at Southern Highlands.
Full-field scores from the Invensys Classic at Las Vegas
Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar
DOHA, Qatar – Eddie Pepperell, Gregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.
Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.
One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.
Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.
Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.
Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.
He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.
''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.
''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.
''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.
''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”
Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.
''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.
''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''
Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.
Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic
Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats
The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.
How to watch:
Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream
Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream
Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET
Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET
Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)
Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)
Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.
Notables in the field:
• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.
• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.
• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.
• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.
• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.
• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green.
• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.
• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.
• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13).
Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand
CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.
Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.
''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.
''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''
Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.
Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.
''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.
Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.
Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.
''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.
She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.
Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.