Furyk Takes One-Shot Lead

By Sports NetworkAugust 2, 2003, 4:00 pm
GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- Jim Furyk shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to take the outright lead after three rounds of the Buick Open. Furyk's 54-hole total of 17-under-par 199 gives him a one-shot edge over Carl Paulson.
Defending champion Tiger Woods had to complete his second round early Saturday at Warwick Hills after play was suspended Friday and did so in style with an eagle at the par-5 16th to reach 10-under.
The top player in the game had a tough run during his third round, however, and despite a pair of birdies and a bogey over his first nine holes, he was falling off the pace of the leaders.
Woods made the turn at minus-11 and found trouble at the 10th after an errant drive nestled underneath a tree to the left of the fairway. Woods got down on his knees to play his second shot and muscled it forward. He sent his third shot to 12 feet and missed the putt for a bogey.
The 27-year-old hit his drive just short of the green at the par-4 12th and chipped to seven feet. He failed to convert for birdie but picked up ground down the stretch with three consecutive birdies starting at the par-4 15th.
Woods finished with a round of 69 to join Briny Baird and Woody Austin in a tie for eighth at 13-under-par 203.
Furyk had a much easier day than his playing partner Woods.
'I wanted to go out and get a low number, and whether I'm playing with Tiger or someone else, it doesn't make that much of a difference other than it felt like 20,000 people were watching us,' said Furyk. 'You want to play well and try to get yourself to where you have an opportunity.'
He opened with a birdie at the first and reached 12-under after his tee shot to the par-three third stopped five feet from the cup.
The U.S. Open champion added a birdie at the seventh and hit his approach inside seven feet for a birdie at the par-4 10th.
At the par-5 13th, Furyk dropped his third within a foot of the hole for a tap-in birdie. He made it two in a row with a birdie at the 14th and picked up a birdie at the par-4 18th to hold a slim lead over a charging field.
'Starting today I was trying to shoot a low number and put myself in position, and I ended up in the lead,' said Furyk.
Paulson tallied back-to-back birdies from the sixth and added another pair of birdies starting at the 10th to move to 13-under.
He faltered with a bogey at the 13th but recovered that shot with a birdie at the following hole. At the par-5 16th, Paulson drained an 18-foot putt from off the green for an eagle.
Paulson added a birdie at the closing hole for a round of 65.
'I'm just working really hard,' said Paulson. 'My playing was a little out of whack, which was a little unusual for me. Out here on tour, if you short-side yourself, you're going to make bogeys. I'm trying to cut down on some of the mistakes and wait until I start hitting better.'
Neal Lancaster carded a third-round 66 to finish two shots off the lead at 15- under-par 201.
Kenny Perry was one shot further back in a group at 14-under-par 202. Perry, who has three victories to his name in 2003, picked up birdies on each of his first two holes and reached the green in two at the par-5 seventh.
Perry missed the eagle try and tapped in for a birdie. Three holes later at the par-4 10th, however, Perry holed out from the fairway for an eagle to climb to 13-under and tie Furyk in the lead.
The 42-year-old bogeyed the 11th but picked up back-to-back birdies starting at the 13th. Perry, who won this event in 2001, then two-putted for birdie at the par-5 16th but struggled with a bogey at the last for a round of 66.
Perry was joined by 36-hole leader Chris DiMarco, Paul Goydos and Paul Gow in a tie for fourth.
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    Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

    Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

    That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

    Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

    From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

    Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

    She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

    She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

    “Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

    Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

    With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

    The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

    She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

    The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.

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    One & Done: 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 5:55 pm

    Beginning in 2018, Golf Channel is offering a "One & Done" fantasy game alternative. Choose a golfer and add the salary they earn at the event to your season-long total - but know that once chosen, a player cannot be used again for the rest of the year.

    Log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to start your own league and make picks for this week's event.

    Here are some players to consider for One & Done picks this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Hudson Swafford returns as the defending champion:

    Zach Johnson. The two-time major champ has missed the cut here three years in a row. So why include him in One & Done consideration? Because the three years before that (2012-14) included three top-25s highlighted by a third-place finish, and his T-14 at the Sony Open last week was his fifth straight top-25 dating back to September.

    Bud Cauley. Cauley has yet to win on Tour, but that could very well change this year - even this week. Cauley ended up only two shots behind Swafford last year and tied for 14th the year prior, as four of his five career appearances have netted at least a top-40 finish. He opened the new season with a T-7 in Napa and closed out the fall with a T-8 at Sea Island.

    Adam Hadwin. Swafford left last year with the trophy, but it looked for much of the weekend like it would be Hadwin's tournament as he finished second despite shooting a 59 in the third round. Hadwin was also T-6 at this event in 2016 and now with a win under his belt last March he returns with some unfinished business.

    Charles Howell III. If you didn't use him last week at the Sony Open, this could be another good spot for the veteran who has four top-15 finishes over the last seven years at this event, highlighted by a playoff loss in 2013. His T-32 finish last week in Honolulu, while not spectacular, did include four sub-70 scores.

    David Lingmerth. Lingmerth was in that 2013 playoff with Howell (eventually won by Brian Gay), and he also lost here in overtimei to Jason Dufner in 2016. The Swede also cracked the top 25 here in 2015 and is making his first start since his wife, Megan, gave birth to the couple's first child in December. Beware the sleep-deprived golfer.

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    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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    Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

    Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

    As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

    Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.