Goosen Trails by Two in Thailand

By Sports NetworkMarch 2, 2007, 5:00 pm
European TourPHUKET, Thailand -- England's Oliver Wilson posted a 6-under 66 on Friday to move atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic. He finished 36 holes at 10-under-par 134 and is one ahead at Blue Canyon Country Club.
 
South Africa's Anton Haig matched Greg Norman's 1994 course record in round two with an 8-under 64. He is alone in second place at 9-under-par 135.
 
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen carded his second 4-under 68 in as many days and is tied for third place with James Nitties, who posted a 5-under 67 on Friday. The pair is knotted at minus-8.
 
Richard Lee shot a 2-under 70 and is in fifth place at 7-under-par 137.
 
High temperatures and humidity meant difficult conditions for the players on Friday.
 
Wilson played the second round from the first tee, but parred his first six holes. He added birdies at the seventh and ninth holes to reach 6 under par for the championship.
 
On the second nine, Wilson flew up the leaderboard. He eagled the par-5 11th, then birdied the par-3 14th for the second time. Wilson, who eagled No. 9 on Thursday, recorded his third eagle of the tournament at the 586-yard 15th.
 
The Englishman was 11 under par and two strokes ahead until he reached the par-4 closing hole. Wilson's drive came close to water, but it stayed dry. Unfortunately, he could only advance his second shot into heavy rough. By the time Wilson finally reached the putting surface, he had to hole a 6-footer for bogey.
 
Wilson did convert the bogey putt, which dropped his advantage to one with the weekend to go.
 
'That was the first hole all week where I lost my composure a little bit,' said Wilson. 'I tried to force the drive and made a mess of it all the way to the green. I managed to hole the six footer for bogey, which was a nice way to finish.'
 
Wilson will be in search of his first victory on the European Tour. The closest he came was in November of 2005 when he lost the China Open to Paul Casey in a playoff.
 
At least Wilson won't have to worry about Casey this time around as Casey missed the cut. But Wilson acknowledged that after a little vacation spent studying the teachings of noted sports psychologist Bob Rotella and his continued improvement from last year, he can make it to the winner's circle on Sunday.
 
'I've been improving each year,' said Wilson. 'Last season I got off to a good start and it sort of fizzled away. I worked on quite a few things from a mental standpoint and everything is coming together now. I'm looking forward to this year. I know I am good enough to play out here but I need to work on my consistency.'
 
Haig, 20, began on the back nine and birdied the 10th. He left himself 30 feet for eagle at the par-4 13th, and sank the long putt for a two. From there, Haig tallied a pair of birdies and one bogey the rest of his opening nine.
 
He birdied two, four, six and nine to match Norman's 64, which was later matched by Richard Sterne on Friday.
 
Perhaps Haig drew inspiration from his Tuesday afternoon practice round partners -- Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.
 
'It was great,' acknowledged Haig. 'As a youngster I grew up watching Ernie and Retief, awesome players with great golf swings, and their composure on the golf course was awesome to watch. It's just a privilege to be playing in a tournament with them.'
 
Peter Hanson (72), Adam Bland (67), Kim Felton (68), Richard Bland (70) and Ter-Chang Wang (70) share sixth place at 6-under-par 138.
 
Overnight leader Brad Kennedy struggled to a 5-over 77 on Friday and dipped into a share of 32nd place at minus-2.
 
Els shot a 70 in the second round and is part of a group tied for 51st at 1-under-par 143. World No. 4 Adam Scott is also in that logjam.
 
The 36-hole cut fell at even-par 144 and Casey was the biggest name to miss the weekend. Former Masters champion Mike Weir only managed a 6-over 78 to make the cut on the number.
 
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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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    Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

    Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

    Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

    Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

    New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



    FALLING

    Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

    Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

    Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

    Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

    Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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    Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

    By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

    “I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

    Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

    “If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


    Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


    Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

    Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

    “He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

    As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

    "I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

    Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”