Guess Whos Back -- on Top

By Sports NetworkSeptember 1, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 Deutsche Bank ChampionshipNORTON, Mass. -- Tiger Woods certainly put himself in position for his fifth consecutive victory.
On Friday, the No. 1 player in the world fired a 5-under-par 66 and is alone in the lead after the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC of Boston.
Justin Rose
Justin Rose is trying to reverse a tough year by winning this week.
Woods has won his last four starts on the PGA TOUR, including his third British Open title and his third PGA Championship. He also notched wins at the Buick Open and last week in a playoff at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
There was also a concern for jet lag as Woods left Sunday night with his Ryder Cup teammates for a practice session at The K Club in Ireland. He returned on Wednesday, played the pro-am on Thursday and was on the first tee Friday morning.
'I feel good now,' acknowledged Woods.
Not feeling good at the moment would be those under him on the leaderboard.
Bob May, who lost to Woods in a playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship, Justin Rose, Joe Ogilvie, Nathan Green and this year's winner in Hilton Head, Aaron Baddeley are knotted in second place at minus-4.
This is the only scheduled tournament on the TOUR with a Monday finish to take advantage of the national holiday in the U.S. Woods is also heavily involved in the tournament as several of his charities benefit this week.
Since this is Woods' event, it's a little strange he has never hoisted the trophy. That may be moot come Monday afternoon, because the way Woods is playing now, someone will have to play amazing golf to beat him.
He wasted little time on Friday as he birdied the first hole. The No. 1 ranked player in the world rattled off back-to-back birdies from the sixth, including a chip-in at No. 7, to reach 3 under par.
On the second nine, Woods flew out of the gate. He drained a 12-footer for birdie at the 10th hole that put him in a tie for the lead with several players at 4 under par.
Woods found trouble at the 13th when his drive rattled through some tress and came to rest in the rough. He hit a poor second shot, then pitched to five feet and missed the par try.
'I hit three bad shots right in a row,' admitted Woods. 'And then I got it going.'
Woods birdied the 14th to get back to 4 under par then caught a good break at the par-5 closing hole.
He landed in the fairway off the tee and had a lie that set up a left-to-right shot. Woods thought his 3-wood approach rolled into a hazard, but it found a bunker instead. He got up and down for birdie and put himself in an extremely familiar position - atop the leaderboard.
'I got a lot out of my round today,' said Woods, who tied for 40th last year. 'I played very conservatively on the front nine because of weather, but I'm in control of my golf ball.'
Winds swirled on each hole and heavy rain is expected for the weekend.
Former British Open champion Todd Hamilton, Jason Gore, Peter Lonard, Nicholas Thompson, Robert Karlsson, Michael Allen and one of Woods' Ryder Cup teammates, J.J. Henry, are knotted in seventh place at 3-under-par 68.
Defending champion Olin Browne opened with a 2-under-par 69 and is part of a group tied for 14th place along with Kenny Perry, 2003 PGA champion Shaun Micheel and 1996 U.S. Open winner Steve Jones.
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  • McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

    Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

    Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    "I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

    But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

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    With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

    Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

    The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

    "I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

    Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

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    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

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    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”