Love Out-Matched Woods Defends Title

By Sports NetworkFebruary 29, 2004, 5:00 pm
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods successfully defended his title at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Sunday, as he defeated Davis Love III, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final at La Costa Resort & Spa.
The win was Woods' second at this event and his first of the 2004 campaign. He now owns nine wins in World Golf Championships events, 40 titles on the PGA Tour and 21 on the European circuit.
'In match play, anything can happen,' said Woods, who passed Tom Watson and Gene Sarazen into a share of eighth for all-time wins on the PGA Tour. 'That to me is a pretty big rush and a great thrill to have that type of atmosphere.'
Woods pocketed $1,200,000 for the win, the largest first-place check on the PGA Tour.
For Love, it was his highest finish in this event but the sense of what could've been plagued him.
'I just didn't have it on the greens today and he started making them and he started hitting fairways and that is a bad combination,' said Love. 'I let it get away from me.'
Love led 1-up after the first 18 holes and seemed to be ready to extend the lead at the 19th. Love had a 18-foot look for birdie and came up short with Woods conceding his par. Woods went long and left with his second and hit a poor chip 12 feet short of the cup. Woods drained the putt to halve the hole.
Woods immediately squared the match at the next hole with a par after Love missed the green. The match remained even until the two reached the seventh.
At seven, Love looked to be in charge of the hole as Woods drove well right of the fairway. Woods was able to hit a shot over trees that spun back to 20 feet. Love was in the first cut on the right but hit an 8-iron to the back collar. Woods sank the putt and Love knocked his third long to give Woods his first lead of the match on the 25th hole.
That's where it started to slip away from Love.
At No. 8, Woods sank a five-footer for birdie to win the hole and go 2-up. Woods picked up his third straight hole at the ninth when Love went left off the tee and had to lay up. Love put his third into a front bunker and hit the stick with his fourth but the ball rolled four feet past. Woods lagged his 30- foot birdie putt three feet short and holed the par save to go 3-up.
'He made a few like that, that he had to make,' said Love.
Woods maintained his lead but it wasn't without his share of clutch putts. At 10, Woods rolled in a 10-footer for par that forced Love to make a four-foot par to halve the hole.
The 13th looked like a good chance for Love to dig into Woods' lead. Love had six feet for birdie to win the hole but his downhill putt actually came up short and that would be his last good opportunity.
Love needed to win out starting at the par-3 16th. Woods landed over the flag in the short rough but Love had 25 feet for birdie. Woods chipped to three feet and when Love's birdie try did not fall into the cup, the match was over.
'Davis played a good solid match,' said Woods. 'I wasn't exactly striking the ball all that well. It was a tough day and I made a lot of putts that kept the momentum on my side or even turned the momentum into my side.'
Earlier, Love had a great chance to put some distance between himself and Woods in the morning session of 18 holes.
The two were even when they reached La Costa's par-3 16th hole in the morning. Woods hit his tee ball right at the flag but spun it back to the collar of the fringe nearly spilling into the water. Love stuck his iron shot two feet from the hole and when Woods missed his birdie try, Love tapped in to go 1-up.
At the 17th, Love drove into the fairway while Woods found the rough off the tee, something he did often throughout the first 18 holes. Woods hit a low shot under a tree into the front bunker while Love's approach went 25 feet over the flag. Woods blasted out to five feet but it would not matter as Love drained the birdie putt to go 2-up.
Woods rebounded at 18 when he found the fairway. He knocked a 2-iron from 253 yards out at the par-5 hole to 30 feet while Love landed in the front bunker with his approach. Love blasted out to six feet and Woods lagged his eagle putt close enough for Love to concede the birdie. Love missed his birdie putt to cut his lead to 1-up.
'If I could have gotten 2- or 3-up, then maybe I would have putted better on the second 18,' conceded Love. 'I played pretty good. He can play the game no matter what rules you put out there, but he's a very good match-play player.'
In the afternoon, Woods hit more fairways and Love struggled with his putting.
'I was in quite a few places where I was in trouble,' said Woods. 'The good old flat-stick was the great equalizer.'
Darren Clarke, who lost to Love in Saturday's semifinal, defeated Stephen Leaney, 2-up, in the consolation match for third place.
Related Links:
  • Scoring - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • 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.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    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.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''