Love Takes Honda Lead

By Sports NetworkMarch 15, 2003, 5:00 pm
PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Davis Love III fired a 7-under 65 Saturday to storm into the lead after the third round of the Honda Classic. Love's 54-hole total of 20-under-par 196 puts him one ahead of Justin Leonard.
 
'I played well all day,' said Love, who set a new 54-hole tournament record. 'It's nice to be excited and playing aggressively and feeling good.'
 
Love was one shot off the lead when the second round was completed early Saturday morning and the 38-year-old had a slow start to his third round on the Sunset Course at the Country Club at Mirasol. Love parred his first seven holes until a birdie at the eighth.
 
At the par-5 ninth, Love hit a remarkable second shot to seven feet for an eagle to make the turn at 16-under. He continued his fine play on the back nine and hit his approach to six feet for a birdie at the 10th.
 
After a weather delay of just over two hours, Love returned to the course and landed his second shot inside 14 feet for birdie at the 12th to stand alone atop the leaderboard at minus-18.
 
Love was soon overtaken by Leonard, who closed his round with six consecutive birdies to enter the clubhouse at 19-under. Love persisted and tied Leonard with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 15th.
 
The 1997 PGA champion regained the outright lead with a birdie at the par-5 17th. Love, who won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February, parred the 18th to secure a one-shot advantage with one round to play.
 
'Winning is very important, but feeling good and being in there is what I want to do all year long,' said Love. 'If somebody behind us tomorrow shoots 59 or 60, there might not be anything we can do about it, but I'm going to go out there and try to birdie every hole tomorrow with a good attitude.'
 
Players have gone low all week, and Love was cautious in his outlook for Sunday's final round.
 
'It's a good day to keep your head down, not look at the scoreboards and just play,' said Love. 'There really isn't much of a lead here.'
 
Leonard opened with a bogey at the third that dropped him back to 10-under but he recovered with a pair of birdies starting at the fourth hole. Leonard then birdied the eighth to make the turn at minus-13.
 
The 30-year-old holed a 40-footer for birdie at the 13th and birdied the 14th before play was called with a storm moving through the area. Leonard was not affected by the delay and picked up where he left off with a birdie at the 15th.
 
'It's just fun,' said Leonard. 'Especially to do it with a weather delay in between, having to go back out and warm up again. Just to be able to do it like that, to get back in contention, because I felt like I was falling out of contention, feels pretty good.'
 
At the par-3 16th, Leonard knocked his tee shot within two feet for his fourth consecutive birdie. He continued the run with a birdie at the 17th and hit his second shot to 16 feet at the 18th. Leonard drained the putt for his sixth straight birdie and a round of 64.
 
'It gets a little boring out there when the scores are so low and you're making a bunch of pars,' said Leonard. 'You feel like you are treading water and it can get a little frustrating. But I think being able to go out and make six birdies in a row, and knowing that that's possible, somehow keeps me in it.'
 
Chris Riley chipped in for birdie at the par-4 18th to finish alone in third at 18-under-par 198.
 
Billy Mayfair, Woody Austin, Carlos Franco, Jerry Kelly, Tom Byrum and Notah Begay III, who held a share of the lead after round two, were one shot further back at 17-under-par 199.
 
Brett Quigley, Chad Campbell, Mark O'Meara, Shaun Micheel and 2002 Q-School medalist Jeff Brehaut finished tied for 10th at 16-under-par 200.
 
David Peoples, who finished alongside Begay in a tie for the lead after the second round, was quiet Saturday with a round of 71. Peoples finished five shots off the lead in a group at 15-under-par 201.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

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    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.