Maruyama Stays in Front in Greensboro

By Sports NetworkOctober 18, 2003, 4:00 pm
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Shigeki Maruyama posted a 2-under 70 on Saturday to stay atop the leaderboard at the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro. He stands at 17-under-par 199 and owns a three-shot lead over Brad Faxon.
Peter Lonard (67), Matt Gogel (68) and K.J. Choi (68) share third place at 11-under-par 205.
Maruyama opened Saturday's third round with a five-shot lead and maintained that advantage through the first six holes as he and Faxon traded a pair of birdies each.
Things turned at the par-4 seventh. Maruyama missed the green with a pitching-wedge then took a few chips before he reached the putting surface. He left the hole with a double bogey and Faxon made par so the lead was down to three.
'I hit it farther than expected, and the place where the ball was, it was the toughest place to reach the hole,' said Maruyama. 'And the grass is bermuda grass. It's one of my unfavorite grasses, so it was really tough to approach the ball to the hole.'
Faxon capitalized on Maruyama's miscue. Faxon sank a six-foot birdie putt at the ninth while Maruyama missed a 12-footer for birdie of his own. Faxon was now two shots behind but cut into that lead when he ran home a 30-footer for birdie at the 11th.
At the par-5 13th, Faxon drove left and his ball stopped against a tree. After he took a penalty drop, Faxon knocked his third down the fairway. He pitched his fourth to six feet. Maruyama drove through the fairway but hit his second to eight feet. Maruyama canned his eagle putt and Faxon made his par so Maruyama went ahead by three once again.
'That was the perfect hole,' said Maruyama. 'A perfect shot from the tee box, a perfect 3-iron, the second shot, and perfect putt. That hole saved my game today.'
Maruyama had some opportunities late in his round to extend the lead but did not take advantage. At the par-5 15th, his ball landed on the green in two but the ball caught a ridge and rolled back down into the fairway. His third stopped eight feet from the stick but Maruyama could not find the bottom of the cup.
He made a couple of testy par saves on the final few holes, including a 24-footer at 18, to take the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event for only the second time. The other tournament was last year's Byron Nelson Classic, his most recent win on tour.
'Of course I'll feel the pressure tomorrow, but also Brad Faxon should feel the pressure to catch up with me tomorrow, so it's even,' said Maruyama.
Faxon, who lost a playoff to Bob Tway this year at the Canadian Open, holed a 45-footer for birdie at the fourth, then made it two in a row with an eight-foot putt at No. 5.
Faxon, one of the top putters in history, missed chances at seven when his 15- foot birdie try lipped out and at the eighth, his six-footer for birdie missed as well.
The Boston Red Sox fan finished with a 4-under 68 and has a chance at his first win since the 2001 Sony Open in Hawaii.
'It would mean a lot to me,' admitted Faxon. 'A big goal of mine going into this year was to win a tournament, and there's not many left. I feel good where I've been the last month with my game.
'Certainly Shigeki is playing well, and he made a great finish with his eagle on 13 and nice par putt on 18. I enjoy playing with him. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.'
Robert Allenby (66), Steven Alker (68), David Sutherland (69), Stephen Ames (71) and last week's Las Vegas Invitational winner Stuart Appleby (68) share sixth place at minus-10.
Related Links:
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    Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

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


    Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

    Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

    Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

    Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

    Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


    Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

    Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

    Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

    Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

    Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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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.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    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.