Micheel Maruyama Tied at Riviera

By Sports NetworkFebruary 19, 2004, 5:00 pm
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Reigning PGA champion Shaun Micheel and Shigeki Maruyama each posted rounds of 7-under-par 64 Thursday to share the opening-round lead of the Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club.
The first round was suspended due to darkness with a few groups remaining on the course. Those players will return Friday to finish off the first round.
Tiger Woods, who competed in his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old at the Nissan Open, struggled to a 1-over 72. He is part of a group tied for 77th place.
Woods flew out of the gate with a birdie at No. 1, but missed the green short at the fourth and made bogey. He missed the fairway at No. 5 and his 8-iron came up short. Woods could not get up and down and was 1-over for his round.
The No. 1 player in golf pulled his second shot left of the putting surface at the seventh and made another bogey. He let birdie tries slide by at eight and 10, but holed a clutch eight-footer for par at the ninth.
Woods took advantage of his length at Riviera at the par-5 11th. He came up just short of the green with a 2-iron but got up and down for his second birdie.
Woods parred out and will need a strong round on Friday to extend his PGA Tour record for consecutive cuts made to 117.
Hank Kuehne is in third place after an opening-round 65. Defending champion Mike Weir carded a 5-under 66 and is tied for fourth place with Scott McCarron and former winners Fred Couples, Robert Allenby and Kirk Triplett.
Micheel, who played with Maruyama in the first round, opened on the back nine and drained a 10-footer for birdie at the 12th and a 20-footer at the next. At the par-3 16th, Micheel stuffed a 9-iron inside three feet for his third birdie of the round.
The current holder of the Wanamaker Trophy continued his fine play on the front nine. He reached the green in two with a 5-wood at the par-5 first, then ran home the 30-footer for eagle.
Micheel three-putted the fifth green for a bogey but he rebounded. He rolled in a pair of eight-foot birdie putts at the sixth and seventh and made it three in a row with a 20-footer at No. 8.
Micheel had a chance to distance himself from Maruyama and the rest of the field at the ninth. He left himself with eight feet for birdie but missed the putt and ended up tied atop the leaderboard.
'I'm very happy with the way things went today, outside of missing a couple of short ones,' said Micheel. 'Hey, you can't make them all and I made some putts out there that I probably shouldn't have.'
Micheel has posted only one top-15 finish since breaking through with his major triumph. He shared 13th place at the season-opening Mercedes Championships, but is starting to come to grips with being a major champion.
'I think I'm pretty grounded,' said Micheel. 'I'm learning. I don't know what it takes to be a star. I don't know if I have that quality. I would like to improve my game and be a lot more consistent of a player.'
Maruyama wasted little time in going into red figures with a birdie at the par-5 11th. He landed in a bunker off the tee at 15, then went over the green with his approach. Maruyama chipped to three feet, but missed the par save to fall to even-par on his round.
After the mishap at 15, Maruyama went on a birdie run. He sank a pair of putts inside 10 feet for birdies at 16 and 17, respectively, followed by a 45-foot birdie putt at the 18th. Maruyama two-putted for birdie from 30 feet at the first to make it four in a row.
Maruyama parred the next five holes, but polished off his round with another birdie streak. At the seventh, he knocked a 6-iron to four feet and used the same club at the next hole but this time his ball landed 35 feet from the hole. He sank that putt and holed an eight-footer for birdie at the last to join his playing partner in first.
'My irons and putting were very good today,' said Maruyama, who has won an event on tour for the last three seasons. 'Everything was good today. Since last week I have been playing very well.'
Maruyama tied for fourth last week at the Buick Invitational.
John Daly, one week removed from his first PGA Tour victory since the 1995 British Open, carded a 3-under 68 and is part of a group tied for 13th.
Jeff Maggert, Joe Ogilvie and Woody Austin are tied in the clubhouse at 4-under 67. Russ Cochran is also 4-under-par and has played 16 holes of his first round.
Vijay Singh, whose run of 12 consecutive top-10 finishes was snapped last week when he missed the cut at the Buick Invitational, posted an even-par 71 and is part of a logjam tied for 56th. Also in that group is David Toms, who is playing for the first time in 2004 after a wrist injury.
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  • Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.

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    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.

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    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

    Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

    Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

    Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

    “At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

    Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.

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    With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

    “I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

    Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

    Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

    “As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

    Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

    Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

    Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

    Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.

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    Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

    There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

    “I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

    Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

    The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.