One Purdy Round Puts Ted Ahead

By Sports NetworkApril 17, 2004, 4:00 pm
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Ted Purdy fired a 6-under 65 on Saturday to move into the lead after 54 holes of the Heritage. He stands at 12-under-par 201 and owns a four-stroke lead over Heath Slocum at Harbour Town Golf Links.
 
Purdy, a winner last year on the Nationwide Tour, will be in search of victory No. 1 on the PGA Tour. If he makes it to the winner's circle on Sunday, Purdy will become the fourth first-time champion on tour this season, including the man chasing him.
 
'I fill out all of these goals and winning a PGA Tour event is No. 1,' said Purdy, who captured the 2003 First Tee Arkansas Classic. 'It's good to be here. I've got one more day.'
 
Stephen Ames posted a 3-under 68 and joined Patrick Sheehan, who carded a 69 on Saturday, in a tie for third place. The duo is knotted at 7-under-par 206.
 
Reigning British Open champion and overnight leader Ben Curtis struggled badly on the back nine Saturday. He tallied three bogeys and a double bogey for a round of 4-over 75 and a share of 13th place at minus-4.
 
Purdy began the round two strokes behind Curtis but wasted little time in moving up the leaderboard. He tapped in a birdie at the par-5 second, then ran off three consecutive birdies from the fourth, all from the 15-foot range.
 
Purdy already erased the gap and assumed the top spot on the leaderboard. He sank a 12-footer for birdie at the ninth, but Curtis stayed in the hunt and Purdy's lead remained at two.
 
Curtis looked to be in severe trouble when his second at the 11th landed in the trees. He chipped in for par, his fourth hole-out of the tournament, but Purdy in the group ahead put more distance between the two.
 
Purdy drained a 12-foot birdie putt at the 12th and that's when Curtis began his slide. The British Open champion missed the fairway and green at 12 and made bogey. Curtis went 4 over the rest of the way and it looks like victory No. 2 on the PGA Tour might be out of reach.
 
Purdy, however, played steady golf, except for a miscue with the driver at the par-5 15th. His drive went right into the trees and after pondering several options, Purdy elected to pitch out to the fairway. Purdy had 231 yards to the hole so he laid up short of the green. His fourth landed 50 feet past the hole but spun back to 10. Purdy missed the par-saving putt but still held a three-shot edge over Slocum, who birdied 12 to reach 8 under for the tournament.
 
At the 16th, Purdy missed the fairway again, but had an 8-iron to the green. His approach stopped 18 feet from the hole and his putt fell in the center of the cup.
 
He parred his final two holes and when Slocum mixed a birdie and a bogey over his last three, Purdy found himself in unfamiliar territory - the lead after a round on the PGA Tour.
 
Now he's in the final group on Sunday looking for win No. 1.
 
'Darren Clarke said I'm a hell of a player, I just need to believe it for myself. And I do,' said Purdy. 'As long as I trust my stuff tomorrow, I'll be fine. I can hang on.'
 
Despite a four-stroke lead, Purdy does have to contend with Slocum on Sunday. Slocum managed a 1-under 70 on Saturday to hold on to his spot in second place.
 
Slocum cut Purdy's lead to three with a birdie at 16 but a poor drive at the closing hole hurt him. He had over 200 yards for his second shot and failed to save par, dropping four behind Purdy.
 
Ernie Els, the runner-up to Phil Mickelson last week at the Masters, shot a 3-under 68 and is part of a group tied for fifth place. Kevin Na (70), 50-year-old Jay Haas (70) and Fred Funk (69) joined Els at 6-under-par 207.
 
Justin Rose, who led at Augusta National after the first two rounds, carded a 5-under 66 and shares ninth place with Clarke (71), Jonathan Kaye (68) and Bay Hill champion Chad Campbell (70), That group is knotted at 5-under-par 208.
 
Related Links:
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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.

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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.