Owen Holds Slight Advantage in Britain

By Sports NetworkJune 7, 2003, 4:00 pm
WARWICKSHIRE, England -- Greg Owen, who held a share of the overnight lead, fired a 5-under 67 on Saturday to open up a four-shot lead after three rounds of the British Masters. Owen stands at 13-under-par 203.
Richard Green, who shared the overnight lead with Owen, managed just a 1- under 71. He shares second place with Ian Poulter at 9-under-par 207.
Owen stumbled out of the gate as he bogeyed the par-4 second. He recovered that stroke with a birdie at the fourth, then birdied the par-5 seventh for the second consecutive day.
'It was a bit of a shock really,' said Owen of his early bogey. 'I didn't hit a bad tee shot or second shot but got a hard bounce and went over the back.'
Around the turn, Owen found another favorite hole. He rolled in a birdie try at the par-4 10th, his third birdie in three rounds on that hole. The Englishman then drained a birdie putt at the 12th.
Owen extended his lead to three strokes with a 10-foot eagle putt at the par-5 17th.
'I knew a birdie was in the cards and it was nice to get one extra,' said Owen, who is searching for his first European Tour victory. 'Just three good shots and if it goes in the hole, nice to see them rewarded.'
Owen knows that those trailing him will have to go low to knock him out of first place.
'There are easy birdies out there if you hit the shots,' Owen said. 'It's up to them to make even more than me. I am just going to try not to make any mistakes like the last three days.'
Poulter had the round of the day by three strokes. His 9-under 63 moved him from a tie for 57th, to a share of second. He exploded out of the gate with four straight birdies, all from within eight feet, to start his round.
'I would have snapped your arm off to take that at the start,' Poulter said. 'It's one of the nicer rounds I've ever played.'
Poulter continued his rolled with his fifth birdie at the seventh. He made the turn at 6-under thanks to a birdie at par-4 ninth.
He got hot again on the back nine as he picked up another birdie at the par-5 12th. Poulter then converted back-to-back birdies from the 14th, both from within six feet.
Poulter, who won the Wales Open last week, made his 10th and final birdie of the day at No. 17. However, he made his lone mistake at the last. He three-putted for bogey at the par-3 closing hole to cap his tremendous round.
'The confidence from last week was lovely,' Poulter said. 'My timing was a bit off yesterday. I was standing there trying to hit the ball too hard. I was told that yesterday and obviously it was nice to get my rhythm back.'
Green, like Owen, seemed to wilt under the pressure of playing in the final group. He bogeyed the second, but was able to recover that stroke with a birdie at the fourth. Green dropped another stroke with a bogey at the fifth.
The Australian settled down from there. He made his third birdie in three days at the seventh before rolling off four straight pars. Green took advantage of the par-5 12th by making a birdie to get to 9-under.
Green birdied the par-5 17th for the third consecutive round, however, like Poulter, Green bogeyed the last hole to fall four off the pace.
David Lynn and Matthew Blackey are tied for fourth at 8-under-par 208. Darren Fichardt and Barry Lane are among seven players one shot further back at minus-7.
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.