Scott Pulling Away in Beijing

By Sports NetworkApril 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
BEIJING -- Adam Scott is 4 under par through 11 holes of his third round Saturday at the Johnnie Walker Classic. That puts the 10th-ranked player in the world at 19 under par for the event, which is good for a six-shot lead as play was called because of darkness.
 
The tournament is almost caught up from Thursday when only three hours of golf were played. Heavy wind caused the suspension of the first round, but after playing as much golf as possible on Friday and Saturday, the event should finish on time Sunday afternoon.
 
Forty-eight players will return to Pine Valley Golf Resort and Country Club at 7:50 a.m. local time to complete the third round. The final round is scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. local time.
 
Henrik Stenson is 6-under par through 13 holes of his third round. That puts the Swede in second place at 13 under par, where Gary Rusnak joined him. Rusnak is 2 under so far in round three.
 
Scott played his entire second round on Saturday and finished with a four-shot lead. He had a chance to extend that margin at the first, but missed a makeable birdie try. Scott did not squander such opportunities at the second when he two-putted from 18 feet for birdie and at the third when he sank a 12-footer.
 
Those birdies only allowed him to keep pace with his closest pursuers, but Scott's length came in handy at the 358-yard fifth. He only had a short pitch for his second and stopped the ball 2 feet from the hole. The Australian tapped in for birdie and a five-shot lead.
 
Scott's only hiccup of the third round came at the par-3 sixth. His tee ball landed on the back fringe and his second came up 4 feet short. He pushed his par putt and took only his second bogey of the tournament.
 
Scott rebounded at the par-5 eighth. His second landed in a greenside bunker right of the hole, but he blasted out to 4 feet and converted the birdie putt. Scott collected his third birdie in as many rounds at the ninth, when he drained a 20-footer.
 
At the 10th, he needed to hole a 4-footer to save par and keep his momentum going. He did just that, then parred the 11th hole in the waning light. Scott and his playing partners never made it to the 12th tee before the horn sounded.
 
'It was a long day but a good day and I did what I had to do because I knew the guys behind me were going to make birdies if there was no wind so that worked well,' said Scott. 'Hopefully we can get some nice conditions tomorrow and everything keeps rolling along as it is because I feel comfortable.'
 
Scott will be in search of his fifth victory on the European Tour. In three of those wins, Scott held at least a piece of the lead heading into the final round. In two of them, he had at least a three-shot lead at the halfway point.
 
'Well when you are playing nicely and have the momentum going you always want to keep on going but it is no use playing in the dark,' said Scott, who won this year's weather-shortened Nissan Open on the PGA Tour. 'I was just trying to plug away and hit one shot at a time and that is what I will continue to do tomorrow.'
 
Stenson birdied three in a row from the 10th to climb up the leaderboard, while Rusnak, who was alone in second after 36 holes, birdied his final two holes to join Stenson in second.
 
Two-time and reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, who won this title in 2002, is three-under on his round and would have been closer to the lead, but he bogeyed the 11th, his final hole of the day. He is tied for fourth place at 12-under par with Steven O'Hara (13 holes) and Richard Sterne (11 holes).
 
Luke Donald (65), Scott Drummond (65) and Prayad Marksaeng (66) share the clubhouse lead at 11-under-par 205. Wade Ormsby and David Park are each 5 under on their rounds and will return Sunday morning to finish.
 
Ernie Els and K.J. Choi headline a group tied for 12th at 10 under par, while Sergio Garcia and Colin Montgomerie are a shot a behind. All four players have holes to play in their third rounds.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.