Singh Stays on Top at Byron Nelson

By Sports NetworkMay 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
IRVING, Texas -- Vijay Singh managed to shoot just a 1-under 69 Saturday to maintain the lead after three rounds of the Byron Nelson Championship. Singh stands at 11-under-par 199, one stroke ahead of Jeff Sluman.
Cameron Beckman and Luke Donald both shot 3-under 67s on Saturday and share third place at 9-under-par 201. Nick Price (66) and Per-Ulrik Johansson (67) are one stroke further back at minus-8.
Singh briefly lost his lead early in the round as he opened with five consecutive pars. He birdied the par-4 sixth to join Sluman atop the leaderboard at minus-11.
After a pair of pars, Singh dropped one stroke back again when he bogeyed the par-4 ninth. His second shot to the ninth came up short. Singh then knocked his chip over the back edge. He managed to up-and-down for bogey from there.
The Fijian played steady throughout the back side. He opened with three straight pars. Singh converted his final birdie of the day at the par-3 13th to grab a one-shot lead. He parred out from there to maintain his advantage.
'I haven't played this golf course with that wind,' said Singh. 'I was always unsure about what club to hit and the wind wasn't consistent. All in all, I thought I played pretty good and I made some good putts.'
Singh, who won the Phoenix Open earlier this year, will look to win his 13th PGA Tour title on Sunday.
'I'm still in the lead which is an important thing,' Singh said. 'They still have to worry about catching me. If I go out there tomorrow and maybe get one or 2-under earlier on, then I can relax a little. Today I was always around par and when you are around par you don't want to throw away shots.'
Sluman began the round two shots behind Singh. Sluman came out firing however as he birdied three of the first four holes to overtake Singh. Sluman cooled from there, as he could only par the next six holes.
The 1988 PGA Championship winner bogeyed the par-4 11th to fall to minus-10 and a share of the lead with Singh. Sluman ran off three straight pars, but dropped another stroke when he bogeyed the par-4 15th on the TPC at Las Colinas.
Sluman atoned for that mistake as he birdied the next to remain in second place by himself.
'It wasn't an easy day to play out there with the wind coming from a different direction,' Sluman said. 'The greens really firmed up, so it wasn't the golf course that we saw the first two days. But all in all I'm not unhappy certainly with my position.
'The shots I was hitting, I felt were pretty good shots and a lot of times they didn't end up in pretty good spots. That's the way it goes around here.'
Sluman knows the final round will not be easy with Singh leading the way.
'Obviously he is a major winner. He has won all over the world,' said Sluman. 'He is a big strong guy that hits it a mile and is fearless out there.'
Donald had two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. He made a move on the back side however. He birdied the 12th and 14th before holing out from a greenside bunker for eagle at the par-5 16th that moved him to minus-10. He faltered though with a bogey at the last hole to fall into a share of third.
'I won late in the season last year and that was a great feeling,' said Donald. 'And I would love to win again. It's always nice to be in contention going into Sunday. I've played a little bit better than my scoring this year. I'm not surprised, I'm having a good week now. It was only a matter of time that I was getting the right bounces and making a few more putts.'
David Toms, who won the Wachovia Championship last week fired a 5-under 65 to jump into a share of seventh place with Hal Sutton (66), Hidemichi Tanaka (68), Peter Lonard (68), Andrew Magee (67), Robert Allenby (69) and Briny Baird (69) at 7-under-par 203.
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the EDS Byron Nelson Classic
  • Full coverage of the EDS Byron Nelson Classic
  • Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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.