Singh Stays on Top at Mercedes

By Sports NetworkJanuary 7, 2005, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, fired an 8-under 65 on Friday to extend his lead after 36 holes of the season-opening Mercedes Championships. He stands at 15-under-par 131 and is two ahead of Mike Weir at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort.
This event is reserved for the 32 winners last year on the PGA Tour. Masters winner Phil Mickelson is the only player eligible for the tournament who did not attend.
Weir posted the lowest round of the day on Friday with a 10-under-par 63. He is alone at 13-under-par 133, while Ernie Els, who carded a second-round 65, has sole possession of third place at minus-12.
Jonathan Kaye and Sergio Garcia each put together rounds of 6-under 67 and are knotted in fourth place at 11-under-par 135.
Tiger Woods, who won this tournament in 1997 and 2000, could not get a putt to fall on Friday and the 663-yard closing hole was a great indication of that. He reached the green in two, but three-putted from 15 feet for a par.
'I had my chances to post a good, solid round,' said Woods, who missed six birdie putts inside 12 feet on Friday. 'We've never putted the greens this slow before. You have to make the adjustment. I'm having a difficult time making the adjustment.'
Woods finished with his second 5-under 68 in as many days. He is tied for sixth place with Ryder Cup teammates Chad Campbell and Stewart Cink, who also shot 68s in the second round, at minus-10.
Singh flew out of the gate on Friday. He drained a 10-footer for birdie at the first and knocked a 7-iron to 4 feet to set up a birdie at the 202-yard, par-3 second.
The Fijian parred three and four, but ran home a 15-foot eagle putt at the fifth to go 4 under through his first five holes. Singh birdied the sixth, then made a 60-footer for birdie at seven. The No. 1 player hit a spectacular 7-iron inside 4 feet at eight, but missed the birdie putt, starting a run of suspect golf.
He pulled his drive into tall grass at the ninth, but found the ball and made an unlikely par. Singh parred the next two holes then rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt at the 12th.
Singh parred the next five holes. He failed to find the green with his second at 18, but chipped to 6 feet and converted the birdie putt.
'I played well,' said Singh, who is the only player in the field without a bogey. 'I didn't make too many mistakes. The putts kind of dried up on the back nine, but I made a lot on the front.'
Singh overcame a missing driver on the range to match the third lowest score in the second round. After nine wins, the money title and Player of the Year award in 2004, Singh is confident he can continue his run into the weekend.
'I'm looking forward to. I'm putting well and playing well,' said Singh. 'I made my share of putts out there and hopefully I'll have another one tomorrow.'
Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, broke into red figures with a 5-foot birdie putt at the par-3 second hole. He made it two in a row at three, then recorded back-to-back birdies at five and six. The Canadian drained a 10-footer for eagle at the ninth to make the turn at 6-under-par 30.
'I got off to a great start,' admitted Weir, who won last year's Nissan Open to get into this field. 'After I made that eagle on No. 9, I was 6 under at the turn. I felt like I had something special going.'
Weir bogeyed the 10th, but rebounded with a birdie at No. 11. He birdied the 14th, then went on a run that vaulted him into second place. Weir sank a 12-foot birdie putt at 16, holed a 35-foot birdie putt at 17 and closed with his third birdie in a row to trail Singh by only two.
'I wasn't expecting to shoot that low of a round because I haven't been playing,' said Weir. 'I've been off for seven weeks and haven't been playing any golf at all. Practicing quite hard but not playing. Just nice to see some nice putts go in and I hit the ball pretty well today.'
Stuart Appleby, the defending champion, got back into the mix on Friday. He fired a 9-under 64 and is part of a group tied for ninth place. Reigning U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen (67), former PGA Champion David Toms (67) and Vaughn Taylor (69) joined Appleby at 8-under-par 138.
Craig Parry, who was alone in second place after an opening-round 67, struggled to a 1-under 72 and is now tied for 13th place at 7-under-par 139.
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    Watch: Tiger birdies 3 of 4, then goes OB

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 8:30 pm

    Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off in his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

    Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which he walked in.

    A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

    A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

    Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

    Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at the par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

    His momentum was slowed by his first bogey of the day at No. 9, the product of an errant drive and its ensuing complications. As a result, Woods made the turn 2 under on his round, 9 under for the week, and still five off the lead, like when he started the day.

    But Woods wouldn't wait long to make up for his mistake, immediately responding with another flagged iron and another birdie at No. 10.

    He continued his assault on Bay Hill's par-5s at the 12th, getting up and down from the sand for a birdie-4 that moved him to 11 under par, just two off the lead.

    And with this roll at 13 giving him his third birdie in four holes, the charge was officially on, with Woods just one back.

    Just when it looked like Woods was primed for a late run at his 80th PGA Tour victory, Woods stepped to the tee at the par-5 16th, where he had missed wide right three days in a row, and sniped his drive out of bounds into a backyard miles left.

    He made 4 on his second ball for a bogey-6 to drop back to 11 under, three behind.

    (More coming...)

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    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

    Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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    McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

    McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    “I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

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    “I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

    This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

    A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

    McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

    “It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

    As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

    “It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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    Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

    By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

    She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

    Her confidence is high.

    “Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

    Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

    Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

    “One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

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    Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

    “I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

    Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

    “I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

    That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.