Three Tied with One to Go

By Sports NetworkJuly 24, 2004, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Carlos Franco, the overnight leader and 1999 champion, struggled Saturday but managed a 1-under 69 and a share of the lead through 54 holes of the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.
 
Brett Quigley fired a 6-under 64 and Patrick Sheehan posted a 3-under 67 to match Franco at 10-under-par 200.
 
Defending champion Kenny Perry got in the hunt on Saturday at Brown Deer Park Golf Club. He is alone in third place at 9-under-par 201, one ahead of Jason Dufner (68) and Scott Verplank (67).
 
Franco held the lead throughout much of Saturday's third round, but did not play particularly well. He drained a 3-footer for birdie at the sixth, then chipped in from the fringe behind the green at the eighth.
 
Franco three-putted for bogey at the 11th, but had a good look at birdie at 13 after driving into the rough. He missed the 5-footer for birdie, but made a couple of pars at 14 and 15, including a save from the right trees at the par-5 15th.
 
The 39-year-old from Paraguay hit an iron off the tee at 16, but found the left side of the fairway, bringing a tree into play. He wedged his shot over the tree and stopped it 15 feet from the hole, where he converted the birdie try.
 
Franco was 11 under par when he drove way left into trees. He pitched back into the fairway and played his third to 25 feet. Franco made the putt for par, but had no such luck at 18.
 
This drive went right into trees, but he had an opening. Franco tried to run a 2-iron up the fairway, but settled in thick rough short and left of the green. Franco's pitch went only a few yards and his fourth went 25 feet past the hole.
 
Franco missed the par-saving putt and found himself in a tie for the lead.
 
'That's unbelievable,' said Franco, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. 'I forgot about my focus, but still, 10 under is not bad. I need to shoot a low score tomorrow if I want a chance to win.'
 
Franco might have the edge come Sunday thanks to his success here in 1999, but the very fact that he has won on tour gives him an advantage over his fellow co-leaders.
 
Quigley, whose best finish on tour was a tie for second in Greensboro three years ago, tallied three birdies on his front nine. He hit a 7-iron to 10 feet from 198 yards at the par-3 14th which set up his fourth birdie of the round.
 
At the 15th, Quigley drove into the rough and was forced to lay up short of the putting surface. His third rolled 2 feet from the hole, where he tapped in for birdie to go to minus-9.
 
Quigley played a spectacular second to the 18th that left him with 15 feet for eagle. His putt broke toward the hole, but he tapped in for birdie and his second career piece of the 54-hole lead.
 
'Today, I tried to take the weekend like I did the first two rounds, be really patient with myself and just go play golf,' said Quigley, who shared the third-round lead at the 2001 Colonial en route to tying for fifth.
 
Sheehan made his move up the leaderboard with Quigley in the clubhouse and Franco in the final pairing. Sheehan made the turn at even-par 34, but got going with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 12th. He birdied 13 for two in a row and nearly took the outright lead at the par-5 closing hole.
 
Sheehan, 34, nearly pitched in from off the green, but settled for birdie and a share of the lead.
 
'I grew up on courses like this in Rhode Island,' said Sheehan, whose best finish this season was a tie for third at the Heritage. 'They're not very long. Fairways and greens, that's the trick out here.'
 
Scott Hoch, a two-time champion, managed an even-par 70 and is tied for seventh place with Billy Andrade (67), Brian Gay (67), Fred Funk (67), Jay Williamson (68), Danny Briggs (68) and Olin Browne (68). That group is knotted at 7-under-par 203.
 
Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA Champion, was in second place at the start of Saturday's third round. He struggled to a 6-over 76 and is tied for 33rd place at minus-2.
 
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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.'"


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    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.