Wadkins Leading But Firestone Winning

By Sports NetworkJune 8, 2002, 4:00 pm
Senior PGA Championship logoAKRON, Ohio -- Bobby Wadkins didn't come close to hitting a fairway over the difficult final three holes at Firestone Country Club Saturday. Somehow he only played that span of holes at 2-over-par and grabbed the 54-hole lead of the Senior PGA Championship.
He shot a 1-under 69 in the third round and has the lead at 1-under-par 209 as Wadkins is the only player under par in the field. This marks the first time since the tournament shifted to a 72-hole format that only one player was under par after 54 holes.
Roy Vucinich shared low of the day honors with Bob Eastwood Saturday with a 2-under 68. Vucinich is tied for second place with Fuzzy Zoeller and Larry Nelson at even-par 210.
Walter Hall and club professional Jay Overton are tied for fifth at 1-over-par.
Wadkins and Zoeller, playing in the same group, shared the lead at 3-under-par when they reached the par-5 16th tee. Wadkins pushed his tee shot deep into the trees on the right side but found an out and advanced his ball down the fairway. Zoeller was in the fairway off the tee and laid up short for his second shot.
Their third shots proved to be critical. Wadkins left his 25 feet short and right of the hole, safely on the green. Zoeller flew his over the putting surface and left himself with an impossible chip that rolled 20 feet past the stick.
Wadkins blew his putt four feet past but made the improbable par save. Zoeller ran his par putt three feet past the hole and then missed his short bogey save. Zoeller left with a double-bogey-7 while Wadkins headed to 17 with a two-shot lead.
'That hole just plays short,' said Zoeller, referring to 16. 'And I know it. I'm a big dummy. It always plays short and I just nuked it a little bit too hard. Once I knocked it over the green, I was a piece of dead meat hanging from a meat pole.'
Wadkins drove into a fairway bunker at the 17th and nicked the lip of the trap advancing it only 50 yards. His third was in deep rough but he wedged a shot from 94 yards that rolled a foot from the stick. Wadkins tapped in the par save and Zoeller made par as the margin remained the same.
The 18th hole saw another erratic drive from Wadkins, this one landing in the left rough under a tree. He had no other shot but a punch into the fairway but needed to get under the ball enough so that it would not get stuck in the rough. Wadkins did not get under it and left his ball in the left rough.
Wadkins' third shot came from deep rough and also had a tree blocking his path to the flag. He hit it short into the left rough and needed three more strokes to get into the hole. Wadkins took a double bogey to fall to 1-under par for the tournament.
Zoeller hit another approach long at 18, landing in the back bunker. He left the 18th with a bogey and an even-par 70, meaning he would start Sunday's round one shot behind Wadkins.
'I just hit a bad tee shot,' said Wadkins, speaking about 18. 'You can't miss it left and you can't miss it right. I just didn't make a good swing. I was a little short. I just didn't do what I needed to do.'
Despite stumbling home Wadkins said there would be no holdover effect from the poor finish on Sunday.
'It's over now. The hole is finished,' said Wadkins, the younger brother of fellow Senior Tour member Lanny Wadkins. 'I'm damned close enough to win tomorrow, so that's all that counts. You're going to have a bad hole now and then. You just hope it's not the 72nd hole.'
Wadkins has enjoyed success since joining the Senior Tour in the middle of 2001. He has one victory and 11 top-10 finishes in 24 starts.
Wadkins went 1-under-par through the front nine and made his move up the leaderboard on the back side. He drained a 10-foot birdie putt on 11 and played a beautiful approach four feet from the hole at 14 to set up another birdie and tie him for the lead with Zoeller and second-round leader Wayne Levi.
Zoeller played steadier than anyone before his late-round collapse. He birdied five and seven and found a greenside bunker at the 14th. Zoeller blasted out and saw the ball roll a few feet before falling into the cup for a birdie and a share of the lead.
Zoeller, a tour rookie, is in search of his first win on the elder circuit and thinks he has a low round in him Sunday.
'I wish I could hit them all good,' said Zoeller. 'Maybe tomorrow is the day that I'll do that. I came very close today. I drove the ball well, I hit the ball well except for a few screwy shots coming in.'
Levi stumbled home with a pair of double-bogeys and a bogey on the back nine. He shot a 5-over 75 and is tied for seventh with Bob Gilder, John Schroeder, Tradition champion Jim Thorpe and three-time Senior PGA Champion Hale Irwin. The group stands at plus 2.
Full-field scores from the Senior PGA Championship
Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

Getty Images

Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry

Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

"The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).

Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

“Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.