Wales Leads World Cup by Two

By Sports NetworkNovember 19, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Algarve World Cup in PortugalVILAMOURA, Portugal -- Wales broke out of the three-way tie atop the leaderboard in Saturday's best ball with an 11-under 61 to grab first at the World Golf Championships - World Cup. Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge stand at 27-under-par 189 and are two clear of defending champion England and Sweden.
 
Luke Donald
Luke Donald and partner David Howell of England are just two strokes back heading into the final round.
Luke Donald, who won this title with Paul Casey last year, and David Howell combined for a 9-under 63 in the third round. Sweden's pair of Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson birdied five in a row on the back nine to also post a 63. The two countries are knotted at 25-under-par 191.
 
The French tandem of Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin matched Wales for low round of the day honors on Saturday. They paired for an 11-under 61 and are alone in fourth place at minus-22.
 
Saturday offered different weather conditions for the teams. Through the first two rounds, bright skies and low winds greeted the players at the Victoria Clube de Golfe Course at Vilamoura. Saturday saw rain and gloomy skies, but that did not hike scores much in this format.
 
Wales, which began the third round tied for the lead with England and Sweden, birdied four holes in a row from the second to keep pace with the English duo, who also birdied holes 2-5 in the group ahead.
 
England birdied seven and eight, but so too did the Welsh team, leaving the countries knotted at 22 under par. Sweden was only 3 under par in its round through the eight holes and trailed by three.
 
Wales and England continued to trade the lead on the second nine. Donald ran home a 4-footer for birdie at the 12th to pull one ahead, but Dredge holed a 6-foot birdie putt in the next group to tie England.
 
Both England and Wales birdied 14, as both Howell and Dredge drained 10- footers. One hole earlier, Sweden made birdie, but still trailed by three.
 
The short, par-4 15th proved to be a crucial hole. Donald sank a 3-foot birdie putt to move his team to 25 under par. Both Dredge and Dodd reached the fringe short of the green off the tee. Dodd lagged his eagle try to tap-in birdie range, but Dredge curled in his 30-footer for eagle to move one clear of England.
 
Sweden ascended the leaderboard with a birdie at 15, then Stenson knocked it stiff off the tee at 16. He kicked in his birdie putt to get Sweden within two at 24 under par.
 
Both Donald and Howell missed birdie tries inside 4 feet at the par-5 17th that could have tied them with Wales. When Dredge went in the water right of the green at the same hole, Dodd helped his partner. He reached the green in two, then two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie that put his side two clear of England and Sweden, as Fasth rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt at 17.
 
Howell had a decent look at birdie at the last, but missed. Dredge once again found water at 18, but Dodd once again picked him up. Dodd two-putted from 30 feet to preserve their lead, but Fasth had a good chance to cut into it. The Swede hit his approach to 7 feet, but his birdie chance never fell.
 
That meant Wales will have a comfortable lead with one round of foursomes, or alternate shot, to go on Sunday.
 
'Today was obviously a good day for us,' said Dodd, a two-time winner on the European Tour in the 2005 season. 'We played great in patches, which is what you need to do in this format. We're just going to have to play well, whatever the format is.'
 
If Wales can hang on Sunday and hoist the trophy, it will be the second title in the country's history. Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam and David Llewellyn captured the title in 1987.
 
England will try to become the first country to successfully defend its title since Tiger Woods led Mark O'Meara and David Duval to back-to-back wins for the United States in 1999 and 2000.
 
'All in all, it's not disastrous,' said Howell, who admitted his side was bothering him on Saturday. 'Foursomes tomorrow, with the title on the line, is going to make it interesting. We fancy our chances.'
 
Sweden, like Wales, has claimed victory at this event only once - in 1991 when Anders Forsbrand and Per-Ulrik Johansson visited the winner's circle.
 
Denmark shot a 9-under 63 on Saturday and is alone in fifth place at minus-21. The team from the Netherlands posted a 6-under 66 and is tied for sixth place with Argentina, which established a new tournament foursomes record on Friday with a 61. Angel Cabrera, who favored his wrist on Saturday, and Ricardo Gonzalez teamed for a 5-under 67 to join the Netherlands at 20-under-par 196.
 
Germany (64) is in eighth at 19-under-par 197, followed by India (65), which is one stroke further back at minus-18.
 
Related links:
  • Scoring - Algarve World Cup

  • Full Coverage - Algarve World Cup
  • 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.