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.
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

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    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

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    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.