Window Shopping: Golf bargains in Austin will be music to your ears

By Brandon TuckerOctober 10, 2012, 10:01 pm

AUSTIN, Tex. -- It's a busy autumn in Texas' capital city. Not only are the Texas Longhorns in the mix for a Big 12 Championship, but Austin City Limits music festival and the brand new Formula One Grand Prix race make their way to the capital city this fall.

And until the first Tuesday of November, there are plenty of politically-spirited residents campaigning from street corners for local, state and national elections.

The gift - and curse - of Austin's location in the heart of the Texas Triangle is that while San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are all within a three-hour drive, it also means major sports pass up Austin for any franchises and the professional golf tours head elsewhere in Texas for tour stops.

But regardless, there are a lot of reasons to visit Austin, especially in the fall, when the weather is best and the air is just cool enough to make barbecue smell that much better. Golf in Austin at this time of year is also as good as it gets. 

The Austin golf scene's big cahuna is Barton Creek Resort & Spa, home to three courses at the resort (plus a fourth, the Lakeside, out by Lake Travis). The catch is you have to stay at the resort to gain access to golf at this private club, and green fees can cost north of $200. Just east of the airport, Wolfdancer Golf Club, part of the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines, delivers one of Texas' best layouts and a lower green fee ($139-179) - and the public can get on without booking a hotel room (county residents can also get a discounted rate here). 

So while the area has Top 100 resort golf, the best thing about the golf scene here is that you can virtually name your price to play. The most basic options are Butler Park Pitch & Putt ($8 for nine holes), an ultra-casual course near Town Lake and 9-hole, historic Hancock Golf Course just north of U.T. ($12). The best municipal facility is 36-hole Jimmy Clay & Roy Kizer. Each course is walkable and of championship standard between 6,800-7,100 yards. Clay is usually a few bucks less than Kizer. Expect to pay $30-50 with a cart.

Residents are also excited for January, when Morris Williams reopens after nearly a full year under the knife. The course, on the east side of town, is being entirely re-seeded and a new clubhouse is under construction, while several holes are being redesigned as well. 

Beyond the munis, Austin has a wealth of semi-private facilities that welcome public golfers. Grey Rock, Avery Ranch, Star Ranch and Teravista on the outskirts of the city offer member-worthy conditions and facilities. These courses charge between $50-90 depending on the time of day. Northwest of town, Sun City offers three of its own layouts, Cowan Creek, Legacy Hills and White Wing. You can also find some limited public availability online at private courses Onion Creek and River Place.

Just a step below these semi-privates in price and experience is Shadow Glen Golf Club ($40-50), located on the east side of town and offers a unique, 7,000-plus-yard layout without much residential impact.

The Texas Hill Country borders Austin to the west, and this is where some of the more dramatic courses in the area can be found. If you can't play Barton Creek, the next best thing for the public golfer is Falconhead Golf Club ($60-90), which has a gorgeous, Hill Country layout with one of Texas' most remarkable holes. Dabble around the small towns west of Austin like Wimberley or Blanco and you can uncover a little country charm and some lesser-known, very affordable courses like Quicksand at Woodcreek, Highland Lakes or Vaaler Creek that make for good compliments to an afternoon in the car exploring this most unique part of Texas.

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Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.