Aguilar takes title at Laguna with back-side 28

By Associated PressMay 4, 2014, 1:30 pm

SINGAPORE – Felipe Aguilar surged into the lead at The Championship at Laguna National with a stunning back-nine 28 - capped by a birdie on the par-3 17th and an eagle on the par-4 18th - and then had to wait to see if anyone could catch him.

Co-overnight leader Anders Hansen was the last golfer to have a chance, but he failed to birdie his final two holes to force a playoff, giving Aguilar his first European Tour title in six years.

The Chilean shot a final round 10-under 62 to finish at 22-under 266, one stroke ahead of Hansen and American David Lipsky in joint-second.

''Yesterday I thought I had no chance,'' Aguilar said. ''Today I said to my caddie on the 17th after I made a birdie, 'If we can make a birdie on 18 we can put some pressure on the leader,' and he said 'What about making a two?' I said to him the way I had been hitting the ball I could well do two and I did. It's very, very special.''

Hansen, who recently returned to the tour after a six-month layoff due to wrist surgery, had led by three shots after a birdie on the 12th hole but could not match Aguilar's impressive finish. He bogeyed the 16th and then shot even par on the final two.

''What can you say? I heard (Aguilar) finished two, two. It's just one of those days,'' Hansen said. ''It's just really, really disappointing.''

Lipsky also tried to keep pace with three birdies on his back nine, but he fell just short of capturing his first European Tour title.

''I was still trying to give it a run even on the last hole,'' he said. ''I was still trying to do everything I can to win.''

Aguilar started the day four shots back in equal-seventh, but started to climb into contention with four straight birdies after the turn on holes 10-13. After birdieing the par-5 15th, he then sank a 10-footer for another birdie on the 17th and holed his approach shot for eagle on the 18th.

''I got a bit lucky,'' he said. ''I hit one of my best shots on 17 and then again on 18.''

The Chilean, who's been dealing with a sore wrist he injured while mountain biking, won for just the second time on the European Tour, his previous title coming in Indonesia in 2008.

''It's been a bit of a drought for six years. I've lost a couple of times in play-offs and had a couple of top-threes and top-fives, but never was able to get the round going on the last day, so it is nice to finally do it,'' he said.

Hansen was aiming for his first title since the Joburg Open in 2009. He was playing in just his fourth event since surgery last year and was coming off a joint-fifth finish last week at the China Open.

''Obviously, the last two weeks have been really, really good,'' he said. ''I've hit the ball really well and putted nicely so there is not much to say. I can't really blame myself for this.''

India's Rahil Gangjee birdied his final five holes to finish in fourth place at 19 under, a stroke ahead of England's Chris Wood (67) in sole fifth.

Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand couldn't keep up the form that saw him lead after the first two rounds and share the lead with Hansen after the third. He slumped to a 74 on Sunday after two bogeys and a double bogey, falling to joint-11th place.

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Paisley (61) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.


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''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.


Projected FedExCup standings

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“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.


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“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

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Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.


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“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.