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Armour eyes first Tour win with 5-stroke lead in Miss.

By Associated PressOctober 28, 2017, 10:06 pm

JACKSON, Miss. - Ryan Armour shot a 5-under 67 during a windy, chilly third round Saturday to take a five-stroke lead at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Armour, who led by one after 36 holes, had eight birdies and three bogeys to move to 15-under 201. Chesson Hadley (68) was next at 10 under. Vaughn Taylor (70), Scott Strohmeyer (68), Beau Hossler (69), Ben Silverman (69), and Seamus Power (71) were tied for third another shot back at 207.

Armour, 41, is seeking his first PGA Tour title in his 105th Tour event.

After the first two rounds were played in sunshine and near-80 degree temperatures, it was in the low 50s on Saturday. Biting winds added to the chill factor - and the uncertainty on judging shots.

An Ohio native who now lives in Jupiter, Florida, Armour fought through the conditions to post the day's low round. He overcame bogeys on holes Nos. 5-7 with four straight birdies on the back nine, capped by a 57-foot putt on the most difficult hole on the course, the par-4 16th, to regain control.

While Armour was grinding out pars and birdies, his youngest son, Patrick, was celebrating his ninth birthday at home in Jupiter. Armour credited his family for improving his game.


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Full-field scores from the Sanderson Farms Championship


''The kids have helped me become more disciplined,'' he said. ''Back coming out of college, you thought you could do everything. But now with kids who get up early, wanting to be part of their life, I want to have energy. I get to bed early and up early, and that's discipline that's helping me on the golf course.

''I'm happy where I'm at with my family, my caddie, my instructor. My parents are healthy finally, everything is falling into place.''

He's been at the top of his game all week, tied for the lead after the first round, and then alone at the top following the second round, which was delayed by rain that came late Friday and completed on Saturday morning.

Armour took just 26 putts and made eight birdies Saturday. He followed his bogey string by stuffing an 8-iron to 4 feet for birdie on No. 8, made a 21-footer from the fringe for birdie on No. 10, and then got on a roll - again on Nos. 13-16. 

Asked how he'll handle being in the final group on Sunday, the even-natured Armour said he'll do what he's done each day.

''Kind of stick with what you're doing,'' he said. ''You're not always going to be able to, but my strength is - obviously, I have figured this out, finally - driving it in the fairway, hitting it on the green, and trying to make putts. I don't overpower a golf course.''

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Rose hoping for FedEx/Ryder Cup party on Sunday

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:41 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Justin Rose is hoping for the biggest party of all on Sunday night.

With the quick turnaround with the Ryder Cup, the newly crowned FedExCup champion hasn’t had much time to celebrate his season-long title that he earned Sunday at the Tour Championship.

“The FedExCup, for me, it finished on the plane,” Rose said Wednesday. “I enjoyed the plane ride over, but once I landed in Paris, I was one of 12 guys. I didn’t want it to carry over into this week. This week is about another job to do.”

Rose said his Ryder Cup teammates have resorted to the usual tactics – “Apparently all the drinks are on my tab this week,” he joked – but just as Team USA may have used a boost with Tiger Woods winning, the Europeans can take confidence in having the FedExCup champion on their side.

As for any premature celebrations, Rose said: “I can shelve that for another week or so. I will certainly enjoy it. It’s kind of a season-long title that you really want to enjoy. But I’d like to maybe start that party on Sunday night and here for the right reasons, because of this week.”

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Even as youngest Euro, Rahm has no trouble fitting in

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:30 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Many times Ryder Cup rookies are seen but not heard, blending into the background while the veterans lead.

Jon Rahm is not one of those rookies.

The youngest player on the European Ryder Cup team – by three years – the gregarious 23-year-old has been particularly active in the team’s group chat.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at Jon’s input into it,” said Rory McIlroy, who will likely be paired with Rahm at some point at Le Golf National.

“To see how much he wants this and how he cares about the Ryder Cup and how proud he is to be European and Spanish and to really be a part of this, it’s been really cool to see. I wasn’t quite as vocal in my first Ryder Cup as he’s been, but I wasn’t as good a player my first Ryder Cup as he is.”

Rahm seemed surprised that his healthy amount of input caught McIlroy’s attention – “I’m just being myself,” he said – but he quickly has learned how to fit in with the rest of his teammates.

By poking fun at himself.

After a Tuesday practice round with McIlroy during which he said he was outdriven by about 50 yards, Rahm retired to the physio table for some acupuncture treatment.

“Because of jetlag, I was completely asleep,” Rahm said. “So Rory, he decided it was a perfect time to take a picture of me in my underwear and post it in the chat and say I couldn’t handle him hitting it past me every single drive. Obviously you have to protect yourself and respond to something like that, and I said whatever came to mind.”

With Rahm’s passion and outgoing nature, he’s sure to be one of Europe’s most vocal players, even as the least experienced.

“At first I was a little bit hesitant on what to say,” he said. “I didn’t want to piss anybody off, but once I realized what the tone was going to be, within 30 seconds, OK, here we go, it’s pretty much freewheel to say what you want to anybody, which is obviously a great thing because we all have a lot of fun.”

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Slump over? Sergio had 'very positive week' in Portugal

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 8:14 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Sergio Garcia’s late commitment to the Portugal Masters may have given him the boost he needed for the Ryder Cup.

After failing to qualify for the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs, Garcia told European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn that he’d add the European Tour event in Portugal if he were selected to the team as a wildcard pick.

Garcia made good on his promise, and last week he tied for seventh – his best worldwide finish since March.

“I was very pleased the way I played,” he said. “I think I played very, very nicely throughout the whole week, which was nice. It felt like it was a very positive week.”

There hadn’t been many positive weeks throughout the year for Garcia, who has slipped from 10th to 28th in the world rankings. The 2017 Masters champion missed the cut in all four majors and struggled with inconsistency.

Still, Garcia was selected to the European team, and Bjorn often cited Garcia’s intangibles – his familiarity with foursomes, his presence in the team room – in justifying his pick.

Even Garcia conceded Wednesday that his selection had more to do with experience than form.

“That’s probably, to be totally honest, one of the reasons why the vice captains and the captain decided to have me on the team,” he said, “not only for what I can bring on the golf course, but what I can bring outside.”

Garcia may have found the spark that his game desperately needed. Six of his past eight rounds have been in the 60s, and he has shot a combined 27 under par during those two starts.

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McIlroy: Tiger is just one of 12 at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 26, 2018, 7:59 am

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tiger Woods might be the biggest star in golf, but Rory McIlroy views him as just one of 12 this week at the Ryder Cup.

“We’re not looking at any individuals,” he said Wednesday. “We’re just trying to beat the U.S. team. It’s great what he did on Sunday. But to focus on one player is silly, especially when I might not even see him this week at any point this week because I mightn’t be on the course with him or play against him. …

“We’re looking to beat the U.S. team. We’re not looking to just beat Tiger Woods.”

McIlroy had a front-row seat to Woods’ first victory in more than five years on Sunday. Playing in the final group at the Tour Championship, McIlroy struggled with his driver en route to a final-round 74 and disappointing tie for seventh.

Asked whether there was any element of intimidation at East Lake, McIlroy replied: “That East Lake rough was really tough, yeah. That was the most intimidating part about it. Started hitting a few drives left and right early, and I didn’t actually have quite a good view from the trees on Sunday. I couldn’t really see what was happening too much.”