Calc takes lead in Regions Tradition

By Associated PressMay 16, 2014, 10:47 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Mark Calcavecchia's 8-foot closing putt for birdie put him in a better mood and sole possession of the second-round lead in the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek.

Calcavecchia insisted that only the first benefit was meaningful.

He shot his second straight 3-under 69 on Friday to reach 6 under and take a one-stroke lead over Jay Haas at the Champions Tour major. Haas had a 70 after they came in as part of a four-way tie.

Haas missed a 4-footer on No. 18 to give Calcavecchia a shot at the solo lead at the midway point. Calcavecchia said finishing with a birdie improves his mood, lead or no lead.

''It really doesn't matter, other than the fact that I'm happier that I made the putt on the last hole, made the 8-footer for birdie as opposed to missing it,'' said Calcavecchia, who is seeking his first Champions Tour win since the 2012 Montreal Championship. ''Sixty-nine sounds better than 70, it always has.



''It always feels good to birdie the last hole. Leading as opposed to being tied for the lead, that makes no difference whatsoever to me.''

It was the highest score for a 36-hole leader at the Tradition since J.C. Snead was 6 under at Desert Mountain in 1996. The 36-hole leader has only won one of the last nine majors on the 50-and-over tour, with the exception being Mark Wiebe last year in the Senior British Open.

Calcavecchia's main concern is a rib problem he aggravated late in Thursday's round, leading to upper back spasms. He said it began flaring up again after swings starting on No. 14 Friday.

''It's like a delayed reaction, then it kind of goes away,'' he said.

Kenny Perry and Olin Browne were 4 under. Perry had a 68, and Browne shot 71. Browne was part of the first-round logjam along with Chien Soon Lu, who shot a 77.

Haas birdied the first four holes, and Calcavecchia had three birdies on the first six holes.

''I didn't put myself into a lot of bad positions,'' Haas said. ''Being 4 under after four was kind of a dream start and it kind of slowly got away from me. But I like my position. I feel pretty good about my situation going into the weekend.''

He bogeyed No. 5 after landing in the bunker and then three-putted No. 15 for another bogey. Haas followed that with a 35-footer for birdie on No. 16.

Calcavecchia also had a bogey on the 15th hole after having a bad lie about 10 yards right of the green. He chipped it some 15 feet past the hole.

Calcavecchia said he started his round knowing Haas had gotten off to a good start and that Tom Pernice Jr. - who finished with a 70 and was four strokes back - had also opened with four straight birdies. Beyond that, he said he's not a scoreboard watcher.

''There's no point in really looking at this stage,'' Calcavecchia said. ''You're just trying to play the course and make as many birdies as possible and pars. Still a long way to go. If it was a three-rounder like most of our regular tournaments, it would be a little different story maybe. But we're only halfway done.''

Haas takes a different approach.

''I look at scoreboards all the time,'' he said. ''I like seeing my name up there and seeing what's going on and all that. It's such a long race and there's so much golf left to be played that I'm not too concerned about one shot here and there. You hate to throw any shots away obviously, but I'm still feeling pretty good about where I am.''

Perry had three birdies on the final nine holes and was already looking forward to Round 3.

''Saturday's the rocking chair day as I call it, and I've got to make my move on that day,'' said Perry, who also had two bogeys. ''I need to shoot another one of these or a little better to get back into it for Sunday.''

Defending champion David Frost was five strokes back and two-time winner Tom Lehman was six away from the lead. Both had 71s. Fred Couples was 7 over after a 77.

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Finau lifts team to opening 62 on improving ankle

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 6:24 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau continues to thrive on his injured ankle.

Playing for the first time since the Masters, where he tied for 10th despite a high-ankle sprain, Finau matched partner Daniel Summerhays with six birdies to shoot a combined 10-under 62 in fourballs Thursday at the Zurich Classic.

Finau still isn’t 100 percent – he said he's closer to 70 percent – even after two weeks of rest and physical therapy. During that time he worked with doctors at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center and also the training staff with the Utah Jazz. Before the Zurich, he had played only nine holes.


Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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“Sometimes simplicity is huge in this game,” he said. “There is not a lot of thoughts in my swing in the first place, so there can’t be that many thoughts when you don’t practice. It served me well today.”

Partnering with Summerhays, his fellow Utah resident and a friend for more than a decade, they combined to make 12 birdies during an opening round that left them only two shots back of the early lead.

Asked afterward how his ankle felt, Finau said: “Feeling a lot better after that 62. A great remedy for something hurting is some good golf.”  

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Sources: Woods returning to Wells Fargo

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 6:07 pm

Tiger Woods is expected to return to competition at next week's Wells Fargo Championship, according to multiple Golf Channel sources. The news of Woods' participation was first reported Thursday on "Golf Central."

Woods has not played since a T-32 finish at the Masters. A winner at Quail Hollow in 2007, Woods has not made the cut there since a fourth-place showing in 2009 and has not played Wells Fargo since 2012. He missed last year's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow because of injury.

Woods has until 5 p.m. ET Friday to officially commit to next week's field. When reached for comment by GolfChannel.com, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, explained that Woods' plans were not yet finalized.

"We don't know right now (if Woods will play)," Steinberg said. "We'll know later this afternoon. We're working on a couple things."

A trip to Charlotte would be another sign that the 42-year-old is ready to return to a customary schedule, as next week's event would be followed by Woods' expected return to The Players for the first time since 2015. Woods has already committed to the U.S. Open, which will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major victory.

After starting the year ranked No. 656 in the world, Woods is up to No. 91 in the latest world rankings. He recorded three straight top-12 finishes during the Florida swing, including a runner-up finish alongside Patrick Reed at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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USGA receives more than 9,000 U.S. Open entries

By Will GrayApril 26, 2018, 4:31 pm

The field of contestants for golf's most democratic major has been set.

The USGA announced that it received 9,049 entries for this year's U.S. Open, with the deadline for entry expiring at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday. That total includes 515 applications on the final day, 115 in the final hour and a buzzer-beater from Drew Caudill, a 32-year-old pro from Mount Vernon, Ohio, who beat the entry deadline by only 23 seconds.

This marks the seventh straight year that the USGA has received more than 9,000 entries, but the total marks the second straight year of a decline in applications. At least 9,860 players entered each year from 2013-16, topping out in 2014 when 10,127 applications were received. But last year there were 9,485 entries for Erin Hills, and this year's return to Shinnecock yielded only one more application than the USGA got in 2005.

For the vast majority of entrants, the next step is a spot in 18-hole local qualifying which begins April 30 and runs through May 17. The fortunate few advance from there to 36-hole sectional qualifiers, played May 21 in Japan and June 4 across 11 other sites in the U.S. and England.

A total of 54 players are already exempt into the 156-man field, including 12 former winners. The only remaining ways to earn an exemption from qualifying are to win either The Players or BMW PGA Championship next month, or be ranked inside the top 60 in the Official World Golf Rankings on either May 21 or June 11.

The U.S. Open will be played June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., which is hosting the event for the first time since 2004.

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Report: Houston Open may move to Memorial Park in '19

By Will GrayApril 26, 2018, 3:48 pm

Still without a permanent spot on the PGA Tour schedule, the Houston Open appears to be on the move.

According to a report from the Houston Business Journal, there is a proposal in place to shift the tournament downtown in 2019, returning to Memorial Park Golf Course which previously hosted the event from 1951-1963.

While formal relocation plans have not been announced, the tournament officially reached the end of an era this week when the Golf Club of Houston, which has hosted the event since 2003, informed the Houston Golf Association that it would no longer serve as tournament host moving forward.

"We received notice this week from the Golf Club of Houston regarding the club's decision to no longer host a PGA Tour event," read an HGA statement obtained by GolfChannel.com. "Currently, the HGA's focus is on securing a long-term title sponsor. The Golf Club of Houston has been a great venue for the Houston Open dating back to 2003 and we look forward to maintaining a great relationship with the club."

Such a move would be a win for Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, who has expressed an interest in returning the tournament within city limits. The Golf Club of Houston is located in Humble, a suburb 20 miles northeast of downtown.

"This move would place the tournament on center stage in downtown Houston, creating a central location for the city to rally around," read marketing materials cited in the Business Journal report. "Houston Proud Partners of the Houston Open would have the opportunity to collaborate with the Houston Golf Association on this historic move and make a lasting statement that would be seen for generations."

The Houston Open's lineage dates back to 1946, but its future remains in question. Shell Oil ended its 26-year sponsorship of the event in 2017, and this year it was played without a title sponsor and financed in part by the HGA.

The tournament has also carved out a niche with its pre-Masters slot on the schedule, where it has been played every year but once since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007. But next year that coveted position will go to the Valero Texas Open, leaving Houston's place on a revamped 2019 schedule in question.

The Houston Open remains one of only two tournaments on the current Tour calendar without a title sponsor. Earlier this week Charles Schwab signed a four-year deal to sponsor the Fort Worth Invitational beginning in 2019, and a report this week indicates the other unsponsored event, The National, may be on the verge of moving from the Washington, D.C. area to Detroit.