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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Na holding out hope for Ryder Cup captain's pick

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:22 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – There are no shortage of goals for players as the PGA Tour reaches the final month of the season, and how players prioritize those accomplishments depends on individual motivations.

For example, coming into the season Kevin Na’s primary goal was to win a Tour event, which he accomplished last month at the Greenbrier. After that, things get interesting.

“I think win, No. 1. Ryder Cup, No. 2. Tour Championship, No. 3,” he said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust.

Na is currently 19th on the FedExCup point list, which gives him a good chance to qualify for the season finale, which comes with an invitation to three of next year’s four majors. The more pressing concern would be this year’s Ryder Cup.


The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos


Na finish 18th on the U.S. Ryder Cup point list and he would likely need to do something extraordinary the next two weeks for captain Jim Furyk to make him one of his picks. Still, making the team that will travel to Paris next month is always on his short list.

“If I can somehow get my name on one of those lists of players that play the Ryder Cup; maybe at the end of my career, instead of saying, you know, you probably say, I had X amount of wins; and I played X amount of Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, I think is pretty cool,” said Na, who has never played on a Ryder or Presidents Cup team.

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Woods tinkering with driver shaft, loft at The Northern Trust

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:11 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Tiger Woods said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust that he spent last week attending his children’s soccer games and tinkering with his driver.

Although he finished runner-up at the PGA Championship, Woods hit just 5 of 14 fairways on Sunday at Bellerive and ranked 74th for the week in fairways hit. It was no surprise that his focus heading into the FedExCup Playoffs was finding more fairways.

“We've been working on it, experimenting with different shafts and different lofts on my driver and 3-wood, as well,” Woods said. “Just trying different things. I've still got two more days and I'll still be monkeying around with a couple things and come game time we'll see what I go with.”


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Woods played an abbreviated practice round on Tuesday at Ridgewood Country Club, which included Nos. 1-8 and Nos. 15-18, with a new driver that features a different shaft from the one he used at the PGA Championship and more loft (9.5 degrees).

He also had a TaylorMade equipment representative walking with him on Tuesday and went to the practice range after his round for more work.

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English confident in playoff run after just sneaking in

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:07 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Harris English didn’t know the exact math, only that he needed to play his best final round of the season last week at the Wyndham Championship.

Although it wasn’t perfect, English’s closing 68 was good enough to tie for 11th place and vault him from 132nd on the season-long point race to 124th and into the playoffs.

“It was definitely a bit of a pressure-packed situation coming down the stretch. Different than, really, winning a golf tournament,” English said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust, the postseason lid-lifter. “It felt like Q-School again back in 2011 where you're in the sixth round and trying to get it done.”


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Despite three-putts on three of his final nine holes, English earned his seventh consecutive trip to the postseason and some much needed confidence after a tough year.

English had just two top-10 finishes this season and spent the majority of the summer mired around the playoff bubble (No. 125).

“Being 124 right now, I need another really good week this week to make it to Boston [the second playoff stop],” he said. “I like where I am. I have a lot of confidence from last week. Struck the ball well and kind of did everything to put the ball in great position. If I can do that again this week, that would be a heck of a week.”

Nick Taylor also played his way into the top 125 last week, finishing tied for eighth place at Sedgefield Country Club to move from No. 129 to No. 119.

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Veterans look to regain status at Web Finals

By Will GrayAugust 21, 2018, 7:19 pm

The last time a FedExCup playoff event was held at Ridgewood Country Club, Hunter Mahan left with the trophy. This time around, he's in Ohio hoping to reinstate his PGA Tour status.

While the postseason kicks off in New Jersey, more than 100 players will tee it up in the first of four Web.com Tour Finals events with an eye on earning one of 25 PGA Tour cards available for the 2018-19 season. This week's event is the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio, with subsequent stops in Beachwood, Ohio, Boise, Idaho and Atlantic Beach, Fla.

Mahan played this past season on his status as a past PGA Tour champion, making 12 cuts in 21 starts. But those results left him at No. 159 in the final FedExCup standing, with only the top 125 securing cards for next season.

That put Mahan among the group of players finishing Nos. 126-200 on the points list who are eligible to play in the Finals, although Nos. 126-150 will still have conditional PGA Tour status next season regardless of Finals performance. They'll be joined over the next four events by Nos. 1-75 on the Web.com Tour money list from the 2018 season, with Nos. 1-25 already guaranteed a promotion for next season.

Other notable PGA Tour veterans in the field for the first Finals event include Stuart Appleby, Lucas Glover, Ben Crane, Sangmoon Bae, Robert Streb and Johnson Wagner. Also in the field are Aaron Baddeley, David Lingmerth, Fabian Gomez, Matt Every and Peter Malnati, all of whom saw multiple-year exemptions for wins in 2015 and 2016 expire at last week's Wyndham Championship.

Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry, both of whom lost their fully-exempt status last week in Greensboro, are not in this week's field. They finished Nos. 144 and 140, respectively, in the FedExCup standings meaning that both players will still have conditional PGA Tour status next season.

PGA Tour non-members who earned at least the equivalent of No. 200 in regular-season points are also invited, a group that includes European Tour member Julian Suri, former NCAA standout Dylan Meyer, recent Monday qualifiers John Oda and Chase Seiffert, and veteran John Peterson, who has stated he will retire from professional golf at age 29 if he doesn't earn back his card.

In addition to the top 25 from the regular season Web.com money list, the top 25 earners from the four-event Finals will be fully exempt next season on the PGA Tour. With each event boasting a $1 million purse with $180,000 to the winner, it means that a top-5 finish at any single event will be enough to clinch a card.

Players who fall short of that mark will still receive status on the Web.com Tour for 2019, although players like Mahan who have won on the PGA Tour before can still afford themselves some starts on the main circuit via past champion status.