Chapman hopes to build on success at Regions Tradition

By Associated PressJune 6, 2012, 8:38 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Roger Chapman got to rest up Monday, even giving away his tickets to a Coldplay concert.

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Englishman who pulled off a stunning wire-to-wire win at the Senior PGA Championship that gave him a one-year exemption and thus more opportunities for lazy Mondays now that he doesn't have to spend them trying to qualify for Champions Tour events.

Now, Chapman is aiming to show that wasn't a fluke at the year's second major, the $2.2 million Regions Tradition, starting Thursday at Shoal Creek.

''I think you're under a little bit of pressure,'' he said. ''You want to obviously do well again. It's going to be interesting how I handle it. At Benton Harbor, I was just in this little cocoon for four days. If you could bottle that up and sell it, you would be a wealthy man. Everything felt so good.

''But yeah, there is a little bit more added pressure to perform well and just prove that hopefully it wasn't a one-hit wonder.''

Chapman plays on the European Senior Tour and his biggest highlight previously was a European Tour win in Brazil 12 years ago. He claimed a conditional exemption on the Champions Tour in 2010 and lost his status last year, forcing him to attempt to qualify on Mondays.

Getting out of that position is, he said, ''absolutely brilliant.''

Chapman competed in 11 Champions Tour events last year without a Top 25 finish and a meager (for a pro golfer) $88,169 in winnings. He got $378,000 for winning the Senior PGA in his first event of the year in the U.S., putting him in good position to maintain his exemption through 2013 with a Top 30 finish on the money list.

Chapman beat John Cook by two strokes but had the pressure mostly off after leading by nine through seven holes on the final day at Harbor Shores in Michigan.

It touched off a giddy plane ride back home. Media obligations even caused him to miss his flight from South Bend, Ind., despite a police escort part of the way that he called ''very cool.''

''I couldn't sleep at all,'' Chapman said. ''Kept walking up and down the aisle. I was just fidgety, I was too hyper and I just wanted to see the family. I knew they were going to meet me at the airport with flags and balloons and everything. It's been brilliant.''

He celebrated the next night at a favored pub, The Lounge in Sunningdale, where ''there were balloons and party poppers and lots of beer.''

Chapman, a former English Amateur champion, had been working as a rules official on the European Tour in 2007 and 2008 before becoming eligible to join the over-50 crowd.

He competed in Spain last weekend and arrived in Birmingham Tuesday night. Chapman hadn't seen Shoal Creek except on TV at the PGA Championships and last year's Champions Tour debut.

''It looks like a great atmosphere and everybody's buzzing about the tournament,'' he said. ''And what sort of thrilled me most are the players that have come up to me and said, 'Well played.' That's been pretty cool.''

Michael Allen has known Chapman since playing in Europe for three years during the late 1980s.

''I know he's a really good player who really hasn't played well over here so far this year until (the Senior PGA),'' said Allen, the Schwab Cup points leader. ''He was certainly the best player that week. It's one of the great things about golf, it takes a week or two and you can be in the same game and be a big part of it. It's great.''

Doing it twice in a row against the Champions Tour's elder statesmen would be a ''brilliant'' feat.

Jay Haas is coming off a five-stroke win over Larry Mize at the Principal Charity Classic. Tom Lehman won the last of his three 2011 titles at Shoal Creek. He won with a par on the second playoff hole last year to beat Peter Senior.

Lehman is coming off a tie with Fred Funk for fourth place at the Principal Charity Classic.

''Having had one year of experience here, which was a very good experience, there's no guarantee of success again this year,'' Lehman said. ''But I tend to not get too concerned with being defending champion. Just because I won last year, there's no certainty that I will again this year. With that said, my game is in good shape. I've been playing pretty well the last month and a half or so and I feel pretty good.''

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods has a three-shot lead entering the final round of the Tour Championship and is alongside Rory McIlroy in the final group. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

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Glover trails Straka at Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

With the top 25 earners in the four-event Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the 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.