Clark takes the lead but loses shot at 59

By Associated PressAugust 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. ' Tim Clark matched his best score on the PGA TOUR with a 62. He made two eagles in a span of three holes, nearly driving a par 4. And he wound up with a one-shot lead in the Deutsche Bank Championship.
It still was hard to hide his disappointment.
The South African poured in birdies at such an alarming rate Saturday on the TPC Boston that after making his second eagle, from just over 20 feet on the 298-yard fourth hole, he was 10 under through 13 holes.
Two birdies over his final five holes ' one of them a par 5 ' and he would have a 59.
And after a beautiful sand wedge to 3 feet on the par-5 seventh to reach 11 under for his round, he only needed one birdie over the final two holes to become the fourth player to shoot golfs magic number on the PGA TOUR.
For a while there, there certainly was a chance of 59, he said.
His hopes ended with a 3-iron hybrid right of the 222-yard eighth hole and an 8-foot par putt he failed to convert.
That was end of the dream, he said.
But the second round of the PGA TOUR Playoffs effectively is just beginning.
Clark bogeyed his final two holes and still shot a 9-under 62, giving him a one-shot lead over Mike Weir of Canada going into the final two rounds at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
But a dozen players were separated by four shots, including Barclays winner Vijay Singh.
The group does not include British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington. He battled back with a 65, but still missed the cut for the second straight week and now is in jeopardy of missing the TOUR Championship. Masters champion Trevor Immelman made the cut by one shot after a 67, and he might be the only major champion at East Lake.
Weir, who tied the course record Friday with a 61, took a while to warm up until he settled in for a 68. He prefers a stiffer test, but the former Masters champion has won at places like the Bob Hope Classic.
Im going to have to do a little better, Weir said.
Singh, who won The Barclays in a playoff last week to lead the FedExCup standings, picked up three birdies on the final four holes for a 66 and was two shots back at 12-under 130, along with former British Open champion Ben Curtis, who had a 65.
Jim Furyk (65), Sergio Garcia (64) and Ernie Els (65) were in the group at 131 that also included Kevin Streelman, who is turning into this years poster boy of how playing well can pay off big in this points format.
Streelman was No. 102 when the playoffs began, tied for fourth at The Barclays to move up to No. 37, and is continuing a strong run that began after the U.S. Open. The PGA TOUR rookie from Chicago is 78 under par in his last eight tournaments, plus these two rounds.
We all get on streaks where you feel like things are going well, and you try to ride it as long as possible, Streelman said. And I feel like Ive been playing some good golf.
He is assured of making the third round next week in St. Louis for the top 70 in the standings, but that isnt the case for some of those who missed the cut.
That group includes Retief Goosen, Rich Beem, Fred Couples and a couple of Europeans who wasted one last chance to impress Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo as they try to make the European team.
Ian Poulter (74) and Paul Casey (73) both missed the cut, and Poulter lashed out at the media for causing such a distraction that he wasted energy on the wrong things.
Its a joke, Poulter said. Its not the kind of buzz you want to play golf on, trust me. The kind of nonsense thats been in my head for a whole week is not the right kind of pressure.
Its nonsense, he said. Youve read it. Youve wrote it. Some of you might be guilty or not, I dont know. But boy, what one hell of a week.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson nearly joined them, especially after he found the water on No. 16 for a double bogey. But he answered with a 33 on the front nine for a 70 to make the cut on the number at 3-under 139.
And heres a playoff first: Because more than 78 players made the cut (86), there will be a 54-hole cut on Sunday to the top 70, meaning some players, such as Rocco Mediate, better play hard.
Strangely enough, Clark only cared about making the cut when he began the second round.
He put those fears to rest quickly with birdies of 20 feet and 15 feet on his opening two holes, added an 18-foot birdie on the 14th hole, then turned it on starting with the 17th.
His 7-iron settled 2 feet away for birdie, then came an easy up-and-down from behind the par-5 18th green. Clark hit a 9-iron to 2 feet on No. 1, then a 3-iron hybrid over the hazard to 8 feet for eagle on No. 2.
Golfs magic number didnt cross his mind until a big drive to the front edge of the par-4 fourth, and an eagle putt from just over 20 feet that put him 10 under through 13 holes.
Two more birdies over five holes would have allowed him to sign for a 59.
Although I had 59 in my mind once I made that putt, it certainly didnt affect my golf, Clark said. I hit a couple of bad tee shots coming in, but I certainly felt I could hit a few good shots.
The birdie on No. 7 gve him hope, especially with a front left pin on No. 9 that allowed for birdies.
But No. 8 was always going to be tough, he said. And that proved to be true.
Even so, he had the lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship, giving him another chance to earn his first PGA TOUR victory.
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    Next up for Koepka: Buddies and a bachelor party

    By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Coming off a successful title defense at the U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a nap. It appears he won’t be getting one anytime soon.

    Koepka normally wakes up by 6 a.m. without using an alarm, but without much down time since his victory at Shinnecock Hills he slept in until 8:20 a.m. Sunday morning, prior to his 10:40 a.m. tee time. Any impact to his pre-round routine appeared negligible, as Koepka fired a 5-under 65 that included seven birdies over his first 13 holes.

    “I felt like today was kind of the first day I got everything back,” Koepka said. “I was definitely running behind, but it was nice to catch up on some sleep.”

    Koepka became the first U.S. Open winner to play the week after since Justin Rose in 2013, and he finished the Travelers at 9 under with four straight sub-par rounds. While he’s got some free time in the coming days, it won’t exactly be restful.

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    “We’ve got 11 guys that I’m pretty close with, so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them in Boston for a few days and then [getting] back down to West Palm for a night, and then we’re off to my best friend’s bachelor party,” Koepka said. “I was really hoping to get some rest, but I don’t know how much that will happen.”

    Last year, Koepka took a month off following his U.S. Open win at Erin Hills, only touched a club once, and still finished T-6 at The Open at Royal Birkdale. While this will be his final competitive start before Carnoustie, he expects to make a strong run toward a third major title next month in Scotland.

    “I’m shutting it down for a while. I don’t feel like I need to play,” Koepka said. “I feel like my game’s in a good spot, played really well this week. Just some stupid mistakes and mental errors. That’s all it was, lack of focus and low energy. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I did play well though, I putted well, and I’m somewhat pleased.”

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    Spieth ends busy stretch without top-10 finish

    By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:39 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – There were no final-round heroics this time around for Jordan Spieth at the Travelers Championship.

    After taking the title last year with perhaps the most memorable shot of the year, Spieth appeared poised to make a robust defense of his title after an opening-round 63 gave him a share of the lead. But that proved to be as good as it would get, as he played the next three rounds in a combined 3 over to drop outside the top 40 on the final leaderboard.

    It marked the end of a pedestrian run of six events in seven weeks for Spieth, during which his best finish was a tie for 21st at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

    “A lot of cut-line golf, which is somewhat unusual historically for me, fortunately,” Spieth said after closing with a 1-under 69. “Kind of a grind, but I made actually a lot of progress where I needed to within the last few weeks.”

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    Spieth has struggled to get on track on the greens this year, but he has started to turn a corner in recent weeks, specifically during a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, and he picked up more than three shots on the field this week in strokes gained: putting.

    “My putting’s right on point where it needs to be. It’s getting better every single week,” Spieth said. “It’s the best it’s been in a couple years.”

    Unfortunately for Spieth, a slight uptick in putting has coincided with some regression from his normally reliable ball-striking. Of the 74 players who made the cut at TPC River Highlands, he ranked 61st in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

    “I’ve just got to kind of get my alignment back in order on the full swing. It’s tough when you swing and you think you hit a good shot, and you look up and the ball’s, it could be 15 yards right or 15 yards left, and it’s all because of alignment,” Spieth said. “It’s literally the same thing I went through with the putting. I’ve just got to find a way to get it back on track with the full swing.”

    Having concluded a busy stretch, Spieth noted that he now has “a few weeks off.” But still in search of his first quality chance to contend heading into a final round this year, he didn’t rule out the notion of adding a start before defending his title at Carnoustie next month.

    Spieth is not in the field for next week’s Quicken Loans National, but he won the John Deere Classic in both 2013 and 2015, which will be played the week before The Open.

    “As far as leading into The Open, we’ll see,” Spieth said. “Last year I went in after three weeks off and it didn’t hurt me. So I believe I can get the work in whether I’m playing or not, to get the repetitions.”

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    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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    Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

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    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.