Couples back in northwest after Senior Open miss

By Associated PressAugust 27, 2010, 2:52 am

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. – Fred Couples was oh so close to winning a major championship in his own backyard.

The Seattle native was tied for a share of the lead with Germany’s Bernhard Langer after three rounds of the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., just a month ago. Couples took the lead after a birdie to open the final round and seemed poised for something special in front of a raucous hometown crowd.

That’s when Couples uncharacteristically took his foot off the gas pedal.

Couples laid up out of the first cut of rough on the par-5 second hole. He then chunked a wedge into the greenside pond from 65 yards out. After dropping, Couples flew his fifth shot over the green and ended up with a triple bogey 8 to derail his chances.

Langer took advantage with a 3-under 67 to win his second major title is as many weeks.

“The eight on the second hole wasn’t much fun and then it took me a while to get over it,” Couples said. “Then I played pretty well the rest of the way and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

Couples returns to the greater Seattle area to play in the Boeing Classic for the first time since joining the Champions Tour. Couples is once again paired with Langer and Nick Price for the opening round on Friday.

“Well, I’m excited about it,” Couples said. “I love to play with Nick Price and Bernhard. They’re two of the best players out here.”

“The pairing tomorrow is unique. I get Bernhard again, but it’s another event. That was, just like he would tell you, it’s in the past. I think we’ll all have a good time.”

The TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge is drastically different then the tree lined test that challenged the field for the Senior Open. Snoqualmie Ridge has many wide open driving holes and 300 feet of elevation change over the 7,264-yard layout.

“Sahalee was more of a very narrow precision type course,” Langer said. “This one probably suits the longer hitters more.”

“There is definitely more room off the tee here and it benefits those guys that can hit it an extra 30 yards off the tee.”

After a sunny 85-degree day on Wednesday, the players had to deal with cool, damp conditions for the second day of the Pro-Am on Thursday. Forecasts for the weekend are mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. The weather is expected to clear up more as the week progresses.

“The course is in immaculate shape, but yesterday the greens were rock hard and I was hitting shorter clubs,” Couples said. “Today, in this weather, I was hitting a lot longer clubs and I thought it was pretty difficult.”

Even with the stereotypical Seattle cloud cover hanging over the golf course, Couples is just excited to be playing more golf in the northwest.

“I have been waiting to turn 50 to play in the Boeing and then to get the Senior Open was incredible,” Couples said.

“I always get to play up here in a tournament now on the Champions Tour and I love that. I love to be up here in Seattle.”

Defending champion Loren Roberts is paired with Tom Kite and Fred Funk in the first round Friday. Roberts posted the lowest three-day total in the tournament’s five-year history of the tournament, an 18-under par total. Roberts held on for a one shot victory over Mark O’Meara to earn his first Boeing Classic title.

Kite is a two-time winner of the Boeing Classic and Funk is coming off a major championship win last week at the Jeld-Wen Tradition in Sunriver, Ore.

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Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One behind overnight leader Scott Piercy to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.

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Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.