Couples leads Langer by one in NC

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2010, 12:45 am

Champions Tour

CONOVER, N.C. – Fred Couples shot a 6-under 66 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer into the final round of the Ensure Classic.

Couples was at 12-under 132 after the second round of the Champions Tour event at the Rock Barn Golf and Spa.

Couples, gunning for his fourth win of the season but first since winning in the Dominican Republic on March 28, had nine birdies in overcoming a bogey and double-bogey on the par-4 13th. His lead over Langer could have been greater, but he missed a 20-foot putt for eagle by 18 inches on No. 18.

“I played pretty well … and I would never turn back shooting 6-under and 6-under,” Couples said. “I hit a lot of very good shots and one bad one. I made a lot of birdies, which I’m going to have to do (Sunday).

“I can’t see Bernhard or Nick Price making too many bogeys, but if I can make seven or eight birdies, I’ll be pretty tough tomorrow.”

Langer, who had a 67, is pursuing his sixth win this season on the 50-and-over circuit and leads Couples by 672 points in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.

The German got off to a rough start Saturday, bogeying No. 1. But he fought back with seven birdies and only one bogey the rest of the way to remain in the lead group for Sunday’s final round.

“I had those two bogeys, which was the only thing I didn’t like,” Langer said. “I had a really bad break to start, but I got it right back. … It was a fairly solid round. I’m trying to stay in contention and win tournaments. Obviously, I can’t control what the others do, but I can play the best I can.”

Morris Hatalsky (65) and Nick Price (67) were another stroke back at 134.

“I’ve really hit a lot of greens the last two days,” said Price, who matched his first-round score with five birdies Saturday. “The conditions made it a little easier for us.”

A day after winds gusted to 25 mph and fairways were showing the affects of five days of rain, Saturday’s round was played in light winds, with the course firming up after two days of sunshine.

“It was a day for scoring,” said Hatalsky, who had the day’s lowest round in a bid to win his first Champions Tour event in more than 4 1/2 years, a span of 109 tournaments. “It was nice to put together a full round of golf. My short game has been very disappointing this year, but not this week.”

Tommy Armour III (67) and Dan Forsman (68) were tied for fifth at 135, with 16 other golfers within six strokes of Couples heading into Sunday’s final round.

Among them was first-round leader Peter Senior, who faltered from his 65 Friday to shoot an even-par 72. He was at 138 with eight other players.

Two-time and defending tournament champion Jay Haas also struggled, finishing with a 73 after shooting a 68 Friday. He was at 141 with four other players.

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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: