Funk on cusp of first senior major

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Jeld-Wen TraditionSUNRIVER, Ore. ' For the first time in his career, Fred Funk will enter the final round of a major tournament with the lead.
 
Ill be a little nervous or have some anxiety tomorrow, said the 52-year-old Funk, who led after two rounds at the U.S. Senior Open two weeks ago. But I think if you dont have that, there is something wrong with you.
 
Funk moved into position for his first major victory on the Champions Tour, shooting a bogey-free 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Jay Haas after the third round of the JELD-WEN Tradition.
 
Funk, the winner of the season-opening MasterCard Championship in Hawaii, had a 16-under 200 total on the Crosswater Club course ' one stroke off the 54-hole record in the tournament.
 
Haas, the Senior PGA Championship winner in May, shot a 66. Tim Simpson (69) was 13 under, and Tom Watson (68), Joe Ozaki (64), Scott Hoch (66) and Mike Goodes (69) were another stroke back. Scott Simpson (67) and Bernhard Langer (72) were 10 under. Langer and Tim Simpson were tied for the second-round lead.
 
Funk, an eight-time champion on the PGA TOUR and three-time winner on the 50-and-over tour, had four birdies in a front-nine 32 and came home in 33 with birdies on three of the last four holes.
 
With the greens the way they are, I figured I had to shoot 67 or better to have any chance of being near the leaders, Funk said.
 
Funk, planning to play the PGA TOUR full-time next year, sought treatment for a sore neck from a chiropractor after his rounds Thursday and Friday. One of the most accurate drivers on tour, Funk hit every fairway in regulation Saturday.
 
Temperatures topped 100 degrees for the second straight day but did little to dry out the soft greens that have yielded low scores at the course. The third-round scoring average of 70.746 was the lowest of the tournament.
 
Haas, who followed his Senior PGA victory with a win in the Principal Charity Classic, missed much of the summer schedule because of a leg injury. He returned to tie for ninth earlier this month at the U.S. Senior Open and played in the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.
 
Haas grabbed sole possession of the lead with a birdie at No. 11, hitting a 6-iron to 18 feet and rolling in the putt. He kept the lead until 18, a hole that Funk birdied. After getting too far under his tee shot, Haas left his approach short of the green, and made his first bogey of the tournament.
 
To go through 72 holes without bogeying would have been pretty wishful thinking, Haas said.
 

DIVOTS
Haas is trying to become the first player since Watson in 2003 to win two majors in a season. Play will begin at 7:15 a.m. Sunday, two hours early because of the chance of thunderstorms. Tournament host Peter Jacobsen, who had knee replacement surgery this year and is sitting out the Tradition with a sore hip, plans to play a full schedule in 2009. Thats while I am having all these surgeries this year, said Jacobsen, who has been plagued with injuries since turning 50 in 2004. Massy Kuramoto hasnt three-putted in his last 290 holes of tournament golf.
 
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    Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:31 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.

    Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.

    Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.

    “It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”

    The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.


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    “I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.

    A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.

    “I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.

    He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.

    “It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”

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    Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:18 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

    Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.

    “It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”


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    The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.

    He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.

    Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    “I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”

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    Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 10:45 pm

    Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

    Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.

    With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.

    All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.

    “This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”


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    Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.

    “It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.

    Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.

    “Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”

    Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

    “My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”

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    Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 10:12 pm

    We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.

    Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.

    If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.

    It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.

    Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.