Hoffman leads crowded Canadian Open through 54

By Associated PressJuly 29, 2017, 11:08 pm

OAKVILLE, Ontario - Charley Hoffman birdied the final hole for a 7-under 65 on Saturday at Glen Abbey to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the RBC Canadian Open.

The 40-year-old Hoffman had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch that ended on No. 15, bogeyed the par-4 17th and rebounded with the two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th.

''When you're playing good, I always say golf is fairly easy,'' Hoffman said. ''It's been a fun run the last month or two months, actually all year, and it's not very stressful, which is good. When you're trying to make cuts, that's when golf is hard. ... Have my family out for the next five weeks. They are off for summer break. It's been fun to hang out and go over to Europe with them and Canada. It's been a good, fun summer vacation.''

Hoffman leads at 17 under. He won the Texas Open last year for his fourth PGA Tour title.

''Anything can happen in the last four or five holes,'' Hoffman said. ''Guys can make eagles, birdies, bogeys. Anything can happen. Obviously, want to get off to a good start on the front nine and play the back nine the way I need to and see how it goes.''

Kevin Chappell was second. He bogeyed the 18th, hitting his third shot into the water.

Robert Garrigus matched the course record with a 62 to join Gary Woodland at 15 under. Garrigus had two eagles and six birdies to tie the Glen Abbey mark set by Leonard Thompson in 1981 and matched by Andy Bean in 1983, Greg Norman in 1986 and John Merrick in 2013.

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''Kind of started off with that eagle on 2,'' Garrigus said. ''Missed the green short, like a 30-footer up the hill, through the rough - through the first cut and rolled on to the green and went in.

''Next hole, I stuffed it in there. I chipped in on the par 3 and stuffed it on the other par 3 and made it and I chipped in on 8, and I'm just thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, what is going on right now. I'm not going to think about anything. I'm just going to keep going.'''

Garrigus finished before Hoffman started play.

''When you look at the board before I even tee off, someone shoots 62, you know the birdies are out there,'' Hoffman said. ''Perfect day here in Toronto to make some birdies and have some fun in front of the fans here.''

Woodland followed his second-round 63 with a 68.

Defending champion Jhonattan Vegas had a 67 to join Sam Saunders (67), Andres Gonzales (66), Tony Finau (66), Ryan Ruffels (68) and Brandon Hagy (69) at 14 under. Saunders is Arnold Palmer's grandson.

Second-round leader Martin Flores had a 72 to drop into a tie for 16th at 12 under.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson also was 12 under after a 68.

''I feel like the game's starting to come back in good form,'' Johnson said. ''Other than a drive here and there, it was a really good day.''

Vijay Singh, at 54 the oldest player in the field, shot a 71 that left him 11 under. He won the 2004 tournament at Glen Abbey, beating Canadian Mike Weir in a playoff.

Matt Kuchar shot a 70, leaving him tied for 41st at 7 under. Coming off a second-place finish in the British Open, he fought dizzy spells in the first round Thursday.

Graham DeLaet and Mackenzie Hughes, the only Canadians to make the cut, dropped out of contention. DeLaet (73) was 7 under, and Hughes (74) was 6 under.

''It's disappointing for sure,'' DeLaet said. ''You want to play well here. Maybe I was trying a little bit too hard. It was still fun. The crowds were awesome and I've still got tomorrow.''

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Tour still focused on security after death of suspected Austin bomber

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 4:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Although the suspect in the wave of Austin-area bombings was killed early Wednesday, the PGA Tour plans to continue heightened security measures at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

According to various news outlets, Mark Anthony Conditt has been identified as the bombings suspect, and he was killed by an explosion inside his car in Round Rock, Texas, which is 19 miles north of Austin Country Club.

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“We do not comment on the specifics of our security measures, but we are continuing to work in close collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Austin to ensure the safety of our players and fans at this week’s tournament,” the Tour said in a statement. “Regardless of the recent developments, our heightened security procedures will remain in place through the remainder of the week.”

Authorities believe Conditt is responsible for the five explosions that killed two people and injured five others in Austin or south-central Texas since March 2.

Play began Wednesday at the Match Play.

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Monahan addresses alcohol, fan behavior at events

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 3:53 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Fan behavior has become a hot-button topic on the PGA Tour in recent weeks, with Rory McIlroy suggesting on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the circuit should “limit alcohol sales on the course.”

The Tour’s policy is to stop selling alcohol an hour before the end of play, which is normally around 5 p.m., and on Wednesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play commissioner Jay Monahan said it’s something the Tour is monitoring.

“When you have people who aren’t behaving properly and they’ve had too much alcohol, then I agree [with McIlroy],” Monahan said. “In those incidences those people who are making it uncomfortable for a player alcohol sales should be cut off.”

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Fan behavior became an issue with some players when Tiger Woods returned to competition at last month’s Genesis Open. During the final round of the Honda Classic Justin Thomas had a fan removed when he yelled for Thomas’ tee shot at the par-4 16th hole to “get in the bunker.”

Monahan declined to address Thomas’ situation at PGA National specifically, but he did seem to suggest that as interest grows and the Tour continues to attract more mainstream sports crowds, vocal fans will continue to be the norm.

“I believe that there was more that went into it that preceded and in a situation like that we’re hopeful our players will reach out to our security staff and they can handle that,” Monahan said. “[But] yelling, ‘get in the bunker,’ that’s part of what our players have to accept. In any sport, you go to an away game, in any other sport, and people aren’t rooting for you. Sometimes out here you’re going to have fans that aren’t rooting for you, but they can’t interfere with what you’re trying to do competitively.”

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Senden playing first event since son's brain tumor

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 3:03 pm

John Senden is back inside the ropes for the first time in nearly a year at this week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Web.com Tour.

Senden took a leave of absence from professional golf in April, when his teenage son, Jacob, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He didn't touch a club for nearly four months as Jacob endured six rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a gauntlet that stretched from April until mid-November.

But Senden told PGATour.com that his son's tumor has shrunk from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a pinky nail, and after a promising MRI in January he decided to plan his comeback.

"I haven't really played in 12 months, but in that time Jacob has really, really hung tough," Senden said. "His whole body was getting slammed with all these treatments, and he was so strong in his whole attitude and his whole body. Just really getting through the whole thing. He was tough."

Senden was granted a family crisis exemption by the Tour, and he'll have 13 starts to earn 310 FedExCup points to retain his playing privileges for the 2018-19 season. He is allowed five Web.com "rehabilitation" starts as part of the exemption, but will reportedly only make one this week before returning to the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage, followed by starts in San Antonio, Charlotte and Dallas.

Senden, 46, has won twice on Tour, most recently the 2014 Valspar Championship.

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Added videos shed light on Reed rules controversy

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 2:39 pm

Additional fan videos shed some light on a rules controversy involving Patrick Reed during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, when Reed suggested that Jordan Spieth would have gotten free relief after he was denied a favorable ruling.

Reed had sailed the green with his approach on the 11th hole Sunday at Bay Hill, coming to rest under a palm tree. As the below thread of videos from fan Tyler Soughers illustrates, Reed wanted a free drop because he believed a nearby television tower was in the way of the shot he planned to play.

The initial rules official didn't "see" the shot Reed planned to attempt given the tight confines, and his decision to deny Reed a free drop was upheld by a second rules official. Reed eventually tried to play the ball, moving it a few feet, before being granted relief from the tower from the ball's new position. He ultimately made double bogey on the hole and tied for seventh.

After finally taking his free drop away from the tower, Reed was heard muttering to nearby fans, "What a crock of s---."

Reed and Spieth will have plenty of time to discuss their favorite rulings Friday, when the two players face off on the final day of round-robin play in Group 4 during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin.