Kim leads Garcia two back at Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA ' Anthony Kim and Sergio Garcia did enough Friday at the Tour Championship to set up a Ryder Cup rematch.
 
Kim had to settle for a 1-under 69 on Friday, making bogey from the bunker on the final hole, to take a two-shot lead over Sergio Garcia and put them in the final pairing just six days after their leadoff singles match at the Ryder Cup.
 
Kim won that match, 5 and 4, and the Americans followed him to victory at Valhalla.
 
The differences are obvious.
 
This is not match play. At stake is $1.26 million, not a 17-inch gold trophy to share. There are 36 holes remaining. And its not unusual for top players to be paired together on the PGA Tour.
 
Even so, it brought some much-needed energy to this event because they are playing so shortly after the Ryder Cup.
 
We had one play of golf ' really, 14 holes of golf, Kim said, trying to downplay the pairing and instead drawing laughter.
 
Kim was at 7-under 133, and while he will have a 2-up lead of sorts on Saturday at East Lake, the momentum might lie with Garcia. He was 4 over through his first six holes of the tournament, rallied for a 70, then followed that with nearly flawless play for a 65.
 
Not to be forgotten was Kims tag-team partner from the Ryder Cup ' Phil Mickelson, who ran off five birdies over the last seven holes for a 68 that put him three shots behind.
 
And theres more at stake than just a big check and an elite title for the winner. Mickelson, Garcia and Kim are the top contenders to win the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average on the PGA Tour.
 
We still have a lot of golf left this weekend that will probably decide it, Mickelson said.
 
They were among six players in the 30-man field who managed to break par over two days, joined by Camilo Villegas (66) at 2-under 138, and K.J. Choi (70) and Mike Weir (69) at 139.
 
Even without their recent Ryder Cup history, Kim and Garcia are two of golfs most dynamic young players. Both can energize the crowd with their personalities, and they are loaded with talent.
 
Both consider the Ryder Cup history.
 
Its Saturday of the Tour Championship, Garcia said. Its a totally different event. Tomorrow is an important day to give yourself a chance on Sunday. Youre not going to win the tournament tomorrow unless you shoot 52.
 
Kim, whose opening 64 was eight shots better than the field average, looked as though he might go even lower when he stuffed his approach inside 3 feet on the first hole and hit two more approaches inside 6 feet through five holes.
 
But he made enough mistakes ' a pair of three-putt bogeys on the front nine ' to keep enough players in range.
 
I feel pretty positive about shooting under par on this golf course and not feeling like I got a lot out of my game, he said.
 
Ernie Els played in the final group with Kim and was trying to stay with him until pulling his tee shot into the water on the 17th and taking double bogey, sending him to a 71 to finish eight shots out of the lead.
 
Hes a good kid, a really good kid, Els said of the 23-year-old Kim. He has a good attitude and hes got a lot of game. We need a good, younger player like him.
 
One difference Friday was using his caddie, Eric Larson, to line up his tee shots. Kim felt he was missing his mark by some 15 yards, and this freed him up to blast away.
 
It worked out great, Kim said. I feel like Im on the LPGA Tour, but it doesnt matter. Im playing good golf and making good swings.
 
Garcia didnt play all that badly Sunday in his loss to Kim except for a few bad drives on the front nine. He made only bogey at East Lake, chipping to firmly on the 18th hole and missing his par putt from about 10 feet.
 
The 28-year-old Spaniard fired off three straight birdies starting with a 9-iron into about 10 feet on the fifth, concluding his run with a 25-foot birdie on the seventh with perfect pace that brought a wry smile. Garcia also hit a delicate bunker shot for a short birdie on the par-5 ninth, and hammered a wedge to 2 feet of a tough pin on the 17th.
 
If you miss the fairway, youre pretty much done, Garcia said. Even from the fairway, its still tough because the greens are so firm and so fast. But if you played well, you had a chance of getting on a roll, like I did.
 
Lurking was Mickelson, until his string of birdies at the end of the round.
 
Lefty won at East Lake in 2000, and he is starting to knock in enough putts to gain some confidence going into the weekend. Even so, he was intrigued by the two players ahead of him.
 
Mickelson and Kim were partners for three matches last week, although they never played against Garcia. Kim did that on his own in the opening match.
 
I like the way it worked out last Sunday, Mickelson said. That was nice. Ive got to go out and try to track both of those guys down. Thats not going to be easy.
 
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    Like father like son: Bring Your Child to Work Day

    By Jay CoffinApril 26, 2018, 7:51 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Today is Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at Golf Channel, where everything is fun and games until your child promptly says something that embarrasses you beyond belief. It’s only happened six times today. So far.

    My daughter, 12, is in middle school and feels like she’s too big for this sort of shindig. But my son Brady, 11, was all in. The deal was that he could spend the day with me, I’d take him to McDonald’s for lunch, but he had to write a golf story of some sort for GolfChannel.com.

    Here is his unedited work, in all its glory:

    By BRADY COFFIN

    My name is Brady Coffin and I play golf. I started at the age of 4 years old. My two favorite golfers are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. They are really good golfers and every time I watch them they always give me tips.

    My dad Jay Coffin is the best editor of Golf Channel and always gave me tips when I first put the golf club in my hand. I had my very first par in Hilton Head when I was 7 years old. I am on the Drive, Chip and Putt commercial and I was in a movie where I played a young Ben Hogan. My favorite golf course is Royal Blue in the Bahamas.

    I have won many golf tournaments and I am going to play in another tournament next month. I have made a couple of birdies. I am going to play in the PGA Junior League this summer.

    At the Golf Channel I get to meet new people and play many games. One of the amazing people I met was Mr. Damon Hack. He is on the Morning Drive show and was very nice to me. Damon has been playing golf for 25 years and his favorite golfer growing up was Tiger Woods.

    He loves working at Golf Channel.

    “It gives me the opportunity to talk and write about the sport that I love. It’s a sport that I can play with my boys. It’s a sport that I can watch on television. It’s a sport that teaches great life lessons. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Damon said to me.

    (P.S. I will be better than Jordan Spieth.)

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    Not the 'prettiest' 65, but Duval, Furyk will take it

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 7:44 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Wearing a polo instead of a dress shirt, working with a caddie and not a producer, David Duval exited the scoring tent, walked toward the group of reporters waiting for him after their 65 and grumbled to teammate Jim Furyk, “The damn media.”

    Duval was joking – we think – since he now is one of us on the dark side, a successful and respected TV analyst, after an injury-shortened career in which he battled Tiger Woods, rose to world No. 1, won a major and then experienced such a miserable slump that it drove him into an entirely new line of work.

    Now 46, Duval doesn’t play much anymore, only 11 events in the past four years. His last made cut was in July 2015. Earlier this year, he teed it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but only because he and his wife, Susie, enjoy the vibe there. Competitively, he knew he didn’t stand a chance. He had moved back to Colorado, worked two out of the three weeks, and then couldn’t practice the other week because the weather didn’t cooperate. Not surprisingly, he shot three consecutive rounds of 76 or worse.

    And that could have been the extent of his season (save for his annual appearance at The Open), but he was drawn to the idea of the team format at the Zurich, to the idea of playing with Jim Furyk, with whom he’s been friends for the past 32 years, dating to their days in junior golf. So Duval reached out, asking the U.S. Ryder Cup captain if he wanted to team up, for old times’ sake.

    “This was about being with a friend, reuniting, having our wives together for a few days,” said Duval, who estimated that he’s played more than 100 practice rounds with Furyk over the years. “Expectation-wise, I don’t know what they are for me. I don’t get to participate out here and compete.”


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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    But Duval took this start seriously. He almost never travels with his clubs, but he brought them to the Masters, working with his old coach, Puggy Blackmon, between TV appearances and bouncing between Augusta Country Club and Augusta University’s practice facility.

    Without any on-camera work since then, he’s spent the past two weeks grinding, even bringing Blackmon to New Orleans for a range session, just like most of the other pros in the field.

    “It’s like a normal preparation,” he said. “Maybe not as much as it would be for a typical player, but a lot more than I’ve been able to do in the past.”

    Duval has no intentions of diving back into competitive golf full-time, but working as an analyst has given him a new perspective on the game he loves.

    “When you don’t play a lot and you don’t have that opportunity, you feel like you have to play perfectly,” he said. “Being on the other side of the desk, you see how many crappy golf shots really, truly get hit, and it’s like, look, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to hit more good ones than bad ones and go from there.”

    That also sums up his and Furyk’s opening round here at the Zurich.

    Furyk joked before the event that they’re the rustiest team in the field, but playing best ball, they remained steady in a driving rainstorm, then ran off seven birdies to shoot 65 and sit in the top 10 when they finished their round.

    “It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest,” Duval said, “but it was solid. It wasn’t like we had 36 looks at birdie.”

    “We ham-and-egged it really good today,” Furyk added. “We got pretty much one of the best scores we could have out of the round.”

    The second round could be a different story, of course, with alternate shot. It’s a more nerve-wracking format – especially for two aging warriors without many competitive reps this year – and they figure to find some unusual parts of TPC Louisiana.

    But that’s a worry for Friday, because Duval was in the mood to savor his four birdies, his team score of 65 and his ideal start to a work week with his longtime friend.

    “I think it was good,” he said, breaking into a wry smile, “especially for me.”

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    Finau lifts team to opening 62 on improving ankle

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 6:24 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau continues to thrive on his injured ankle.

    Playing for the first time since the Masters, where he tied for 10th despite a high-ankle sprain, Finau matched partner Daniel Summerhays with six birdies to shoot a combined 10-under 62 in fourballs Thursday at the Zurich Classic.

    Finau still isn’t 100 percent – he said he's closer to 70 percent – even after two weeks of rest and physical therapy. During that time he worked with doctors at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center and also the training staff with the Utah Jazz. Before the Zurich, he had played only nine holes.


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    “Sometimes simplicity is huge in this game,” he said. “There is not a lot of thoughts in my swing in the first place, so there can’t be that many thoughts when you don’t practice. It served me well today.”

    Partnering with Summerhays, his fellow Utah resident and a friend for more than a decade, they combined to make 12 birdies during an opening round that left them only two shots back of the early lead.

    Asked afterward how his ankle felt, Finau said: “Feeling a lot better after that 62. A great remedy for something hurting is some good golf.”  

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    Woods commits to Wells Fargo and The Players

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 6:07 pm

    Tiger Woods will tee it up each of the next two weeks, having officially committed to both the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    Woods' commitment to next week's event in Charlotte was confirmed by multiple Golf Channel sources and first reported during Thursday's "Golf Central."

    The 42-year-old later took to Twitter to formally announce that he is ready for another back-to-back stretch:

    Woods has not played since a T-32 finish earlier this month at the Masters. A winner at Quail Hollow in 2007, Woods has not made the cut there since a fourth-place showing in 2009 and has not played Wells Fargo since 2012. He missed last year's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow because of injury.

    Woods' return to The Players will mark his first trip to TPC Sawgrass since 2015. He won on the Stadium Course in both 2001 and 2013. This will be Woods' second back-to-back of the season, having missed the cut at the Genesis Open before finishing 12th the following week at the Honda Classic.

    After starting the year ranked No. 656 in the world, Woods is up to No. 91 in the latest world rankings. He recorded three straight top-12 finishes during the Florida swing, including a runner-up finish alongside Patrick Reed at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.