Kuchar leading as play suspended on Day 2

By Associated PressMay 25, 2013, 1:26 am

FORT WORTH, Texas – Matt Kuchar was hoping he would be able to finish his second round Friday night at Colonial. He ended up with the lead – and a very early wakeup call.

Kuchar had only three holes to complete in what so far was a bogey-free round, with his ball already on the 16th green. He was at 10 under and described the conditions as ''just perfect right now.''

But Kuchar was among 54 players still on the course when play was suspended at Hogan's Alley because of an impending storm system. The 18 groups that didn't finish are scheduled to resume the second round at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, just more than 12 1/2 hours after coming off the course.

''That's a bit of a bummer,'' said Kuchar, who opened with a 5-under 65. ''It's no fun to wake up at 4:30 to get out here and play three holes.''

At least Kuchar has the lead, by one stroke over Graham DeLaet, the Canadian who shot a 67 in a morning round completed before a 2-hour, 10-minute delay just after noon because of lightning. DeLaet was at 9-under 131.


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Kuchar, No. 13 in the world and the highest-ranked player in the field, took the lead with a 6-foot-birdie putt at 457-yard 14th hole, and recovered from a drive into a fairway bunker on the 15th for a par while clouds darkened and thunder could be heard in the distance.

Soon after Kuchar, the WGC-Accenture Match Play winner in February, teed off at the par-3 16th, and his ball landed about 40 feet from the cup, the horn sounded ending play. It was raining heavily about 30 minutes later.

First-round leader Ryan Palmer, the Colonial member who had an opening 62, was still at 8 under after an up-and-down 12 holes Friday that he managed to play at even par.

Steve Flesch (64), 19-year-old Jordan Spieth (67) from Dallas and Josh Teater (67) finished at 8 under.

Flesch's 64 matched the best completed round of the day and, more importantly, will end his string of 16 missed cuts on the PGA Tour since October 2011.

The 2004 Colonial champion missed the cut in all 12 of his PGA Tour starts last year before right shoulder surgery in August, and is playing only his third tour event this year. The 45-year-old Flesch is playing on a non-exempt major medical extension and has to make $647,510 between this weekend and his next three events to prolong that medical extension.

''I'm very comfortable here and just glad to actually play on the weekend now,'' Flesch said. ''I was actually cruising, then I got that rain delay and I kind of lost all of my rhythm. ... It's like starting your whole round over. My swing didn't feel very well on those last three (holes).''

Flesch was on the course trying to complete his morning round when play was stopped for the first time. He had just made a 33-foot birdie putt at the difficult par-4 fifth hole, his 14th hole of the day. The lefty finished with four pars in a row.

Palmer hit his opening drive way right at No. 1, a par 5 that is generally among Colonial's easiest holes, and started with a par. The former Texas A&M golfer with three PGA Tour wins sank an 11-foot birdie putt at No. 3, but hit his drive at No. 5 out of bounds and had to drop in the rough, leading a double bogey. He followed with a bogey at No. 6 after driving into a fairway bunker.

In his last three holes before the suspension of play, Palmer made an 8-foot birdied at No. 10 and rolled in a 27-footer at No. 12. He never teed off at the par-3 13th.

Kuchar matched DeLaet for the lead after four birdies his first seven holes. Kuchar had a 15-foot eagle chance at No. 1 that came up just short, then hit is approach at No. 2 that stopped inside 3 feet after ricocheting out of the cup.

''The front nine, I really got it going,'' Kuchar said. ''I jarred a shot on 2 that landed in the hole and came back out. ... I really got off to a great start. And then I kept playing some good golf.''

DeLaet was 10 under after his third consecutive birdie, a 6-footer at the 373-yard second hole that was his shortest putt in that stretch. Then he arrived at Colonial's famed ''horrible horseshoe'' as the Nos. 3-5 holes are known because of their layout and the difficulty of the stretch - a 239-yard par 3 sandwiched by the two longest par 4s on the course.

''It definitely got me today,'' said DeLaet, who bogeyed all three holes.

After DeLaet's tee shot at the 470-yard third hole went into a fairway bunker, the Canadian badly missed the green at the par 3 before his approach shot at the 475-yard fifth hole came up short of the green. But DeLaet finished strong, with consecutive birdies to finish after he had come up just short of a 31-foot birdie at No. 7.

''Always nice, and kind of got myself right back in it,'' said DeLaet, whose has never finished better than third on the PGA Tour in 69 events. ''The main thing for me, I feel more comfortable now if I see my name on the leaderboard. ... A few years ago, if I was in 15th going into the weekend, I knew if I could just maintain that position that that would be a 'good check' kind of thing. My mindset now is beyond that. I want to try to win golf tournaments.''

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Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

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Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.