Langer leads seeks back-to-back majors

By Associated PressJuly 31, 2010, 3:17 am

2010 U.S. Senior OpenSAMMAMISH, Wash. – Bernhard Langer waited much of Friday morning for the soupy fog on the Sammamish Plateau to finally lift. He spent the evening waiting for someone to make a charge up the leaderboard.

In between, Langer put himself in position for a second consecutive major championship.

Langer overcame a shaky front nine with an eagle and birdie on the inward half to take the lead at 3 under in the second round of the U.S. Senior Open as many of the other contenders simply tried to stay close entering the weekend.

After a fog delay of more than two hours brought play to a halt just before 8 a.m., Langer shot a 2-under 68 making a number of key putts on the back nine when his round easily could have slipped away.

“You never quite know. It’s the type of golf course that any hole can get to you,” said Langer, coming off a victory last week in the Senior British Open at Carnoustie. “You just got to be careful and hit good shots.”

Langer was careful, not to mention a little fortunate with the putter Friday. He’s the only player with two rounds in the 60s on the par-70 layout at Sahalee Country Club, and will take a two-shot lead into the third round.

If successful this week, Langer would be the first player on the Champions Tour to win consecutive majors since Tom Watson in 2003 in the Senior British Open and Tradition.

But Watson didn’t win those titles in back-to-back weeks with eight time zones in between.

“This is a big enough event to pick yourself up and get motivated and get moving,” Langer said. “I don’t have a lot of problems with that.”

While Langer managed to tame the ball-hawking tree limbs of Sahalee, others were far less successful. Only four players finished the second round under par, with another four sitting at even. First-round leader Bruce Vaughan gave back all of his 66 from Thursday before he made the turn.

Little known J.R. Roth had a 66, the best round of the day. He curled in a 25-foot bender on the 18th to finish at 1 under for the tournament. John Cook (68) and Tommy Armour III (68) also were 1 under.

“I think the way USGA sets up the golf course it really is good for me, because I’m just one of those guys that grinds it out,” said Roth, playing in his first USGA event in 35 years.

Hometown favorite Fred Couples and Watson led the group at even par. Constantly trying to stretch out his always stiff back, Couples sent a wave of roars echoing between the cedars and firs of Sahalee when he dropped in a tricky 35-foot bender on the par-3 ninth that got Couples back to 1 under. A pair of bogeys early in his back nine pushed Couples to 1 over, but a birdie at No. 16 and pars on the last two holes left Couples right where he started.

“I didn’t realize last year that they shot so many under, wherever they played,” Couples said about Fred Funk’s winning score of 20 under last year at Crooked Stick. “But I think that kind of killed us here because there may not be anyone under par when the tournament is over; it’s that hard.”

After a bogey at No. 1 and birdie at No. 2, Watson made 14 straight pars before a bogey at the 17th when his tee shot imbedded in the bank near the water hazard in front of the green. Watson took a drop, but chunked his chip and made bogey.

He rebounded with a birdie on the uphill par-4 18th, the second-toughest hole on the course.

Scott Simpson and Tom Kite were 1 over, four shots back.

They’re all still chasing Langer.

He was 1 over on the front nine after missing a short par putt on the ninth, then jump-started his round with an eagle on the long par 5 11th hole, sinking a 40-foot putt for the first eagle on the hole this week. Langer made long par saving putts on Nos. 12 and 15, then birdied the par-3 17th, knocking a 6 iron to six feet. Langer delicately two-putted on the 18th to finish his round.

“I hit it straight and made some putts. It’s always the same, isn’t it?” Langer said. “Just different venues, different conditions, but it’s always same idea, hit it where you’re looking and try and play smart.”

While scores were generally closer to par than Thursday’s first round when just eight players broke par, low scores were still tough to find. Larry Mize was 3 under on his round with two holes to play before a double bogey on his 17th hole. Roberts seemed poised to join Langer at 3 under before a double bogey at the 15th. Cook also made a pair of bogeys on his final three holes.

“Here there’s no mystery, you just have to put the ball in the fairway and then you have to hit quality iron shots with the right trajectory and distance,” Cook said. “Otherwise, you might as well just pack up and go, because it will eat you alive.”

The second round had barely started when fog brought play to a halt. The low cloud deck engulfed the course and made it nearly impossible to see the end of the driving range. Play was stopped at 7:48 a.m. and the delay of 2 hour, 12 minutes pushed the afternoon starting times back. The final groups were still on the course after 8:30 p.m.

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Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One behind overnight leader Scott Piercy to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under. Cabrera Bello will round out the final tee time with Koepka and Poulter.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.

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Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.

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Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:29 pm

RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.

''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''

Quinn is 64th in the standings.

''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''

Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.

Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy MayfairLee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.