Lehman among co-leaders at Principal Charity Classic

By Associated PressMay 31, 2013, 11:30 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa – Champions Tour players are used to seeing low numbers in The Principal Charity Classic. The results from the first round on the tournament's new course suggest that those days could be behind them.

Tom Lehman, Duffy Waldorf, Dan Forsman and Scott Hoch shot 3-under 69 on Friday to share the lead at the Wakonda Club. The Iowa event had been held at Glen Oaks Country Club in neighboring West Des Moines in 11 of the last 12 years.

Hale Irwin, who turns 68 on Monday, topped a group of eight at 70. Defending champion Jay Haas opened with a 71, and tour points leader Bernhard Langer had a 72.

Wakonda, which was built 91 years ago, has more sloping fairways, higher rough and arguably trickier greens than Glen Oaks. Even though players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways effect because of soggy conditions, low scores were hard to find.

The first-round leading score was the highest ever in Iowa - and every player had at least one bogey.

''It's kind of a mystery course, isn't it,'' Waldorf said. ''You get out here on this course and you go, 'Anything under par looks good'.''

The conditions led to a bunched leaderboard, which also featured four players tied for the first spot for the first time in tournament history.

Waldorf played the front nine in even par before a strong stretch put him atop the early leaderboard.

Waldorf birdied four of the next five holes - including successive sand wedge approaches that landed within 5 feet - to get to 3 under. Though Waldorf had to scramble for pars on the three holes, he was thrilled with his opening round.

''If you had given me 69 before the round I would have said 'Oh yeah,''' Waldorf said.

Forsman's day was defined by an adventurous birdie on the par-5 13th hole.

He hit his drive in the rough, followed by a 5-iron that whacked a tree. He punched his next shot over the green, leaving him about 70 feet from the hole. But Forsman chipped it over a ridge, down a slope and into the cup.

''It's a huge bonus,'' Forsman said. ''And yet, when it goes in, I said to my caddie, ''That's why we hit all those pitch shots this week.' It was tongue-in-cheek, but I was trying to plug that into the subconscious, so next time I'm in that position I'll have a similar outcome.''

Lehman had four birdies on the back nine, including one on No. 18, to pull even with Waldorf and Forsman. Hoch also birdied the 311-yard, par-4 18th, which ranked as the course's second-easiest hole, to reach 3 under.

Haas entered play with a chance to become just the third Champions Tour player to win the same event four times. After a rough start, he put himself in position for a move on Saturday.

Haas bogeyed three of his first six holes, and a 6 on the par-5 15th put him 1 over, but he closed with a birdie.

Langer needed birdies on holes No. 17 and 18 to get to 72 after a nasty double-bogey on the previous hole.

David Frost, third in the Schwab Cup standings, picked up six bogeys en route to a 5-over 77.

Unknown Doug Garwood, who had played just three events on the Web.com Tour since 2005, stunned the field by pulling into a tie for the lead after 14 holes. But Garwood bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes and had to settle for a 70.

Des Moines avoided rain Friday, but there's a chance the course could see some light showers on Saturday.

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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.