McDowell recovers poise to stay in Open contention

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2011, 9:06 pm

SANDWICH, England – A pick-me-up from his caddie and a favorable change in weather helped Graeme McDowell remain in the hunt at the British Open after a horror start to his first round.

The 2010 U.S. Open champion was reeling after making a double-bogey 6 at the first hole at Royal St. George’s on Thursday, soon followed by another dropped shot at No. 5.

Weeks of preparation were threatening to be undone there and then. Thank goodness, then, for caddie Ken Comboy.

“I’ve got to thank him for keeping me in the moment because my head was spinning after a few holes,” McDowell said. “That’s what this course and what major championships can do to you. Maybe four or five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to turn that round.”

McDowell, ranked No. 9, managed to recover his poise, and four birdies in a back nine played in benign, still conditions saw the Northern Irishman come home at 2-under 68. He is tied for sixth, three shots off the lead, and clear of many of his chief rivals for the claret jug.

“The old cliche (in the first round) is, ‘You can’t win it, you can only lose it.’ I tried to lose it but I managed to hang in there. I’m in a great position,” he said.

With Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy – three of the world’s top four – all shooting opening-round 71s, McDowell finds himself in solid position.

It could have been so different.

“I just got off to a horrible start. Three days’ perfect preparation, nice warmup, walk onto the first tee and just put one of my worst swings of the week on it,” he said. “My second shot, all I could do was just hit it over the back and I pulled a horrible lie.

“I make double and walk to the second tee wondering what the hell just happened.”

After his win at Pebble Beach and his Ryder Cup exploits at Celtic Manor last year when he holed the winning putt for Europe, McDowell is made of sterner stuff these days.

“Perseverance, staying in the present and just believing in myself,” he said. “Patience is what you need, especially in links golf.”

With the wind dying down to leave Royal St. George’s defenseless in the late afternoon, McDowell birdied Nos. 12 and 13, as well as the final two holes. He could also be fortunate with the weather on Friday, with the forecast predicting a calm morning when McDowell tees off before conditions worsen.

“You’ve just got to count yourself lucky when it happens because luck evens itself out over a year. It really is about jockeying for position the next couple of days,” he said.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 9:30 pm

Tiger Woods began the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-shot lead, and he's cruising at East Lake. We're tracking him.

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

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“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

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Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”