Notes: British Open champ Clarke speeds off after MC

By Associated PressAugust 12, 2011, 10:23 pm

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Darren Clarke left the PGA Championship much differently than his last major tournament.

A month ago at the British Open, Clarke was the toast of Europe, a good ol’ bloke from Northern Ireland who had persevered through tragedy and circumstance at age 42 to win his first major.

On Friday at Atlanta Athletic Club, Clarke moved quickly from the scoring tent to the clubhouse, ready to bolt as soon as possible after missing the PGA cut at 14 over par.

“I need a huge rest,” Clarke said. “I’m going to get one.”

He wasn’t sure when he’d return to golf, how he’d spend his time off or where he’d vacation. Clarke was clearly miffed about his early exit so soon after his winning his first major at Royal St. Georges.

Clarke didn’t make a birdie in 36 holes. He opened with a first-round 78 and had hoped, with a strong performance, might be able to stick around for the weekend. Instead, Clarke’s struggles continued with a second-round 76.

Clarke was in one of the tournament’s featured groups with the year’s other major champions, Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy, both who are inside the projected cut.

Clarke had said he was not distracted Thursday by McIlroy’s wrist injury, which required several visits from doctors and trainers to ensure the 22-year-old was OK to continue.

It was all part of a grind, however, that Clarke hopes to disappear from for a while.

“I won’t pick up the clubs for 10 days,” he said. “I won’t even look at them for 10 days. So I’m just mentally tired.”

LATE FOR SCHOOL: Brandt Snedeker was fully prepared for an 8:20 a.m. start time Friday at the PGA Championship. One problem: He was scheduled to tee off 10 minutes earlier.

Snedeker was on the putting green warming up when he was told he had to tee off at 8:10 and sprinted to the first hole. But it was too late and Snedeker was assessed a two-stroke penalty to finish with a 3-over 73 for the round and 7 over for the tournament.

“What I can I say, it’s embarrassing,” Snedeker said. “I feel like I’m a 2-year-old showing up late for class.”

Snedeker won the RBC Heritage title in April and had hoped to contend for his first major title this week at Atlanta Athletic Club. Instead, he’s projected to miss the cut and knows the scheduling gaffe didn’t help.

“I’m not the first guy to do it, I won’t be the last guy to do it,” he said. “I certainly never thought it would happen to me. Live and learn.”

MICHEEL’S TURNAROUND: 2003 PGA champion Shaun Micheel was right in the thick of the chase for his second Wanamaker Trophy after Thursday’s opening round 66, the best of the afternoon starters.

Micheel couldn’t keep that going on Friday and a 78 has him crossing his fingers about the weekend. He had bogey or worse on eight of his first 11 holes. He recovered with an eagle on the par-5 fifth and a birdie on the seventh that he hopes gives him a chance.

“Hopefully, the eagle kept me around for the weekend,” Micheel said.

If not, Micheel knows he’s got no one but himself to blame. He said he made several mental errors that cost him strokes during his bogey run. “It was just a frustrating day. I’m more mad, really, at the mistakes that I made,” he said. “I didn’t play a great round of golf, but I made enough mistakes that I cost myself basically four shots today, and those are difficult to swallow.”

DIVOTS: Several competitors withdrew from competition including two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen, who was ill. Goosen had shot a 5-over 75 in the opening round. Also pulling out Friday were J.B. Holmes because of illness and Rocco Mediate due to injury. Neither of those players were likely to make the cut. Holmes was 10-over par while Mediate was 9 over. … D.A. Points, who stands at 4 under par after two rounds, won the Junior PGA title in 1992 and could become the second holder of that title to win the PGA at Atlanta Athletic Club. Toms, the 2001 PGA winner here, won the junior event in 1984.

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

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"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."

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Koepka looking to make hay on Horrible Horseshoe

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:26 pm

The Horrible Horseshoe - Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial Country Club - annually ranks as one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour.

Consider Brooks Koepka undeterred.

Last year's U.S. Open champ has played the stretch 2 over this week but knows that if he's going to have any chance at catching Justin Rose on Sunday, he's going to need take advantage of the par-5 first and then find a way to pick up shots on the Horseshoe.

"I feel like just need to get off to a good start on this golf course," Koepka said after a third-round 67 Saturday. "If you can get 2 or 3 under through six holes, I think you'll be right there."

Koepka will start the final round four behind Rose, as he looks to win for the first time since his maiden major victory last year.

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The big-hitter missed nearly four months this year with a wrist injury and is progressing quickly in his comeback despite dislocating his wrist on two different occasions over the last two months.

Koepka missed the cut with partner Marc Turnesa at the Zurich Classic in his competitive return before following up with a tie for 42nd at the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 11th at The Players Championship.

Now, thanks to a closing birdie Sunday, he finds himself playing alongside Rose in the final group on Sunday.

"I feel like my game is coming around," he said. "[At Zurich], I was five days into touching clubs. I am finally finding a rhythm and feel like I'm getting really close. ...

"Just want to get off to a good start [tomorrow]. That's really all I am trying to do. You put together a good solid round tomorrow, you never know what can happen. The important thing is we were just trying to get in that final group. I thought the putt on 18 was kind of big to get in that final group and play with Rosey."

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Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take a four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up one to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made 17 birdies and just three bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentinian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 7-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year.

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th.

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

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McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.