Notes Daly Damages Flag Putts w Wedge

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- John Daly has so much power, he could probably drive with a putter. At the PGA Championship on Saturday, he proved he could putt with a wedge.
Daly made the unorthodox move after the head of his putter came loose on the back nine of his third round, and he putted with his wedge on holes 11 through 18.
``I rolled it pretty good. I couldn't get it to the hole, but the other putter was knocking it 10 feet by,'' Daly said with a laugh.
Daly's caddie wanted to replace the putter, but the 1991 PGA champ declined.
``I'm tired of replacing it,'' Daly said after an 8-over 78. ``It's happened about 10 times this year.''
Daly started the day tied for 23rd, and, boosted by a raucous gallery, he seemed poised for a charge.
He birdied the first to get to into red numbers but gave the stroke back at the second. He made a double-bogey at No. 3 and birdied the sixth.
Then he fell out of contention with a bogey at the seventh and a double at the ninth.
Daly struggled mightily on the back nine, posting three straight bogeys from Nos. 10-12, and two more at 14 and 15.
He did manage to birdie the 650-yard 17th, becoming the only player to reach the green in two shots for the second time in two majors at Baltusrol. He missed his eagle chance and had a tap-in birdie with his wedge.
Daly was the only player to reach the green in two shots during the 1993 U.S. Open.
``This cost me,'' Daly said. ``I knew the scores were going to be high. I thought if I could just go out and shoot even par or somewhere under par I could still win the tournament, but the head came loose again, and here we go.''
He won't be competing for the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday, but he will be working toward the future.
``I might have three or four putters in the bag tomorrow, just to find something to putt with next week,'' he said.
``Hey, it'll happen. Something good will happen,'' Daly said. ``We'll get it right. It's unfortunate this has happened so many times this year, especially in the majors. It's just tough to build a two-piece putter.''
Steve Schneiter, an assistant pro from Sandy, Utah, had the best round of the four club pros who made the cut. He shot a 2-over 72 and moved to 6-over 216.
Ron Philo Jr., whose caddie is his sister, LPGA player Laura Diaz, had a 73 and was 7 over.
Darrell Kestner, the head pro at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhassett, N.Y., moved to 10-over after a 78, and reigning club pro champion Mike Small, the men's golf coach at Illinois, struggled to a 10-over 80 and fell to 12-over after a second-round 68.
Less than a day after a 40-foot tree limb fell next to the fourth green and injured three men, there was little evidence that the red oak even existed at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Late Friday, course workers began cutting down the tree, and by the start of the third round all that remained was a large dirt pile.
``It was totally gone,'' Tiger Woods said. ``I thought they just cut off the limb, but you could see it was pretty rotted on the inside and maybe should have been taken out earlier.''
On Friday, the limb fell moments after Woods played his third shot on the par-3 hole. The crowd was reacting to Woods' shot, which spun back toward the pin, and a roar went up as the branch began tearing away from the tree.
With the tree in place, Woods played the hole in 2 over. On Saturday, he made a par.
The PGA said the tree was removed as a precaution.
DALY AT 17 -- DAY 3
John Daly delivered the power display fans hoped for at the 650-yard 17th.
For the second straight major at Baltusrol Golf Club, Daly became the only player to reach the par-5 in two shots.
On Saturday, he launched a lengthy tee shot and hit a 3-iron from 279 yards that settled on the green. The head of his putter came loose earlier on the back nine and Daly, putting with his wedge, settled for a two-putt birdie.
The 1991 PGA champion played the hole as a three-shot par-5 in the first two rounds.
At the 1993 U.S. Open, when the hole was 20 yards shorter, Daly was the only player to reach it in two shots, hitting 1-iron for his second shot.
Charles Howell III recorded the 35th hole-in-one at the PGA Championship since 1970.
Howell posted the 1 on the fourth hole at Baltusrol, using a 7-iron from 193 yards for his first ace as a PGA pro.
``That's the first hole-in-one I've had in a tournament. I couldn't think of a better place to have it than a major,'' Howell said. ``It was absolutely the perfect club when I walked on the tee because it had a little bit of wind helping.''
Hale Irwin (1975, 2004), Scott Hoch (1989, 2001) and Peter Oosterhuis (1976, 1982) have two aces in PGA Championships.
The PGA said information is incomplete prior to 1970.
It took a few days, but the spectators at the PGA Championship finally seemed to get the message: No cell phones.
Two days after the PGA of America banned cell phones and Blackberrys, spectators relented, if somewhat reluctantly.
``You feel kind of a little naked,'' said David C. Shappell, 27, of Bloomsbury, N.J.
Bins overflowed with phones early in the week at the gates to the club. Bruce Paterson, chairman of Baltusrol's Tech Committee said some 5,000 cell phones were checked at the gates during the three days of practice rounds, leading the PGA to institute the ban and end phone check-ins.
On Thursday, phones were tossed on the ground, prompting the ban to be scrapped. However, if the checkers run out of space, spectators will face the choice of returning to their cars -- which could be difficult because nearly all fans are taking shuttle buses from satellite lots -- or leaving their phones on the street.
Although cell phones have been barred at PGA Tour and PGA Championship events for about seven years, there usually isn't such a commotion, tournament director Andy Bush said.
``In this market, it's more a way of life,'' Bush said of the New York area.
Mike Small, vice president of the New Jersey section of the PGA, played with Vaughn Taylor in the first group in the third round of the PGA.
With 79 players making the cut, Taylor played with a marker for the first time.
``It had a different feel,'' Taylor said after a third-round 1-over 71. ``We had a good time, and I think Mike had the time of his life.''
Taylor was right.
``Other than being named the golf pro of the year in the New Jersey section two years ago, this is my biggest thrill in golf,'' said Small, director of golf at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, N.J. Section president Mickie Gallagher was his caddie.
The total purse for the championship is $6.5 million, with $1.17 million to the winner, an increase from $6,225,300 and $1.125 million last year.
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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

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    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”