Notes: Fighting Irish win TV battle; Saturday BMW times moved up

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2011, 12:26 am

LEMONT, Ill. – Add pro golfers to the list of folks annoyed with Notre Dame these days.

NBC Sports wants the third round of the BMW Championship to be finished before the 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff for Notre Dame’s game against Michigan State, so tee times Saturday will be about three hours earlier than they were for the first two rounds. The first group will tee off at 8:25 a.m., with the leaders going off at 10:15 a.m.

“Thanks Notre Dame for my 7.35am tee time. I knew there was a reason why I didn’t like you!” Luke Donald, the world’s No. 1 player, said Friday on Twitter.

The conflict is nothing new, however.

NBC has broadcast Notre Dame home games since 1991 and also has the rights to the final three FedEx Cup playoff events – all of which occur after the start of the college football season. Saturday tee times were pushed up at last year’s BMW, and again at The Tour Championship.

“A bunch of kids ruling the show? What’s going on?” co-leader Justin Rose said when asked about it Friday.

“You know, that’s one of the amazing things I find about this country, really, is how big college sports are and how big the college system is,” said Rose, who is from England. “It’s something I’ve never experienced, but it’s fascinating to see how big these games are and the attendance it gets and the TV ratings.”

This will be the only week tee times are moved this year. Notre Dame was on the road last week, and plays at Pittsburgh next weekend.

NO COMPLAINTS: Whether he makes it to next weekend’s Tour Championship or not, Brandt Jobe has no complaints about his year.

Not after how the last few years have gone.

Jobe broke a bone in his left wrist in 2003 and again the next year, and still can’t feel his pinky finger as a result. He cut off the tips of his fingers while sweeping out his garage in 2006, and lost his PGA Tour card in 2009. He spent last year playing the Nationwide Tour before earning his way back onto the PGA circuit by tying for sixth at qualifying school.

“I had some opportunities to make this a great year, but I’m playing in the third leg of the playoffs,” Jobe said Friday at the BMW Championship. “I remember where I was and think, `It could be a lot worse. I could not be here.”’

Not only is Jobe still in the hunt for a spot at East Lake, he tied Brendon De Jonge for low round of the day Friday with a bogey-free 64. Jobe is at 3 under for the tournament.

“Yesterday it seemed like I wasn’t ever prepared for what I was doing,” said Jobe, who shot a 4-over 75 on Thursday. “I didn’t hit it bad, but I didn’t hit it good. I put myself in a lot of places where I didn’t recover and then I didn’t putt well.”

That’s been his problem for much of the second half of the season. Jobe had three top-10 finishes through June, including a tie for second at The Memorial that matched his career-best finish.

Since then, however, he’s cracked the top 25 only once and has missed two cuts.

“I haven’t managed my game well,” Jobe said.

But he worked on a few things at the range Thursday night, and everything fell in place Friday. He was playing so well, in fact, he had a shot at the course record of 62 after back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15. But he played his final three holes at even par, just missing a birdie at 18 when his sand shot rolled about a foot past the cup.

“Everything went well today,” Jobe said. “Just a very nice, solid round of golf.”

BRRR!: Bill Haas is expecting a word from his sponsors.

Haas was so unprepared for the chilly temperatures at the BMW Championships – the high Friday was just 59 degrees – he had to go buy sweaters. The off-the-rack wear may be keeping him warm, but it’s doing nothing for his sponsors.

“I’m actually wearing sweaters that don’t have any logos on them,” Haas said. “I did not pack accordingly. I was not expecting this. My sponsor is probably not too happy with me.”

CUT!: Steve Stricker’s withdrawal ends what had been the longest streak of cuts made on the PGA Tour at 40.

Though there is no actual cut at the BMW Championship, the streak ends because Stricker will not finish in the money at Cog Hill. He’s already qualified for next weekend’s Tour Championship and plans to play.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel now owns the longest streak of cuts made with 18.

DIVOTS: Brandt Jobe (64) and Robert Allenby (67) were the only players to not make a bogey Friday.

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Haas nearly shoots age in taking Champions playoff opener lead

By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 10:05 pm

RICHMOND, Va.  -- Jay Haas shot a 7-under 65 - missing his age by a stroke - to take a two-shot lead Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Trying to become the oldest winner in tour history, the 64-year-old Haas birdied the par-5 16th and 18th holes to get to 11-under 133 on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''I've been out here too long to know that I can learn to expect anything,'' Haas said. ''While I'm hopeful every day and I've been playing OK, the last couple weeks have not been very good, but this week has been much better. I love this golf course and it looks good to my eye. Most of the holes look like I'm going to hit a good shot, so I enjoy playing here.''

Mike Fetchick set the age record of 63 years to the day in the 1985 Hilton Head event. Haas is second on the list, taking the 2016 Toshiba Classic at 62 years, 10 months, 7 days for his 18th senior title.

''That's a good way to say I'm old, 'experience,''' Haas said. ''I think I'm very nervous most of the time when I play and today was no exception, but I continued to hit good shots and, hopefully, I can put one foot in front of the other, one shot at a time, do what I tell my son to do every time, you know? See if I can put some of those adages to work tomorrow.''

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

Stephen Ames and Scott Dunlap were tied for second after the round that started in light rain. Ames had a 67, and Dunlap shot 68.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer had a 66 to join Billy Mayfair (67) and Woody Austin (68) at 9 under. Langer won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the season points lead. The 61-year-old German star has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

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, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, was tied for 23rd at 4 under after a 71.

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Sergio leads by 4 entering final round at Valderrama

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 9:26 pm

Sergio Garcia closed with three straight birdies to shoot a 7-under 64 on Saturday, taking a four-shot lead into the third and final round of the Andalusia Valderrama Masters.

The tournament, which Garcia has won  twice (2017, 2011), was reduced to 54 holes because of numerous weather-related delays.

With his bogey-free round, Garcia moved to 10 under, four shots clear of Englishman Ashley Chesters, who shot a 1-under 70.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

"Hopefully we'll be able to play well tomorrow and get another win at Valderrama," Garcia said. "Hopefully I can finish it in style."

Chesters, however, is conceding nothing. "There's always a chance," he said. "There's not a lot of pressure on me."

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Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''

Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai

Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

"Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

"We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

"You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."