Notes Future Bright for Harding Monty Makes Move

By Associated PressOctober 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the overwhelming praise of Harding Park, it won't be long before San Francisco's fabled municipal golf course gets another premier tournament.
 
Still to be determined is whether that means men, women or seniors.
 
``We know the USGA was already interested in Harding after we got it rebuilt,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday. ``Looking at some of their different championships, I've got to believe the PGA of America would have some interest after this week. We want to sit down with all the interested parties and talk about the best possible schedule.''
 
Harding Park brought out that rare phenomenon on the PGA Tour: Hardly any complaints.
 
The 7,060-yard course more than held its own, although the 18th hole was questionable. There was enough room for hospitality and some 20,000 fans who were shuttled in from spots around Lake Merced.
 
As for the scoring?
 
Tiger Woods and John Daly finished at 10-under 270.
 
``These are the best players in the world, and we can barely crack double digits under par,'' Woods said.
 
Finchem said the key was to stage tournaments that would raise money for The First Tee and to continue repaying the city for the $16 million renovation. A steady diet of championships would mean Harding Park stays in pristine shape, although residents would not be able to play as much in the weeks leading up to a tournament.
 
``If I owned this place -- if this is my baby, but it was not for profit -- I would want some texture to the communication of this place,'' Finchem said. ``That would be being interested in having the best women play, the best seniors, and being interested in getting these guys back. That would round out the field.''
 
The wild card is how much Harding could handle.
 
The American Express Championship was a 71-man field, and it is unclear if the municipal course could handle a 156 players for a U.S. Women's Open, for example. The practice range is limited.
 
Either way, Harding Park is on the map.
 
``The way the golf course has played and the way the players reacted to it, I've got to believe if you're an organization putting on a tournament, you're going to be interested in taking a look,'' Finchem said.
 
AWOL DRIVE:
John Daly's tee shot on No. 6 went AWOL for a few minutes, puzzling marshals as to where it had landed. The gallery finally pitched in and pointed out Daly's ball was plainly near the fairway -- just the wrong fairway.
 
Daly's ball had landed near on adjacent No. 2. He went on to bogey No. 6,
 
MONTY MAKES HIS MOVE:
Colin Montgomerie had his chances to win on U.S. soil for the first time until he missed birdie putts of 15 feet on the 14th hole, 6 feet on the 15th and 10 feet on the 16th.
 
With a bogey on the final hole, he wound up two shots behind.
 
The consolation prize was more progress.
 
Montgomerie surpassed Michael Campbell atop the European Order of Merit, and collected enough Ryder Cup points that he likely won't have to be a captain's pick like he was in 2004.
 
``I had a goal at the start of the week, and I had to try and overtake Michael Campbell, and also get some more Ryder Cup points, which I achieved,'' Montgomerie said.
 
His main goal was to win, and he was pleased with his effort.
 
``I played great on the back nine, got nothing out of it,'' he said. ``Disappointing, really, but never mind. I'd have taken third before we came, so that's OK. I'm coming away very positive, and I can take it on next week to Madrid.''
 
DIVOTS:
Tiger Woods won for the ninth time in California, and his third in the northern part of the state. He won twice at Pebble Beach (one of those a U.S. Open). The last victory in the Bay Area? ``Probably the (NCAA) regionals my sophomore year, and I won the Stanford Collegiate,'' he said. This one paid $1.3 million. ... Woods, John Daly and Sergio Garcia were the only players to break par all four days at Harding Park. ... One attraction for fans in attendance was a charity putting strip mocked up to look like San Francisco's twisting Lombard Street, often referred to as the most crooked street in the world. Proceeds for ``The Lombard Longshot'' went to the Tiger Woods Foundation.
 
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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.”