Notes Money Grab May Cost Els Money Title

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
TUCKER'S TOWN, Bermuda -- Ernie Els won the HSBC World Match Play Championship for the seventh time, and enough of the mammoth prize money was applied to the European Tour money list that he surged ahead of Padraig Harrington on the Order of Merit.
 
Whether he stays there is out of his control.
 
Els recently signed a three-year deal to play in the Singapore Open, not realizing it will be held the same time (Nov. 1-4) as the season-ending Volvo Masters on the European Tour.
 
Harrington is $307,745 behind Els, and will be at Valderrama for the tour finish. Justin Rose is in third place with $352,225, and he will have two starts remaining on the European schedule, including this week in Portugal.
 
'How can I say it? The end of the year, you've got the wheelbarrow out. You want to cash in a little bit,' Els said of the appearance fees he'll get from the Singapore Open. 'It just happened that this tournament is the same week. I didn't know before we signed that last year. It's unfortunate. I don't know how it slipped their radar.'
 
This is not the first time Els has stuck to a commitment. He skipped the Presidents Cup in 1994 because of the British Masters.
 
Els won the Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004, and there's a chance he can win the Harry Vardon Trophy a third time.
 
MORE ON MONEY:
Brett Quigley figured his PGA TOUR card was safe for next year when he left the Deutsche Bank Championship the first week of September and had surgery on his right knee to repair torn cartilage.
 
He was at No. 109 on the money list with $717,411.
 
Darren Clarke finished at No. 125 last year with $660,898. TOUR officials figured $700,000 would be enough this year, although there was some uncertainty with the reconfigured schedule putting seven events of the Fall Series after the TOUR Championship.
 
Not many saw this coming.
 
In four weeks since the FedExCup ended, Quigley has fallen 15 spots to No. 124. He is $358 ahead of Alex Cejka, and $22,131 ahead of Craig Kanada. And with his season over, he has nowhere to go but down.
 
'It's been unbelievable,' Quigley said Monday. 'I haven't seen any golf the last three weeks, but I've got people calling me with the results. 'You're down to 121. You're down to 124.' I thought anything over $700,000 was safe. Obviously, it moved a bunch.'
 
It's almost enough for Quigley to enter a tournament on wounded knee.
 
'I'm chomping at the bit to play,' he said. 'But just walking with (daughter) Lily for 45 minutes I'm pretty sore. I couldn't imagine playing five hours for five days in a row. I know I'm not ready to play.'
 
He said he would take a minor medical exemption, which will give him as many as seven tournaments next year to make up the difference between his $717,411 and whatever winds up being the earnings for No. 125.
 
The change has even astounded TOUR officials, who were trying to figure out what happened.
 
'I was surprised,' said Andy Pazder, the TOUR's vice president of competition. 'We saw something in the $700,000 range, and that number has come and gone. It's moving toward $750,000 and beyond. I can't explain it without having analyzed some things. The fields being different, maybe more guys are getting in.'
 
None of the four winners -- Steve Flesch, Chad Campbell, Justin Leonard and George McNeill -- were outside the top 125 when they won. But six players already have moved inside the top 125, with Michael Allen making the biggest move from No. 154 to No. 98.
 
And there are still three tournaments remaining.
 
Money for No. 125 increased by $3,474 in 2005 and then by a more substantial $34,162 in 2006. The increase in total prize money on the PGA TOUR is about $10 million, not much different from the past two years.
 
'The right guys are making the money,' Quigley said. 'And some of the bigger guys are not winning, and certainly not playing the last few tournaments.'
 
HAVE GAME, WILL PLAY:
Damon Green long has been considered one of the best players among caddies on the PGA TOUR, and he had a chance to show it while in Bermuda for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
 
Green, on the bag when Zach Johnson won the Masters, decided to pay $525 to enter the 41st edition of the Bermuda Open, which attracted a 66-man field to Port Royal Golf Course. He was 1 under through three rounds until closing with a 66 on Sunday to finish third behind defending champion Tim Conley and Brian McCann, a regular on the Canadian Tour.
 
'Not too bad,' Green said.
 
Green, who played the Nike Tour a dozen years ago, had not played competitively since the Grapefruit Open in Vero Beach, Fla., about a year ago. He has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open, but never had made it out of final stage of sectional qualifying.
 
'I guess this was my first national open,' he said.
 
Green earned $6,000 from the $50,000 purse.
 
LEFTIES:
Phil Mickelson will be the highest-ranked player to compete in the Fall Series when he plays the Fry's Electronics Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., and he has a chance to again be part of history by winning.
 
Lefties already have won five times this year, which ties the record set in 2000.
 
Mickelson has won three times and Steve Flesch won twice. Seven years ago, Mickelson won four times and Mike Weir had one victory. The statistics indeed are slightly skewed, but the PGA TOUR dug up some research that showed six left-handed players among the top 100 in the world ranking: Mickelson (2), Richard Green (32), Nick O'Hern (38), Weir (48), Flesch (89) and Bubba Watson (93).
 
DIVOTS:
The European Tour has afforded lifetime membership to U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera and British Open champion Padraig Harrington. They received their solid silver membership cards from Tour chief executive George O'Grady during the HSBC World Match Play Championship. Europe now has 31 players to have received honorary lifetime membership. ... Masters champion Zach Johnson extended his sponsorship endorsement with AEGON and subsidiary Transamerica for five more years. ... Greg Norman, the inaugural winner of the Australian Golf Writers Association rookie of the year award, has agreed to give his name to the honor.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
In the three LPGA Tour events where she made the cut in 2007, Michelle Wie finished a combined 91 shots behind the winner.
 
FINAL WORD:
'If I'm having a holiday, I don't bring golf clubs. I don't have fun unless I'm really putting effort into it.' -- Padraig Harrington, on playing the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.
 
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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."

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Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


"It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.