Notes Mud Balls Causing Concern

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2005, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Ernie Els warned it could be a sloppy, muddy opening round at The Players Championship.
Turns out, the Big Easy was right.
Several players, including Els, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, had problems with mud clumps sticking to golf balls and altering shot flights Thursday at the TPC's Stadium Course.

Woods mentioned the glop four times during his brief interview after the round.
``I just tried to get by with some mud balls,'' said Woods, who shot a 2-under 70.
Rain hit the Jacksonville area Monday and Tuesday, drenching a course designed to handle the water. Still, the fairways were mushy, meaning second shots were adventures pros aren't accustomed to -- and certainly not at a tournament considered by many the fifth major.
Singh said he had a lot of ``suspect lies.''
``You can hit all the fairways you want in conditions like this,'' he said, ``it doesn't matter (because) there's mud on the ball.''
Singh overcame the problems for a 5-under 67, three shots behind leader Steve Jones.
On Woods' final hole, the ninth, he said he cut a shot he normally wouldn't to offset the mud on the ball's right side. ``It started out cutting and ended up hooking left,'' he said.
Woods made the birdie.
On Tuesday, Els cautioned that muddy balls could bring trouble. He shot a first-round 71.
``If we have mud on the ball, there is no way you can control it, period,'' Els said. ``And on this golf course, which is tough enough already, you hit it in the fairway, you want to have a good lie.''
Not everyone agreed. Fred Funk, who calls Ponte Vedra Beach home, said the conditions were better than he expected. ``It was surprising how dry it was for the amount of rain we had,'' he said.
Els won't sleep easy, though. He feels the worst is ahead.
``When they cut these fairways, I really think we're going to get some mud on the ball then because it's really going to compress as it hits,'' he said after his round.
If Brett Quigley succeeds this week, he'll know who to thank.
``My crazy uncle, for sure,'' said Quigley, referring to Uncle Dana, who's won nine times on the Champions Tour, including this year's MasterCard Championship.
The younger Quigley said his uncle pushed him to get off the range and onto the course during the winter. It must have helped. Quigley shot a 5-under 67 and stood three strokes off the lead at The Players Championship.
Brett typically takes four weeks off after the season and then starts his range work. His uncle challenged him to change this year. Brett listened and says it's paying off in an improved game.
``I probably only practiced two hours in two months,'' Brett said. ``Instead I played every day and hit a bunch of shots and learned how to score again.''
The fans gathered around the first tee recognized the face and the name of David Duval, who grew up in Jacksonville and remains a favorite in these parts. But he was introduced as being from Denver, where he moved last year after getting married.
And the game doesn't look familiar.
Duval won The Players Championship in 1999 to rise to No. 1 in the world, but is mired in a massive slump brought on my injuries and confidence. The only good part about his 76 was playing even par on the back nine, helped by a 20-foot eagle putt on the 16th.
``I'm playing good golf,'' Duval said. ``I've just got to do it out on the golf course.''
John Daly played the first hole twice Thursday.
He hit the ball down the fairway and had a two-putt par on No. 1. Then on the adjacent par-5 second, his tee shot went left into a tree, ricocheted left, bounced off a cart path and landed in the rough on the No. 1, about 20 yards away from his opening drive.
Blocked by trees, he figured his best option was to play down the first fairway. He went too long into the rough, then chip over the trees just short of the hazard on the second fairway, hit onto the green and made bogey.
``Always wanted to play the first hole backward,'' Daly said to himself after hitting the third shot.
Mark Calcavecchia shot 71 and called it a miracle.
His back has been bothering him all week, and a hard swing out of the rough on No. 4 nearly brought him to his knees.
Just his luck, the back specialist for partner Tommy Armour III was following that group and was able to work on Calcavecchia's back as he headed to the fifth tee.
``It's safe to say I played in the most pain I've ever felt,'' Calcavecchia said. ``I don't know if I can tough it out for three more days. I've got 23 hours to recover.''
Hunter Mahan, a college golf star at Oklahoma State two years ago, had a 68 in his first round at the Stadium Course. He had four straight birdies from Nos. 3-6. ... Luke Donald says he doesn't plan to leave Chicago, near his college of Northwestern, anytime soon despite the trouble getting in some rounds during winter. Donald says he's looking to buy a second home in Florida.
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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.

    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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    Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

    Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

    When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

    It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

    Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

    Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.