Notes Stadler Steals the Show Winless Streaks

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- Kevin Stadler stole the spotlight from Tiger Woods, at least for one hole.
 
Stadler, Woods' playing partner for the third round of the AT&T National on Saturday, wowed the gallery with a hole-in-one on the 196-yard, par-3 13th. His shot with a 6-iron landed below the hole, rolled up the slight slope and disappeared into the cup.
 
'I never expected it was going to go in, but I thought I hit a really good shot,' said Stadler, who has a handful of aces in his career. 'It kind of took a hop in the right direction. I was walking up there and the place went crazy.'
 
Woods and Stadler had both walked off the tee box before Stadler's ace dropped. They couldn't see the ball go in, but upon hearing the crowd roar and realizing what happened, Woods gave Stadler an emphatic high-five.
 
'All of a sudden, I watched him, he's trying to talk to his caddie, I'm trying to write down scores for Kevin and it goes in and he says, 'What happened?'' Woods said. 'It was kind of a shocker.'
 
With his ace, Stadler won the hearts of those in the sizable gallery following Woods. The crowd, which was 15-deep in some places around the course, was still buzzing when Woods lined up his 21-foot birdie putt. Someone in the crowd yelled for Woods to let Stadler take the putt.
 
The cheer Stadler received after the hole-in-one was louder than any for Woods during the round.
 
Stadler, the son of Craig Stadler, finished the day tied with Woods at 2 under for the tournament and seven strokes behind leader Stuart Appleby.
 
'That was the most thoroughly enjoyable round of golf I've had in who knows how long,' said Stadler, who was paired with Woods for the second time in his career. 'For a change I didn't get in my own way out there. I was kind of having fun and taking all this in. It was probably 10 times the biggest gallery I've ever been in.'
 
STRICKER, WEIR IN CONTENTION
Mike Weir and Steve Stricker have positioned themselves to end long winless streaks.
 
Stricker and Weir will comprise the next-to-last pairing in Sunday's final round after they both shot 3-under 67 on Saturday. Stricker, who hasn't won since 2001, is three strokes off the lead at 6 under. Weir, winless since 2004, is at 5 under.
 
'I'm ready to win again,' Stricker said.
 
Stricker has come close to ending his drought several times this season. He has four top 10 finishes, including a second-place finish at the Wachovia Championship in early May. He entered this week's tournament at 21st on the tour money list, a sign of resurgence after finishing in the top 10 only three times from 2002-05.
 
Weir doesn't have a top 10 finish this season and is 102nd on the money list. Two of his best three finishes this year, though, have come at majors. He placed 20th at both the Masters and the U.S. Open.
 
Weir eagled the par-5 16th on Saturday to move up the leaderboard. His second shot from 261 yards landed 12 feet from the hole, and he sank the putt.
 
Despite his winless streak, Weir doesn't feel pressure to win Sunday.
 
'It would be great to do it,' Weir said, 'but I'm just glad to be playing well.'
 
CHOI IN BLACK AND YELLOW
K.J. Choi was color-coordinated for his third round, in which he shot even-par 70 and finished two strokes off the lead at 7 under.
 
Choi wore a yellow shirt and yellow bracelet along with a black visor and black pants. The clothes matched his clubs, which had a yellow and black trim. And those clubs were carried in a black bag with yellow trim.
 
'I like black because black tends to absorb,' Choi said. 'It's a color that absorbs light. Kind of like me, it absorbs my emotions, the way that I feel when I'm out there on the golf course.'
 
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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.