Notes Watsons Woes Kohlers Creation

By Associated PressJuly 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
U.S. Senior OpenHAVEN, Wis. -- Tom Watson worked all week to build an insurmountable lead at the U.S. Senior Open. When it looked like he finally had it on Sunday, everything fell apart.
'You can write the story pretty easy,' said Watson, who shot a 6-over 78, including a 43 on the back nine. 'When I make double bogey at 11, a par-5 which is reachable in two today, that was a real wake-up call right there that the golf course wasn't going to give in very easily.'
Watson had finished second in three of the past five U.S. Senior Opens, but this time, he collapsed by losing eight strokes over the final eight holes as Brad Bryant won by shooting a 68 on Sunday to finish 6-under. Watson finished fourth, five strokes behind.
The breakdown began when Watson's third shot on the 11th bounced down into a greenside bunker. He chipped out to the fringe, then managed to three-putt for a 7.
The worst was still coming for Watson, who is now 0-for-8 in his attempts to win the high-profile Champions Tour major.
'I think if he drives the ball in the fairway at 11, he probably goes on to knock it up on the green in two and makes a birdie and goes on and wins the tournament,' said playing partner Loren Roberts, who finished third at 2-under. 'It seemed to me like 11 was such a body blow there and it compounded with a three-putt from just off the fringe. It just kind of took all the wind out of his sails.'
Watson, a five-time winner at the British Open with eight major victories on the PGA TOUR, also blew leads at this tournament in 2005 when Allen Doyle eventually came from nine strokes back to win and again in 2006.
Watson's collapse was the second largest in the U.S. Senior Open's 28-year history, behind Doyle's comeback.
Watson finally seemed to have this major in hand after his birdie on No. 10 moved him to 9-under par. Then came No. 11, and he bogeyed No. 12 and No. 13 when he missed a pair of short putts, the second lipping around the cup but staying out.
'It's a very special tournament for me and I had it in my grasp,' Watson said. 'I had the reins, and I lost the reins at 13.'
Even a nice save on the 14th didn't help Watson, who drove it behind a shrub on the par-4 15th hole.
'I hit the ball in the rough too many times, and today I got my just reward hitting the ball in the rough,' he said. 'I had to put the ball in the fairway today, and I didn't do it enough times. That was the killer for me.'
Herbert V. Kohler Jr. smiled broadly when he heard Tom Watson declare that Whistling Straits is 'about the prettiest golf course I've ever played.'
Kohler, whose Kohler Co. developed the course that hosted the U.S. Senior Open, said the compliment from the five-time British Open champion was a sweet one.
'Those are tall words, and I am humbled and honored,' said Kohler, who had Pete Dye design the course on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan to honor the great links courses of Ireland and Scotland that host the British Open.
The grandeur and severity of Whistling Straits produced exciting golf for the Senior Open, with winds whipping up to an estimated 25 mph on Sunday.
Attendance, however, was slightly disappointing.
In 2004, a record 320,000 fans flocked to Whistling Straits for the PGA Championship.
The senior event drew 23,000 people Sunday and an estimated 118,000 for the tournament, but Kohler believes the dates of the Senior Open hurt attendance.
'It's difficult to pull people away from their homes on a Fourth of July weekend because it's such a big family weekend. So we're pleased we have drawn so many fans to watch these great golfers,' he said.
The PGA Championship returns to Whistling Straits in 2010 and 2015. The course is also scheduled to host the Ryder Cup in 2020.
About 2,500 volunteers greeted fans, chauffeured golfers and made sure the Senior Open ran smoothly even with temperatures reaching the mid-90s on Sunday afternoon.
Cindy Pfrang, part of a group of 15 non-paid staffers from the Quit Qui Oc Golf Club in nearby Elkhart Lake, Wis. helped direct traffic around the 10th tee.
After applying a year ago, Pfrang, from Mesa, Ariz., heard in October that her annual summer back in Wisconsin would include quieting the spectators as golfers teed off, helping give directions and holding back the crowd as the pros approached her area.
She said the experience was memorable.
'The golfers and the crowd are a lot of fun,' she said.
The volunteers paid $150 for their two embroidered U.S. Open shirts, a stylized rain jacket and a cap or headband. In return, they received free parking, daily food vouchers and a pass to watch golf after they completed their four-hour shifts.
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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.