Scott Maintains Lead at Byron Nelson

By Associated PressApril 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 EDS Byron Nelson ChampionshipIRVING, Texas -- Adam Scott again topped the leaderboard at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. His solid finish Saturday, and Kevin Sutherlands bad one, made sure that happened.
 
Scott, at No. 10 in the world the highest-ranked player in the field, overcame two front-nine bogeys and shot a 3-under 67 Saturday to get to 8-under 202. The Australian star birdied two of the last three holes, including a 3 1/2 -footer at the 429-yard 18th.
 
That put him three strokes ahead of a quartet of players'Sutherland (67), Bart Bryant (67), Charley Hoffman (68) and Ryan Moore (68). Sergio Garcia, after a season-best 65, was four strokes back along with Dudley Hart (66) and Jesper Parnevik (68).
 
Sutherland, whose only PGA TOUR victory came six years ago, was at 7 under with a one-stroke lead over Scott until bogeys on the final two holes.
 
After missing a 7-foot par putt on the 198-yard 17th hole, Sutherland pushed his final tee shot way right into heavy rough'and was still in the rough after his punch shot. He finally got to the front edge of the green and two-putted from 70 feet.
 
I have to remember what I did before that, Sutherland said. I had a good rhythm going, a good feeling and tried to keep doing that. I kind of got away from that maybe at the end.
 
While Sutherland was getting spectators moved out of the way for his first shot out of the rough at 18, Scott missed a chance for a bigger margin when his 9-foot birdie attempt at the 504-yard 15th hole drifted left only inches away from the hole. But Scott didnt wait long for another birdie chance.
 
Scott missed the fairway on the par-5 16th, layed up into the fairway and put his approach shot inside 6 feet to set up a birdie. After his aggressive birdie attempt at 17 rolled 6 feet past the hole, Scotts approach at 18 was right on the pin.
 
In his only other Nelson appearance two years ago, Scott shared the lead at the end of each of the first three rounds. A closing 71 left him in third place behind Brett Wetterich and Trevor Immelman, who missed the Nelson cut this year in his first tournament since winning the Masters.
 
Scotts round began with his opening tee shot landing in a fairway bunker, though he saved par with a two-putt from 17 feet before missing a 6-foot-par chance at the 221-yard second hole. There were consecutive birdies before Scott missed the fairway at the 451-yard eighth for a bogey, his last of the day.
 
It was a bit of a slow start for me. I never really got going on the front, Scott said. I knew a solid nine holes would do me good. No. 16 and 18 were key. I finished the day with a couple of nice wedge shots, and that makes it a little buffer going into (Sunday).
 
The redone TPC Four Seasons course could play much differently for the final round because of an overnight forecast for inclement weather and more than an inch of rain. Tournament officials will use threesomes for the final round, teeing off from Nos. 1 and 10.
 
Garcia had his best scoring round of the season despite hitting only two of 14 fairways. He baled himself out of trouble with his short game and his putter, an 8-year-old one he recently pulled out of his old bags. He needed only 27 putts.
 
I loved it as soon as I put it down. It just gave me a good vibe, Garcia said. Its just that old feeling from years back when you did well and you holed putts and stuff.
 
Garcia, the 2004 Nelson champion, had three birdies his first seven holes, starting with an approach to 7 feet on the opening hole. His only bogey came at No. 8, when he had his only three-putt'from 72 feet. He added three more birdies after that.
 
Notes
 
Garcia was the last 54-hole leader to win the Nelson. Steve Marino holed a birdie from 66 feet and a greenside bunker at the second hole. Not to be outdone, playing partner Eric Axley chipped in a 61-footer from the fairway after missing the green short. Justin Leonard had two triple bogeys in a round of 74. Defending champion Scott Verplank had all five of his bogeys in his first 10 holes on way to a 73. He was 12 strokes off the lead.
 
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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”


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    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.


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    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”


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    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”