Sergio Garcia grabs a share of clubhouse lead at Wyndham

By Associated PressAugust 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
Wyndham Championship GREENSBORO, N.C. ' Sergio Garcia followed through on a fairway shot when he heard a noise that has become all too familiar this weekend at Sedgefield Country Club.
 
The air horn sounded once again, signifying yet another weather delay at a Wyndham Championship ' where most of the movement on Moving Day involved scurrying to the clubhouse to beat the waves of showers.
 
Garcia and Chris Riley were both 13 under par through 10 holes to share the clubhouse lead Saturday night when play was stopped midway through the third round of the rain-plagued tournament.
 
Steve Marino, Fred Couples, Kevin Stadler and Justin Rose were 12 under and Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas were 11 under through varying stages of their rounds when play was suspended due to darkness.
 
Tournament officials said the round was scheduled to resume Sunday at 7:30 a.m., with a second cut and the final round to begin at roughly 11 a.m.
 
These are tough weeks, Riley said. Seems like weve been doing this all year but, you know, going to bed at 10 (p.m.) and waking up at 5 (a.m.) to play golf were athletes. So I guess we can do it.
 
During yet another long day with abbreviated play at the Donald Ross-designed course at Sedgefield ' where two weather delays combined to last nearly 5 1/2 hours ' there were a few highlights.
 
Marino, who started the round six strokes off the pace, had seven birdies to vault up the leaderboard ' including one on the par-3 No. 16 in which his tee shot landed 7 inches from the flagstick. He shot 63 to move to 198, and was one of 24 players to finish the round.
 
We were talking about it when we went back out on (No. 14), if we were going to make it or not, Marino said. We knew it was going to be close. The guys in front of us motored and we made it. Im really thrilled about that.
 
Couples, the U.S. Presidents Cup captain whos still considering his final picks, birdied four of his first eight holes to move into contention for his first victory since 2003. And Rose had five birdies to rally after starting the round four strokes back.
 
But once again, the dominant storyline at this stop-and-start tournament was the weather.
 
Play was halted twice during Day 3 because of heavy rains and lightning. After the second round was completed midmorning, the start of Round 3 was pushed back 2 1/2 hours while a band of thunderstorms passed through.
 
Then, nearly four hours into the third round, everyone went for cover again while another wave of storms pelted the central North Carolina piedmont. Cups overflowed with water, fairways more closely resembled streams and power was briefly knocked out to the clubhouse during a television interview with Couples.
 
After a 2-hour, 49-minute delay ' the third weather-related suspension of the tournament ' play finally resumed for about an hour before dusk fell. Organizers already had been racing to play catch-up after a 4-hour delay during the first round.
 
There was a lot of stopping and starting for everybody, Couples said.
 
Riley opened his round with an eagle on No. 1, using a 9-iron to knock his approach shot about 165 yards into the hole. After the delay, he ran a 55-foot eagle putt to within 3 feet on No. 5 and tapped it in for birdie.
 
The former UNLV player whos contending for his second top-10 finish of the year ' and second career PGA Tour victory ' shared the 36-hole lead with Maggert and Ryan Moore at 11-under 129.
 
Garcia caught Riley on the 10th ' he made a 33-foot birdie putt on that hole, while Riley missed a 10-foot par putt and tapped in for bogey. Garcia was standing over a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 11 when play was stopped for the day.
 
Standing in the way: A weather-created, 26-hole marathon Sunday for both Riley and Garcia. Then again, thats nothing new during this tournament for Riley ' who took his first lead Friday while playing 21 holes.
 
Its what we play for ' definitely tests your ability of what youve been working on, Riley said. Guys like Sergio (have) been there so many times its probably just like playing golf to them. To guys like me, its different.
 
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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.”