Thatcher maintains lead at Disney

By Associated PressNovember 14, 2010, 2:34 am
ChildrenLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Roland Thatcher was at home a year ago after missing the cut at Disney, stressfully updating the live money list on his computer to see if he would finish high enough to keep his PGA Tour card.

Things will be up to him Sunday.

Thatcher is on his way to an improbable bid to keep his card, shooting a 2-under 70 on Saturday in the Children’s Miracle Network Classic to take a four-stroke lead over Chris Stroud into the final round. Five others are within five strokes of Thatcher.

“In a way, I’m in a much better situation this year because I control my own destiny, and that’s a quality thing,” Thatcher said. “And I have a chance to win a tournament, which is huge.”

No pressure or anything: Thatcher will only be playing for his job.

He needs a victory or solo second-place finish to vault into the top 125 the cutoff for full status – to retain his card. Nos. 126-150 will get partial status.

Quite a different scenario than last year

Thatcher began a year ago at Disney at 119th in earnings. He missed the cut and couldn’t stop watching the Tour’s website at home, with his name bouncing in and out of the top 125 several times during the live projections.

An anxiety-filled day, for sure.

“My wife left the house. She actually called my best friend at the time to come over and basically baby-sit me,” said Thatcher, who eventually finished 121st to keep his card. “She couldn’t deal with it anymore. I didn’t blame her either. That was probably not the best way to handle it.”

Only a disastrous finish kept him from being able to relax more this Sunday.

Thatcher had a six-shot lead when hit his approach on the 17th hole went way right of the green, the ball landed just short of the water and was stuck in the mud. His right foot almost knee-high in the water, Thatcher chipped out and the ball caromed off a camera tower. He two-putted for a double-bogey, then bogeyed No. 18 to finish at 18 under.

“It’s nice to be closer than I was,” said Stroud, who also shot a 70. “I was trying to not pay too much attention to it, but he was running away with the tournament.”

Thatcher isn’t the only one fighting for a tour card.

Three others who began barely inside the top 125 – Joe Durant (120), Woody Austin (123) and Michael Allen (124) – missed the cut. Durant should be safe, but Austin and Allen are projected to fall out.

It will be an anxiety-filled day for a handful of others still playing Sunday. The projected money list can fluctuate by the second, their are countless scenarios for some to keep their cards.

“Third or better by myself, obviously in any of those orders, and that’ll get me to next year,” said Brett Wetterich, who shot a 68 and was tied for third – five strokes back. Wetterich began the week 159th on the money list but also has a medical exemption that could get him into the first tournament next year and give another chance to earn enough.

For everyone in the field, Thatcher’s history should at least provide some comfort.

He only needed to make par on the final hole in the final round of qualifying school in 2001 in West Palm Beach. Instead, his approach shot bounced off the cart path and onto the clubhouse roof and missed out.

Even in the big leagues, Thatcher has often been disappointing.

He has missed far more cuts (64) than he’s made (45) on the PGA Tour. Thatcher’s only top-10 finish this year came in New Orleans, and he would have needed an outright win this week to retain his card if it wasn’t for that.

Thatcher was such a long shot at Disney he already signed up for the second stage of qualifying school near Houston next week. All Disney was supposed to provide was some momentum.

Now it might deliver a Tour card.

“At least this week, regardless of what happens Sunday, I’m in charge of it,” Thrasher said. “I don’t need to be sitting there. It’s a very uncomfortable situation to be really rooting against your friends is what it really comes down to. As crass as that sounds, that’s what I was doing last year.

“And this year all I need to be doing is rooting for me.”

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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: