Tiger and Phil Make Moves But Still Trail

By Associated PressSeptember 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh delivered the kind of golf everyone expected.
 
Mike Weir and Rich Beem played the golf they badly needed.
 
Woods and Mickelson traded torrid stretches of birdies and eagles Saturday morning on the TPC Boston, each posting a 7-under 64 that thrust them into contention in the Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
Mike Weir
Mike Weir is playing his best golf as the Presidents Cup nears. (WireImage)
They were the best two scores on a tricky day of swirling wind, but not the most significant.
 
Those belonged to Weir (68) and Beem (66), and not just because they moved into a share of the 36-hole lead with Aaron Baddeley in the second week of the PGA TOUR Playoffs.
 
Beem is the longest of long shots in this FedExCup finale, who narrowly avoided elimination last week at Westchester with a tie for seventh. It isn't getting any easier outside Boston, where anything lower than second place will send him home.
 
He waited until these playoffs to play his best golf of the year, and he waited until the end of the second round Saturday to change his fortunes. Beem birdied his last four holes and shared the lead at 9-under 133.
 
The former PGA champion is slowly becoming the symbol that everyone can dream of the $10 million prize for the FedEx Cup.
 
'Of all the things I could be the poster child for, this is not the one that I would have picked,' said Beem, who went from 134th to 113th in the standings last week, crucial because only the top 120 player qualified for Boston.
 
'It's kind of crazy how it's all coming together, but I sure am having fun. This is certainly interesting. I've just got to keep trying to make some putts, and who knows?'
 
Weir needs to finish in the top five to have any chance of moving into the top 70 in the playoff standings and advance to the BMW Championship outside Chicago. This is the first time since a year ago at Pebble Beach that Weir has been atop the leaderboard through 36 holes, and the Canadian has gone three years without winning.
 
That weighs more on him than the FedExCup.
 
'I just want to play well for myself,' Weir said. 'It's been a while since I've hoisted a trophy, and more than anything, that's what I'm concerned about. That would get me into next week.'
 
Weir built a two-shot lead, but gave back two shots on his last two holes. His tee shot on the par-3 eighth missed to the green to the right and led to bogey, and his approach on the ninth went just over the green, leaving him a downhill look at the hole that took him three shots to get down. He still shot a 68 and had few complaints.
 
Baddeley birdied his final hole for a 66, in contention for the second straight year at the Deutsche Bank.
 
They were at 9-under 133, one shot clear of Mickelson, Sean O'Hair (66), Brett Wetterich (68) and Ryan Moore (69).
 
Meanwhile, the Big Three put on quite a show in round two.
 
Another large crowd chased them around the course in morning sunshine and rarely had a muted moment. There were only six holes on which no one in this glamor group made a birdie, and they were a combined 19 under par. They were a combined 3 over on Friday.
 
'This is what we were hoping for and kind of expecting yesterday,' Mickelson said.
 
Lefty was the first to get going, chipping in for birdie on the 15th, for eagle on the 18th and finishing a torrid eight-hole stretch with a flop shot that skipped hard past the flag, stopped, then spun back to 3 feet for birdie on the par-5 second.
 
That seemed to wake up Woods, who was six shots behind Mickelson at that point.
 
On the 298-yard fourth hole where he took three shots out of a bunker and made double bogey in the opening round, he got his revenge. Woods hit a driver that the wind held up and deposited on the green some 35 feet right of the flag, and he holed it for eagle. That turned out to be a four-shot swing from Friday, and it came in the middle of a six-hole stretch in which Woods was 6 under.
 
He wound up at 6-under 136, along with playoff points leader Steve Stricker (69)
 
'I knew that 3 or 4 under would put me right back in the tournament,' Woods said. 'Now I'm back in the tournament.'
 
Singh was in jeopardy of missing three straight cuts for the first time in his career until he ran off four straight birdies around the turn, stopped making mistakes and wound up with a 66 -- the highest score by two shots in his group. He was at 2-under 140.
 
The cut was at 1-over 143, which spared Steve Flesch for the moment. He shot 72 to make it on the number, and at No. 70 in the standings, has two days to make sure he gets to Chicago.
 
The FedExCup season ended for a few dozen players who were below 70th in the standings and missed the cut, such as former U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and former PGA champion Davis Love III.
 
Beem figured to be gone by now. He had not posted a top 10 since January, and needed one at Westchester simply to keep his season going. Now, he has a share of the 36-hole lead for the first time since his '02 PGA Championship victory at Hazeltine.
 
Best of all, he feels as though he is playing his best golf.
 
'You can play your way in,' Beem said of the new FedExCup format. 'I'm living proof of that.'
 
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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.