Tiger Stumbles Hands Sabbatini Wachovia Lead

By Associated PressMay 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Wachovia ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rory Sabbatini holed out for eagle from the first fairway and picked up even more ground with a birdie on the final hole on a thrilling Saturday at the Wachovia Championship, giving him a share of the course record with an 8-under 64 and a final pairing he wanted with Tiger Woods.
 
For those who miss the excitement once found at the Augusta National, this was the place to be.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods had the lead, but gave it away late Saturday. (WireImage)
Sabbatini, Vijay Singh and Arron Oberholser all made eagle from the fairway, and players jockeyed for position along the back nine with an array of birdies that brought Quail Hollow to life on a gray afternoon of light rain.
 
And there was one more comparison worthy of the Masters -- Woods took bogey on his final two holes and had to settle for a 68, knocking him out of the lead, just as he did in the third round at the Masters last month.
 
But he wasn't alone dropping shots at the end of a wild round.
 
Phil Mickelson challenged for the lead until a peculiar decision to hit a hybrid from thick grass on the slope above a creek, hitting into the water to take double bogey on the 18th. Oberholser was tied for the lead until his fairway bunker shot found the creek on the 18th, and he finished with a double bogey.
 
Singh nearly went into the creek, then rolled up his pants to his knees to stand in the water and play out of the hazard. He nearly escaped with par, but his 45-foot putt cruelly caught the left edge of the cup.
 
When it ended in darkness brought on by a two-hour delay, it left thousands of fans eager to return for the final round.
 
Sabbatini was at 11-under 205 and will be in the final group with Woods, who saved bogey from the creek and was one shot behind. The spunky South African won at Riviera two years ago and heard murmurs that it wasn't that great of a victory because Woods had withdrawn on the weekend with the flu.
 
'He's here this week -- best opportunity I've had to put any of that criticism or doubt aside,' Sabbatini said.
 
Singh roared to life with a birdie-birdie-eagle start to his back nine, and wound up with a 69 and was at 207. He will be paired with Oberholser, who had a 69.
 
Steve Stricker shot 66 and was at 208 with Ken Duke (68).
 
Mickelson, who chipped in for eagle on the par-5 fifth, was still in the hunt after a 68 put him four shots behind.
 
Some thought the Masters was dull this year after a convergence of firm conditions, cold weather and wicked wind on the weekend that kept birdies at a minimum and the crowd quiet.
 
The Wachovia Championship has all the trappings of a major, and it certainly sounded like one Saturday. Even in dour weather, pockets of cheers resounded across Quail Hollow throughout the day, and the ever-changing leaderboard added to the thrills.
 
'There was a sense of Augusta because typically this is a golf course where there's a lot of people out there and ... you're fairly close, so you can hear everything that's going on,' Sabbatini said. 'There were a lot of big roars. It was a fun day of golf.'
 
Sabbatini led off the show by holing out from 72 yards on the first hole for eagle to quickly surge into a share of the lead, and staying there most of the afternoon. Then came Oberholser, holing out for eagle on the third hole from 146 yards to briefly take the lead.
 
Mickelson chipped in for eagle on the fifth hole and Carl Petterson did the same on the 10th.
 
'We've heard a lot of roars today -- I mean, a lot of big roars,' Stricker said. 'I didn't know who was doing it, but obviously, there were some great shots.'
 
The biggest might have come from Singh.
 
From the first cut on the right side of the 12th fairway, 161 yards from the hole, he had to bend his shot slightly around a tree line and twisted his body, trying to get a look at the elevated green. He really didn't need to see anything -- the crowd noise told him everything.
 
The ball banged into the back of the cup and settled at the bottom, thrusting Singh into a share of the lead.
 
Woods was the only one who didn't do anything spectacular, although the cheers for eagles -- especially Singh's shot -- brought him to life with four birdies in a five-hole stretch that put him atop the leaderboard at 12 under.
 
After Singh repaired the cup from his eagle, Woods holed a 12-foot birdie putt to join a four-way tie for the lead. Then came a 12-foot birdie on the 14th, and after hitting into the rough on the par-5 15th, he holed an 18-foot birdie to take the outright lead.
 
The key was to finish the round before darkness and to avoid bogeys.
 
At least they finished.
 
Divots:
Five players had at least a share of the lead Saturday, although J.B. Holmes made only a brief visit. He went out in 31, but two double bogeys on the back nine sent him to a 40. ... Trevor Immelman made eight birdies in his round of 68. ... The tour moved the tees up 40 yards on the eighth hole, making it play just over 300 yards to tempt players to go for the green. It caused a backup that stretched to the fifth tee.
 
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    Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

    By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

    Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

    Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

    He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

    "It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

    "I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

    Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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    Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

    After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

    ''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

    Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

    Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    ''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

    Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

    ''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

    Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

    Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

    Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

    ''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

    Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

    Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

    Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

    ''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

    Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

    The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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    Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

    By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

    Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

    "It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

    "So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

    "I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

    "So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

    "So I know it's right around the corner."

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    Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

    ''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

    Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

    Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

    Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).


    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


    Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

    ''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

    He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

    ''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

    Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

    ''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

    Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

    ''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

    Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

    ''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

    He said his game has long been unpredictable.

    ''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''