Toms blows seven-shot lead at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 22, 2011, 1:58 am

FORT WORTH, Texas – Charlie Wi began the third round at Colonial just hoping to cut into playing partner David Toms’ big lead. Wi certainly never expected to be leading at the end of the day at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. 

Toms blew a seven-stroke margin Saturday, and Wi took the lead with a 32-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th hole. At 13 under after a 4-under 66, Wi had a one-stroke stroke edge over Toms – and the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.

“I’m very pleasantly surprised. I played really well today and David didn’t,” Wi said. “It’s such a crazy game. I don’t know what to say.”

Soon after a weather delay of 1 hour, 20 minutes, Wi’s tee shot at No. 16 landed on the back side of the green and Toms pushed his shot right into the rough. Wi holed the birdie putt before Toms’ 16-foot par chance just missed for a two-stroke swing that changed the top of the leaderboard.

“Tough day overall,” said Toms, who shot 74 after building his huge lead with bogey-free 62s.

Toms opened with a birdie Saturday, but had three bogeys in a five-hole stretch while Wi got started with consecutive birdies.

Even worse for Toms was a three-putt from 7 1/2 feet for double bogey at No. 14, where Wi chipped to 12 feet to save par before the delay.

“Until then I was still three behind him, so I wasn’t even thinking about the lead or anything,” Wi said. “Then it’s `Wow, I’m only one shot behind him.’ I knew it was getting a lot more interesting than how I envisioned when I started the day.”

Wi made his 100th cut in 147 PGA Tour events this weekend, but the 39-year-old South Korean has never won.

The 44-year-old Toms is a 12-time winner, but is looking for his first victory in more than five years. He is coming off a playoff loss to K.J. Choi last weekend at The Players Championship.

While Toms now has another disappointment to overcome, at least he still has one more round to play at Hogan’s Alley.

“I’m right where I set out to be when I started this week,” Toms said. “I certainly would like to be sitting here with a 10-stroke lead and trying to break some record or something like that. It’s all about getting in position and see how I do. I did well last Sunday with a chance, but didn’t quite get there.”

John Senden, who began the third round with Wi in a quartet of players seven strokes back, shot even par and was third alone at 9 under. Stuart Appleby (67), Paul Goydos (67) and Mark Wilson (71) were 8 under.

After blasting out of a frontside bunker at the par-4 14th, Toms three-putted for his first double bogey in a stretch of 343 holes at Colonial. That coupled with Wi’s impressive up-and-down at the same hole cut the gap to one stroke.

Before Toms and Wi finished No. 15, play was stopped because of an approaching storm. Only a little bit of rain fell before play resumed and both made their par putts.

Toms got to 17 under with his opening birdie Saturday at the 565-yard first hole, chipping from just short of the green to 6 feet. Then came a couple of bad bounces and three bogeys.

His approach at the par-4 second hit on the front of the green but rolled back into the greenside bunker. He blasted to about 19 feet and two-putted for his first bogey in 38 holes.

“From there, he kind of lost the momentum a little bit, but I didn’t think I was going to be able to close the gap like I did,” Wi said.

After missing the fairway left at No. 3 and hitting a low liner approach that stopped just short of the green, Toms pushed a 5 1/2 -foot par chance just right of the hole.

At the difficult 247-yard fourth hole, his tee shot landed in the frontside bunker so deep that the 5-foot-10 Toms’ head was barely visible from the back of the green when he blasted to 9 feet. When he made that putt, he had a slight fist pump that was more relief than celebration.

But Toms got another bad break when his approach at No. 6 rolled off the right side of the green. He chipped 9 feet past the hole and couldn’t save the par, and walked away holding both hands out.

“I felt like after the first six holes, I was just hanging on,” he said. “Trying not to make a mistake rather than going out and playing great. That’s probably what that big lead does for you. … I really never felt nervous. I just didn’t feel as confident out there today. I just didn’t feel in control, and that’s a bad feeling.”

After carding 31s on both nines on each of the first two rounds, Toms finished the front side Saturday at 2-over 37. He had already missed five greens, matching his total for the first two rounds.

Still, at that point, Toms was 14 under with a three-stroke lead over Wi and Wilson, playing in the group ahead.

“It can happen fast on this golf course, you can go either way quickly,” he said. “There are some birdie holes if you’re playing great and there’s a lot of bogeys out there to be had if you’re not.”

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Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

In a story first reported by, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.

Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

McCarron won the Senior Players Championship last year for his first senior major.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.