Watson shares Travelers lead with Hoffman, DeLaet

By Associated PressJune 22, 2013, 10:07 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Charley Hoffman lost his chance at winning last year's Travelers Championship on the 71st hole.

His tee shot on the difficult par-4 17th at the TPC of River Highlands found the pond that runs along the fairway and he finished second, missing out on his third PGA Tour win.

This year Hoffman is in a three-way tie for the lead heading into Sunday's final round and he expects a different outcome.

''Obviously if I get on 17 tee (in the lead), I'd be lying to say I'm not going to think about that tee shot,'' Hoffman said Saturday after his 4-under 66 tied him with Bubba Watson and Graham DeLaet at 10-under 200.

''But I'm a much more mature, better player than I was a year ago and don't feel uncomfortable on that tee shot.''

Watson, who led by two shots when he began the third round and by four shots midway through it, made three bogeys in his last six holes to help create the logjam. DeLaet tied for the low round of the day with a 65.


Highlights: Watson shares lead as Travelers heads to Sunday

Travelers Championship: Articles, videos and photos


Chris Stroud and Nick O'Hearn are one shot back of the leaders at 9 under, while Ken Duke's 65 put him alone in sixth place.

Justin Rose, less than a week after his U.S. Open victory, is 7 under and in a tie for seventh after a second straight 68.

After shooting a 61 in the opening round, Hoffman struggled and shot 73 on Friday. He bounced back with a 66 Saturday that included five birdies.

''I got off to a pretty quick start and then birdied 10, thought I was going to get going again,'' Hoffman said. ''And then a little three-putt bogey on 12 sort of slowed things down.''

Watson made three birdies in his first six holes Saturday and was ahead by four shots after the third. But bogeys on Nos. 13, 15 and 17 brought the 2012 Masters champion back to the field.

Watson, who won the 2010 Travelers, is trying to become the seventh man to win the event at least twice. Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson have also done it.

''I hit some shots today that were really good, quality shots,'' said Watson, who carded an even-par 70. ''I got a couple bad breaks here and there, but that's golf. At the end of the day I still have a chance on Sunday and that's what we're always looking for.''

DeLaet may be playing this week in New England but many of his thoughts are with his native Canada. The heavy rain and flooding in Alberta forced the PGA Tour Canada to cancel its event this week, just one of the many issues the area is facing.

The 2009 Canadian Tour player of the year has pledged to donate $1,000 for every birdie he makes this weekend and $2,500 for every eagle to help the relief efforts.

''It's a pretty small part, what we're doing, but anything helps,'' said DeLaet, a native of Weyburn, Saskatchewan. ''There's a lot of help from everyone all across Canada.''

DeLaet first made it to 10 under after beginning his back nine with four straight birdies. A bogey at the difficult par-3 16th put a slight damper on his round, but DeLaet finished strong by delicately rolling in a downhill putt from the fringe on the 18th hole.

''I did play well pretty much all day. I had a lot of good birdie chances on the front nine, just couldn't really seem to find the hole,'' DeLaet said. ''Julien (Trudeau), my caddie, just told me to stay patient.''

Watson began the day with a two-shot lead and immediately began to extend it. After saving par on the first hole with a sliding, 7-foot putt, Watson made birdie at No. 2 by hitting a wedge some 2 feet from the hole. He followed that by draining a 30-foot putt from the front edge on No. 3 for a second straight birdie.

Another birdie at the par-5 sixth gave Watson a four-shot lead and he seemed ready to lap the field. Watson also made relatively lengthy par-saving putts on Nos. 7 and 10.

The smallest cracks in Watson's armor appeared at the par-5 13th, where his drive faded too far left and ended up in a fairway bunker.

He was still short of the green after three shots and eventually made bogey, his first of the day and first in his last 30 holes.

He made another bogey at the easiest hole at the TPC of River Highlands, the 296-yard, par-4 15th. His drive left him just 50 feet from the hole but his putt through the fringe didn't make it up the steep hill in front of the green. A chip and two putts followed, moving Watson back to 11 under.

Watson's final bogey came on the 17th and was the result of a tee shot pushed left into a fairway bunker.

The lack of rain recently combined with an increase in the wind late Saturday made TPC of River Highlands, one of the shortest courses on Tour, increasingly difficult for the players.

''I think we've never seen the golf course like this, as firm as it is and as firm as some of the greens are,'' Watson said. ''It's hard to get to certain points, so a lot of people probably played it safe.''

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Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2021, 3:52 pm

Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.

European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.

Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.

Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.

Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.

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Austin wins Champions tour's playoff opener

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:35 pm

RICHMOND, Va. -- Woody Austin shot a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer on Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

The 54-year-old Austin finished with an 11-under total for three rounds at The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course. He won his fourth senior title and first since 2016.

Langer, the defending tournament champion and season points leader, birdied the final hole for a 70. The winner last week in North Carolina, the 61-year-old German star closed the front nine with consecutive birdies, but had several birdie putts slide on the back.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


Austin dropped a stroke behind Jay Haas and Stephen Ames with a bogey on the par-3 14th. He got that back with a birdie on the par-4 15th and also birdied the par-5 closing hole.

The 64-year-old Haas, the second-round leader after a 65, had a 74 to tie for third with Fran Quinn (69) and Kent Jones (70) at 9 under. Haas was bidding to become the oldest winner in the history of the tour for players 50 and older.

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 move on to the Invesco QQQ Championship next week in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

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After Further Review: American success stories

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 8:35 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the global nature of Koepka's rise to No. 1 ...

Brooks Koepka is an American superstar, and a two-time winner of his national open. But his rise to world No. 1 in, of all places, South Korea, emphasizes the circuitous, global path he took to the top.

After winning the CJ Cup by four shots, Koepka was quick to remind reporters that he made his first-ever start as a pro in Switzerland back in 2012. He cracked the top 500 for the first time with a win in Spain, and he broke into the top 100 after a good week in the Netherlands.

Koepka languished on the developmental Challenge Tour for a year before earning a promotion to the European Tour, and he didn’t make a splash in the States until contending at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

It’s a testament to Koepka’s adaptability and raw talent that he can handle the heights of Crans-Montana as well as the slopes of Shinnecock Hills or rough of Nine Bridges. And as the scene shifts to China next week, it highlights the global nature of today’s game – and the fact that the best in the world can rise to the occasion on any continent. - Will Gray


On the resurgence of American women  ...

American women are on a nice roll again. Danielle Kang’s victory Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai was the third by an American over the last five events. Plus, Annie Park and Marina Alex, emerging American talents looking for their second victories this season, tied for second. So did American Brittany Altomare. Two years ago, Americans won just twice, their fewest victories in a single season in LPGA history. Overall, women from the United States have won seven times this season.

The Americans are making their move with Stacy Lewis on maternity leave and with Lexi Thompson, the highest ranked American in the world, still looking for her first victory this year. Yes, the South Koreans have won nine times this season, but with four LPGA events remaining in 2018 the Americans actually have a chance to be the winningest nation in women’s golf this year. With all the grief they’ve received the last few years, that would be a significant feat. - Randall Mell

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In Buick win, Kang overcame demons of mind and spirit

By Randall MellOctober 21, 2018, 3:33 pm

Danielle Kang beat three of the most formidable foes in golf Sunday to win the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Anger.

Kang overcame these demons of mind and spirit to win for the second time on tour, backing up her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory last year.

“I’ve been going through a lot mentally,” Kang said.

Kang birdied four of the last eight holes to close with a 3-under-par 69, coming from one shot back in the final round to win. At 13-under 275, she finished two shots ahead of a pack of seven players, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (66).

It hasn’t been easy for Kang trying to build on her major championship breakthrough last year. She started the fall Asian swing having missed three cuts in a row, five in her last six starts.

“I had to go through swing changes,” Kang said. “I had the swing yips, the putting yips, everything possibly you could think of.

“I was able to get over a lot of anxiety I was feeling when I was trying to hit a golf ball. This week I just kept trusting my golf game.”

Through her swoon, Kang said she was struggling to get the club back, that she was getting mentally stuck to where she could not begin her takeaway. She sought out Butch Harmon, back at her Las Vegas home, for help. She said tying for third at the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week felt like a victory, though she was still battling her demons there.

“Anxiety over tee balls,” Kang said. “People might wonder what I'm doing. I actually can't pull the trigger. It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me. Even on the first round, one shot took me, I think, four minutes.”

Kang, who turned 26 on Saturday, broke through to win last year under swing coach David Leadbetter, but she began working with Harmon while struggling in the second half this year.


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


“I was actually very frustrated, even yesterday,” Kang said. “Things just weren't going my way. The biggest thing that Butch tells me is to stay out of my own way. I just couldn't do that. If I had a short putt, I just kept doubting myself. I couldn't putt freely.”

Kang said her anger and frustration built up again on the front nine Sunday. She made the turn at 1 over for the round. She said her caddie, Oliver Brett, helped her exorcise some anger. After the ninth hole, he pulled her aside.

This is how Kang remembered the conversation:

Brett: “Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.”

Kang: “Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard.”

Brett: “Here's a wedge. Just smash it.”

Kang did.

“Honestly, I thank him for that,” Kang said. “He told me there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped, and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things changed and momentum started going my way. I started hitting it closer and felt better over the putts.”

Kang said the victory was all about finding a better place mentally.

“I'm just so happy to be where I'm at today,” Kang said. “I'm just happy that I won.

“More so than anything, I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life . . . . I hope I win more. I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.”