Woods Earned Title at 12th Hole

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- A small group of caddies huddled around a TV in the Royal & Ancient locker room, watching the engraver work furiously to finish off Tiger Woods' name on the claret jug as the British Open champion made his triumphant stroll up the 18th fairway.
``He could have done that 30 minutes ago, couldn't he?'' one of them asked rhetorically.
At least.
Woods effectively won his 10th career major about 75 minutes earlier, still six holes from finish. Three putts, in bang-bang-bang succession, effectively choked all the drama out of the 134th Open.
Colin Montgomerie made bogey on the difficult par-4 13th hole. Just behind at the short par-4 12th, Jose Maria Olazabal took bogey, too, before Woods tapped in for a birdie.
A tenuous two-stroke cushion over his two closest challengers became an overwhelming four-shot advantage for the world's best player.
Game over.
The rest of the day was a mere victory lap for Woods, who went on to a five-stroke victory over Montgomerie, with Olazabal landing another shot back in a tie for third.
``Tiger made the birdie on 12,'' Monty said, as brutally honest as ever, ``and that was that.''
Woods, who became only the third golfer to win 10 major championships, shot a bogey-free 34 on the front side that could have been much lower. His approach at No. 6 hit the flagstick, the ball deflecting back off the green. A punch wedge at 7 spun right by the cup, and Woods missed a 6-footer coming back. Another birdie got away at the eighth, a hole he nearly aced before botching a 4-footer.
When Woods made bogey at No. 10, a repeat of the Masters seemed possible. Back in April, the greatest closer in golf squandered a two-shot lead at Augusta National with bogeys on the final two holes, forcing a playoff against Chris DiMarco.
Granted, Woods bounced back to claim his fourth green jacket on the 19th hole, but this wasn't the same dominating golfer who won seven of 11 majors at the beginning of the new millennium
Woods' dominating facade took another hit at U.S. Open, when two late bogeys cost him a chance to run down Michael Campbell.
So, when Woods drove into a pot bunker at No. 10, leading to his first bogey of the round, a buzz swept across the Old Course. Could their beloved Monty pull off his first major? Could Olazabal get an Open to go with his two Masters wins.
Then came the 12th. Woods unleashed a monstrous drive and chipped to 4 feet. Olazabal put his ball in a gorse bush, came up short of the green, chipped to 12 feet and missed the par-saving putt.
At virtually the same time, Montgomerie stood over a 6-footer to save par. He, too, watched the ball slide by the hole.
Woods went to 14-under, Olazabal and Montgomerie to 10-under.
The Spaniard also moaned about his bogey at No. 6, which dropped him three strokes behind Wood.
``I had some bad swings on 6 and 12, and that's where my chances were done,'' Olazabal said. ``If I'd played those two holes well, then it could've been a different story.''
Maybe. But Woods had positioned himself well the first three days, starting out 66-67 and scrambling for a 1-under 71 Saturday even while driving twice into the prickly bushes, costing him a pair of one-stroke penalties.
Woods came to the final round with a two-shot advantage over Olazabal and a three-stroke cushion over Montgomerie and Retief Goosen.
The South African wasn't a factor, stumbling out of contention with bogeys on the first two holes and four of the first eight. He finished at 74 -- not as embarrassing as his collapse on the final day of the U.S. Open, but another poor showing with a major championship on the line.
Even though there were plenty of major winners and highly ranked golfers lined up behind Woods, no one seriously challenged. Eighteen players were within six strokes at the start of the day, and Bernhard Langer was the only one to break par, posting a 1-under 71 that wasn't nearly good enough.
When the official end came, the engraver having carved all 10 letters into the hallowed trophy in time for Woods to hold it aloft, Sean O'Hair settled onto a bench in front of that clubhouse TV. He had finished 5-under, 9 strokes back in a tie for 15th.
``I'm going to take a week off, then try to figure out how to compete with that guy,'' the PGA Tour rookie said.
``You had a good week,'' an R&A worker remarked.
O'Hair shook his head.
``I'm not even close,'' he said, glancing toward the TV, ``to that guy.''
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    Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

    SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

    The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

    ''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

    Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.

    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

    Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

    ''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

    Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

    ''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

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    Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

    JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

    In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

    Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

    Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.

    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

    Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

    Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

    ''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

    Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

    ''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

    Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

    Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

    ''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

    The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

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    Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

    Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

    Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

    Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

    Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

    One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.

    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

    In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

    On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

    "I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

    Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

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    Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

    Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

    And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

    Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.

    Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.