Zingers Ryder Cup team begins taking shape

By Associated PressAugust 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Ben Curtis will have to ditch the NFL apparel next month for the Stars & Stripes. A runner-up finish in the PGA Championship on Sunday earned him his first trip to the Ryder Cup.
 
I love Ben Curtis a lot, and I love the fact hes made the team, U.S. captain Paul Azinger said.
 
Curtis lost out on a chance to win another major when he bogeyed two of the last four holes at Oakland Hills, but only later did he realize the consolation prize. His tie for second moved him from No. 20 to No. 7 in the standings, earning him one of the eight automatic spots in the qualifying that ended with the PGA Championship.
 
Its almost a victory in itself, said Curtis, who wears apparel of NFL teams when he plays on the PGA TOUR.
 
Three of the eight Americans who qualified will be Ryder Cup rookies ' Anthony Kim (No. 5), Curtis and Boo Weekley, who closed with a 66 to tie for 20th to secure the final spot.
 
Justin Leonard finished sixth and will play in the Ryder Cup for the first time since he holed that 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole at Brookline to cap off the largest rally in history in 1999. That also was the last time the Americans won.
 
Phil Mickelson tied for seventh and was atop the points list ' Tiger Woods clinched the No. 1 spot in June after winning the U.S. Open, but is out the rest of the year after reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
 
The rest of the U.S. qualifiers were Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk.
 
Azinger will announce his four captains picks on Sept. 2. Europe still has three tournaments left before 10 players qualify, and captain Nick Faldo will have two picks after that.
 
The Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.
 
Steve Stricker was at No. 8 in the standings going into the week, but he was hurt by a 77 in the third round. Stricker closed with a 69, but any chance of overtaking Weekley unfolded before his eyes.
 
I just wanted to shoot something good and see what happened, Stricker said. I thought maybe I could catch Boo, but he was playing right in front of me, so I knew by the last few holes that wasnt going to happen.
 
Curtis won the British Open in 2003 ' his first major ' but did not make the Presidents Cup team. He didnt figure to be on this Ryder Cup team until he was runner-up at the Wachovia Championship in early May, then tied for seventh in the British Open.
 
And then came his week at Oakland Hills, where he took the 54-hole lead by one shot and was still tied for the lead with four holes to play until a bogey from the rough on the 15th.
 
He deserves to be on the team, doesnt he? Stricker said. Hes stood up to the challenge all week.
 
Weekley matched Harrington for the best score of the final round and will bring his homespun speech to the U.S. team room. He did not stop for questions after his round so he could get to the airport.
 
Got to run, he said.
 
Brandt Snedeker, who was in 15th place, needed to finish at least seventh to have a chance. He was at 4 over for the tournament through six holes, but a double bogey on No. 7 sent him to a 73.
 
Its going to come down to how I play the next three events, said Snedeker, who defends his title next week in Greensboro. Hopefully, I can play well and get on his radar. Im disappointed, because I had a chance to take care of my own business this week, and now it is out of my control. Ive got to play well.
 
Sergio Garcia secured his spot on his fifth consecutive team for Europe with a runner-up finish, while Justin Rose stayed in the mix with a 71 in the final round to tie for ninth.
 
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    Haas nearly shoots age in taking Champions playoff opener lead

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 10:05 pm

    RICHMOND, Va.  -- Jay Haas shot a 7-under 65 - missing his age by a stroke - to take a two-shot lead Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

    Trying to become the oldest winner in tour history, the 64-year-old Haas birdied the par-5 16th and 18th holes to get to 11-under 133 on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

    ''I've been out here too long to know that I can learn to expect anything,'' Haas said. ''While I'm hopeful every day and I've been playing OK, the last couple weeks have not been very good, but this week has been much better. I love this golf course and it looks good to my eye. Most of the holes look like I'm going to hit a good shot, so I enjoy playing here.''

    Mike Fetchick set the age record of 63 years to the day in the 1985 Hilton Head event. Haas is second on the list, taking the 2016 Toshiba Classic at 62 years, 10 months, 7 days for his 18th senior title.

    ''That's a good way to say I'm old, 'experience,''' Haas said. ''I think I'm very nervous most of the time when I play and today was no exception, but I continued to hit good shots and, hopefully, I can put one foot in front of the other, one shot at a time, do what I tell my son to do every time, you know? See if I can put some of those adages to work tomorrow.''


    Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


    Stephen Ames and Scott Dunlap were tied for second after the round that started in light rain. Ames had a 67, and Dunlap shot 68.

    Defending champion Bernhard Langer had a 66 to join Billy Mayfair (67) and Woody Austin (68) at 9 under. Langer won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the season points lead. The 61-year-old German star has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

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

    Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, was tied for 23rd at 4 under after a 71.

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    Sergio leads by 4 entering final round at Valderrama

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 9:26 pm

    Sergio Garcia closed with three straight birdies to shoot a 7-under 64 on Saturday, taking a four-shot lead into the third and final round of the Andalusia Valderrama Masters.

    The tournament, which Garcia has won  twice (2017, 2011), was reduced to 54 holes because of numerous weather-related delays.

    With his bogey-free round, Garcia moved to 10 under, four shots clear of Englishman Ashley Chesters, who shot a 1-under 70.


    Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


    "Hopefully we'll be able to play well tomorrow and get another win at Valderrama," Garcia said. "Hopefully I can finish it in style."

    Chesters, however, is conceding nothing. "There's always a chance," he said. "There's not a lot of pressure on me."

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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

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    "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."