46-year-old Goosen leads by one at Riviera

By Doug FergusonFebruary 21, 2015, 2:01 am

LOS ANGELES - Retief Goosen handled the tough conditions at Riviera so well on Friday that it brought back some fond memories.

Sure, he's a two-time U.S. Open champion, and the Northern Trust Open drew some comparisons to golf's toughest test with its firm, fast conditions. For now, Goosen was just thrilled to be in the lead going into the weekend at any tournament.

Goosen rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on his final hole for a 1-under 70 and his first 36-hole lead in more than four years.

"It's been such a long time since I've last been in contention," Goosen said. "Who knows how my game is going to hold up? But I'm feeling good. My back is feeling great. So if the nerves can hold, just continue to make good golf swings and make a few good putts, who knows?"


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He was one shot ahead of Ryan Moore (68), Graham DeLaet (67) and Justin Thomas, the 21-year-old rookie who already has been in the weekend hunt twice this year. Thomas made three crucial par saves on his final nine holes for a 69.

It's easy to mention U.S. Open when the scores are high, especially on a course that once hosted one. But there was nothing easy about Riviera. Goosen was at 6-under 136, the highest 36-hole score to lead on the PGA Tour since the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, another U.S. Open venue.

"It's playing similar to a major championship," said Jordan Spieth, who had a 70 and was three shots behind. "And the rough ... there's really no rough. That's what is great about this place. It only takes a couple days for them to make it like a major, and they don't even have to do much."

Goosen, who turned 46 earlier this month and hasn't won in six years, has plenty of work ahead of him.

Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera made two bogeys over his last three holes for a 68 and was two shots behind. Defending champion Bubba Watson (69), Spieth and J.B. Holmes (69) were in the group three shots behind.

Nick Watney became the first player all week to reach 7 under early in the second round, and he was leading when he made the turn and made birdie on the par-5 first hole. He followed with four straight bogeys and shot 74, though he was still in range. Watney was in the large group at 2-under 140 that included Sergio Garcia (69), Vijay Singh (74) and Carlos Ortiz (73).

"If it continues to be like this, it's only going to get tougher," Goosen said. "There's going to be some tougher pins out there, and par will be a good score on a lot of these holes. ... The rough is thick in places. The greens are definitely becoming U.S. Open greens."

The rough isn't severe, but it doesn't have to be. The greens are so firm that it's difficult to get it close. Goosen had a sand wedge into the seventh green and it rolled out some 35 feet.

"It's just tough to have birdie chances that are reasonable on this golf course right now," Moore said. "The greens are so firm and so bouncy. I hit a handful of what I would say are as good of shots as I could possibly hit the last couple days and ended up with 45-footers."

Watson was moving closer to the lead with a 40-foot eagle on No. 1 (he started at No. 10) and a 25-foot birdie on the next hole. But he hit a wayward tee on the third that led to bogey, and finished with six straight pars.

"I haven't been able to get the ball as close as I want to," Watson said. "I made two long putts, which me look like I played really good today."

DeLaet and Thomas each saved their rounds with pars.

DeLaet, who rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt from the fringe on No. 4, had par putts of 10, 7, 6 and 5 feet the rest of the front nine for a solid round with just one bogey. Thomas saved par from the bunker in the middle of the green on the par-3 sixth hole and made an 8-foot par save on the next hole. He also made a 10-foot par putt on the long par-3 fourth hole.

"I felt like they were (worth) more than the birdie putts," Thomas said. "To leave it in the spots I did and get up-and-down for par was huge."

Goosen won his U.S. Opens at Southern Hills in a playoff and at Shinnecock Hills with his short game, particularly the putter. This only reminded him of a U.S. Open the way he had to fight for every score.

"I was working hard out there, keeping my score together and hopefully, this weekend it's going to be the same," he said. "It's going to be a grind out there."

DIVOTS: Mike Weir withdrew on his front nine with soreness in his right elbow. He said he would see a doctor and likely not be ready for the Honda Classic. ... Lucas Glover made a hole-in-one on the par-3 sixth hole, a tap-in birdie on the par-3 16th and 10-foot birdie on the par-3 fourth, the second-hardest hole at Riviera on Friday. He also had five bogeys, however, and missed the cut by one. ... The cut was at 3-over 145. Fred Couples missed a 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole and missed it by one shot.

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Next up for Koepka: Buddies and a bachelor party

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:46 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Coming off a successful title defense at the U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a nap. It appears he won’t be getting one anytime soon.

Koepka normally wakes up by 6 a.m. without using an alarm, but without much down time since his victory at Shinnecock Hills he slept in until 8:20 a.m. Sunday morning, prior to his 10:40 a.m. tee time. Any impact to his pre-round routine appeared negligible, as Koepka fired a 5-under 65 that included seven birdies over his first 13 holes.

“I felt like today was kind of the first day I got everything back,” Koepka said. “I was definitely running behind, but it was nice to catch up on some sleep.”

Koepka became the first U.S. Open winner to play the week after since Justin Rose in 2013, and he finished the Travelers at 9 under with four straight sub-par rounds. While he’s got some free time in the coming days, it won’t exactly be restful.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“We’ve got 11 guys that I’m pretty close with, so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them in Boston for a few days and then [getting] back down to West Palm for a night, and then we’re off to my best friend’s bachelor party,” Koepka said. “I was really hoping to get some rest, but I don’t know how much that will happen.”

Last year, Koepka took a month off following his U.S. Open win at Erin Hills, only touched a club once, and still finished T-6 at The Open at Royal Birkdale. While this will be his final competitive start before Carnoustie, he expects to make a strong run toward a third major title next month in Scotland.

“I’m shutting it down for a while. I don’t feel like I need to play,” Koepka said. “I feel like my game’s in a good spot, played really well this week. Just some stupid mistakes and mental errors. That’s all it was, lack of focus and low energy. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I did play well though, I putted well, and I’m somewhat pleased.”

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Spieth ends busy stretch without top-10 finish

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:39 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – There were no final-round heroics this time around for Jordan Spieth at the Travelers Championship.

After taking the title last year with perhaps the most memorable shot of the year, Spieth appeared poised to make a robust defense of his title after an opening-round 63 gave him a share of the lead. But that proved to be as good as it would get, as he played the next three rounds in a combined 3 over to drop outside the top 40 on the final leaderboard.

It marked the end of a pedestrian run of six events in seven weeks for Spieth, during which his best finish was a tie for 21st at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

“A lot of cut-line golf, which is somewhat unusual historically for me, fortunately,” Spieth said after closing with a 1-under 69. “Kind of a grind, but I made actually a lot of progress where I needed to within the last few weeks.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth has struggled to get on track on the greens this year, but he has started to turn a corner in recent weeks, specifically during a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, and he picked up more than three shots on the field this week in strokes gained: putting.

“My putting’s right on point where it needs to be. It’s getting better every single week,” Spieth said. “It’s the best it’s been in a couple years.”

Unfortunately for Spieth, a slight uptick in putting has coincided with some regression from his normally reliable ball-striking. Of the 74 players who made the cut at TPC River Highlands, he ranked 61st in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

“I’ve just got to kind of get my alignment back in order on the full swing. It’s tough when you swing and you think you hit a good shot, and you look up and the ball’s, it could be 15 yards right or 15 yards left, and it’s all because of alignment,” Spieth said. “It’s literally the same thing I went through with the putting. I’ve just got to find a way to get it back on track with the full swing.”

Having concluded a busy stretch, Spieth noted that he now has “a few weeks off.” But still in search of his first quality chance to contend heading into a final round this year, he didn’t rule out the notion of adding a start before defending his title at Carnoustie next month.

Spieth is not in the field for next week’s Quicken Loans National, but he won the John Deere Classic in both 2013 and 2015, which will be played the week before The Open.

“As far as leading into The Open, we’ll see,” Spieth said. “Last year I went in after three weeks off and it didn’t hurt me. So I believe I can get the work in whether I’m playing or not, to get the repetitions.”

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.



Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''


Full-field scores from the BMW International Open


Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.