Day leads at Deutsche Bank Mickelson five back

By Doug FergusonSeptember 6, 2010, 2:07 am
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. – The final hole gave Jason Day a one-shot lead in the Deutsche Bank Championship. The final hour gave him a good idea of what he might expect for the Labor Day finish.

Day walked off the 15th green with a three-shot lead Sunday, feeling good about separating himself from the field.

It was gone in two holes.

Then came the par-5 18th, where Day stood just off the back of the green in two as he watched Snedeker make a mess of the easiest hole on the TPC Boston by hitting his approach into the hazard and his fourth shot in deep grass short of the green.

Jason Day
Jason Day is seeking his second PGA Tour win of the 2010 season. (Getty Images)
“I was thinking that he was going to just get up-and-down and make bogey, and I was going to make an eagle or birdie,” Day said. “That would have given me a nice little cushion going into tomorrow.”

It just didn’t work out that way.

Day capped off an exciting day with a routine birdie for a 5-under 66. In another strange twist Sunday, the largest cheer was for the guy who made par. Snedeker chipped in and shot 67, leaving him one shot behind.

“It would have been a tough way to end the day as well as I played coming in,” Snedeker said.

Just like so many other times at this tournament, the Deutsche Bank Championship could be up for grabs.

And so could the No. 1 ranking.

Tiger Woods could only manage one birdie over the last 11 holes and shot a 2-under 69, leaving him tied for 23rd and 10 shots out of the lead. That set the stage for Phil Mickelson or Steve Stricker to end his five-year run atop the world ranking.

Stricker is closer to the lead. Mickelson has better odds.

Both of them might have a tough time catching up to Day, the 22-year-old Australian who won the Byron Nelson Championship in May and is starting to play his best golf during the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Day was at 17-under 196, matching the 54-hole record at the TPC Boston set by Mike Weir two years ago.

Luke Donald, winless on the PGA Tour in more than four years, was steady again in his first tournament since being picked for Europe’s Ryder Cup team. He birdied the last hole for a 66 and was two shots behind.

Defending champion Stricker played his third straight round without a bogey for a 67 and was at 13-under 200 with Charley Hoffman (69).

Mickelson was in a group at 201 that included Geoff Ogilvy (65), who hasn’t finished in the top 10 since winning the season-opening SBS Championship; and Adam Scott (65), who won the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2003.

Snedeker was three shots behind going to the 16th tee when he made consecutive birdies – Day three-putted the 16th – to share the lead. But the final hole – the easiest at the TPC Boston with a tail wind – nearly got him. He didn’t hit enough club and went into the hazard, and after taking a penalty drop, his fourth shot barely cleared the hazard and stayed in the rough.

Snedeker set off one of the loudest cheers of the day when he chipped in to escape with par.

But this was a day for plenty of noise.

Vijay Singh made the rarest shot in golf – albatross – when he holed a 5-iron from 229 yards on the par-5 second hole for a cheer that resounded across the front nine.

“I hit it just like I wanted to and was hoping it was going to get up on the green somewhere, and it went in the hole,” said Singh, who had a 69 and was right on the bubble for getting into the third round next week at the BMW Championship.

It was the second straight year someone made an albatross on that hole, with John Senden doing it a year ago.

Mickelson felt like he was back in 2009, too.

A year ago on the 15th hole, facing a front left pin, he banged his approach off the flag and watched it roll off the green. He was determined not to let that happen again and said he told his caddie, “I’m going to try to just miss the pin.”

He missed his mark – and hit the pin.

The ball spun around, caught the false front and rolled into the rough. Instead of getting mad, Mickelson got even. He chipped in for a birdie, and gave his biggest fist pump of the day.

“That was a fun little moment, because that stuff happens,” Mickelson said.

This is the 10th tournament this year that Mickelson has had a mathematical chance of replacing Woods at No. 1 in the world, and one of his better chances. He was four shots behind going into the final round at Firestone and shot 78.

This time, Mickelson might only need to finish in fourth place alone, provided Woods is out of the top 24. And this time, he is far more confident in his driving, with only his iron play needing to get a little more sharp.

“I haven’t paid attention to what needs to happen,” Mickelson said. “But I’m looking forward to getting in the hunt tomorrow and seeing if I can get off to a good start and make some birdies.”

Woods keeps making progress, although not on the leaderboard.

He got off to a good start and got within four shots of the leaders – before they had teed off – until he stopped making putts. Woods made a difficult flop shot behind the 18th green look easy, hitting it to a foot for birdie. He appears safe to advance to the third round of the playoffs next week at Cog Hill, where he is the defending champion.

“I think I played better than what my score indicated,” Woods said. “I had a lot of putts that I didn’t make.”

Winning will have to wait, though. For the third consecutive tournament, Woods was at least nine shots out of the lead.

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CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.

Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.

Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.

Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.

TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

Live streamingWednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.

Key stats:

 This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia

• 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list

The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)

Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together

Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit

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Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:55 pm

Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.

While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.

"It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."

In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Web.com Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.

"There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."

Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.

"The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."

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CIMB champ Leishman hopes to improve on CJ runner-up

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

Marc Leishman is back in Korea with momentum on his side, hoping to fare a little better than a year ago.

Leishman nearly took home the trophy in the inaugural CJ Cup, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Justin Thomas. But the Aussie put his approach into the water on the second extra hole, allowing Thomas to wrap up the win a few minutes later.

"Excited to be back in Korea. I have a lot of good memories here at this golf course," Leishman told reporters. "Hopefully I can play well again and go one better than last year."

Leishman's playoff loss kick-started a strong opening stretch to his wraparound season, but he closed it without a victory. That drought ended in emphatic fashion last week, as he cruised to a five-shot win at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for his fourth career PGA Tour win and his third since March 2017.


CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


Leishman told reporters last week in Malaysia that before the week started, his driving was so crooked that he feared his equipment reps might need to add a few golf balls to his locker. Instead, he found his groove en route to shooting 26 under par at TPC Kuala Lumpur and leaving the field in his wake.

"Golf's a funny game. It can change very quickly from bad to good or from good to bad," Leishman said. "It was certainly a goal of mine to win this season, and to win my first event of the season is great. Also to be going back to Maui puts me in a different frame of mind for the whole year. For a lot of reasons, I'm really happy with what last week brought."

Leishman played on the Korean PGA Tour in 2006 while getting his pro career off the ground, but even with that experience he expects a learning curve while going from the steamy conditions of Malaysia to the cool and wet climate that has greeted players this week on Jeju Island.

"It's a big adjustment going from so hot and humid last week to fairly cold and hopefully not wet, but it was wet this morning," Leishman said. "The ball goes different distances, your body's not quite as loose as what it is when it's hot. Just little things like that that you have to adjust to."

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Bowditch eyes same fusion surgery as Tiger

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:03 pm

After struggling through a couple lean years on the course, Steven Bowditch is ready to go under the knife.

Bowditch has won twice on the PGA Tour, and the Aussie was a member of the International Team at the 2015 Presidents Cup in South Korea. But his game fell apart shortly thereafter, as Bowditch has made just two cuts in his last 40 starts dating back to July 2016 while putting up some eye-popping scores.

Bowditch's exemption for his win at the 2015 AT&T Byron Nelson expired in August 2017, and he spent last season without full-time status on Tour for the first time since 2010. He made eight starts, notably finding a caddie via Twitter search before missing the cut at the John Deere Classic in July.

But the 35-year-old revealed Tuesday that his on-course struggles have been tied to some health concerns that have been difficult to pinpoint. Having finally received the appropriate diagnosis, he is preparing for a spinal fusion surgery next month between the L5 and S1 vertebrae - the same two that Tiger Woods successfully fused last year:

Bowditch's estimate of a "late 2019" return likely means he'll miss the entire 2018-19 season. When he returns he would do so with past champion status based on his wins, which also included the 2014 Valero Texas Open.