Els grabs solo lead at WGC-CA Championship

By Doug FergusonMarch 13, 2010, 1:13 am

2010 WGC-CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Ernie Els was in the lead and off the golf course, and he wasn’t sure which made him feel better.

Rushing to finish as dark clouds gathered over the Blue Monster, Els made one last birdie for a 6-under 66 and a one-shot lead over Robert Allenby before heavy rain temporarily halted play Friday in the CA Championship.

Eighteen players had to wait nearly three hours before they could resume the second round. When it finally ended, Els had his first lead after any round on U.S. soil since he won the Honda Classic two years ago.

“It’s in the books, and we were pretty lucky to get done,” he said. “We ran the last two holes just to get in the house.”

He was at 10-under 134, courtesy of three straight birdies early in his round, when his shotmaking was supreme, and how he held it together when the wind and weather changed quickly and dramatically.

Els was standing over his tee shot on the par-3 fourth when he felt a gust, not unusual except that this one felt cold.

“I’m just about to pull the club back and I just felt this chill come over. And I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’ And the wind just changed right there,” he said.

He came up short of the green and scrambled for par.

“Very, very strange,” Els said. “I think the only other time I had that happen was in Scotland when the tide changed. Other than that, I’ve never seen that happen.”

Allenby was tied for the lead until a three-putt from 50 feet in rain so strong he could barely see the flag. The bogey gave him a 67 and will put him in the final group with Els on Saturday.

Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, whose father once competed with Els, got up-and-down for par behind the 18th green when the round resumed to finish off a 70. He was at 7-under 137, along with Bob Hope Classic champion Bill Haas, who had a 66.

Padraig Harrington (68) and Soren Hansen (69) were at 6-under 138, while defending champion Phil Mickelson had a 69 and was six shots out of the lead at 140.

Allenby’s moment with the weather came on his 11th hole, the 404-yard second, which some players can reach off the tee with the wind at the back. Allenby chose a 5-wood to play conservatively, and he was expecting to hit a wedge. The wind reversed direction as his ball was in the air, and when he got to his ball, Allenby had to hit a 6-iron from 147 yards.

It was so bizarre that Allenby and Lucas Glover each hit 5-wood. Then the wind switched and Jim Furyk, the last to play in their group, had to hit driver. He still didn’t get it past them.

“It got tricky, that’s for sure,” Allenby said.

Allenby’s round featured a pair of eagles – one of them a 7-iron from the right rough on the downwind, par-5 first hole to about 12 feet, the other a 5-wood for a hole-in-one on the difficult par-3 13th, which played 232 yards into the wind.

He also had a few blunders, playing out of the sand far too much on the 16th hole on his way to double bogey and his final bogey.

Els, who lives a block away from Allenby in Palm Beach Country, was far more consistent. He had to scramble for a few pars right about the time the weather shifted, but otherwise was close to flawless.

That was a sharp change from last week at the Honda Classic, when he failed to break par and finished at the bottom of the pack. The Big Easy put in some big work over the weekend and all the way until it was time to tee off in this World Golf Championship. It’s something he has battled his entire career, falling into bad habits as his alignment, posture and stance gets out of sync.

By Wednesday, he started feeling everything fall back into place. Through two rounds, he is getting the most important feedback.

Els turned 40 last fall. Although he doesn’t believe his career is winding down, he feels refreshed and rested from a reduced travel schedule and wants to be sure his game is sharp.

“When you are like that mentally, you want to have a bit of game with that,” he said. “So that’s why I really wanted to get my mechanics right and give myself a really good chance. If I can get those two flowing, I think I might have some good stuff happening.”

He was at his best early in the round, starting with a 7-iron from the rough to 4 feet on the 14th hole. He followed with a 7-iron to about 10 feet, then a wedge that settled 2 feet from the hole on the 16th.

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Paisley (61) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.


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''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.


Projected FedExCup standings

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“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.


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“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

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Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.


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“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.