Four-way tie for AT&T National lead after Round 3

By Doug FergusonJune 30, 2013, 1:01 am

BETHESDA, Md. – Roberto Castro went from a share of the lead to five shots behind in three holes. He finished the third round of the AT&T National by hitting a 5-iron left of the 18th green and into the water. And he still managed to be part of a four-way tie for the lead.

''Wild day,'' he said.

Not just for Castro. It was like that for just about everyone Saturday at Congressional.

Bill Haas hit a wedge into the water and made triple bogey on the 11th hole to fall five shots behind. Four holes and three birdies later, he had the outright lead. He was helped by Andres Romero, who squandered a three-shot lead in two holes by hitting his tee shot into a creek.

With all that action, James Driscoll must have felt as if he missed out on all the fun. All he did was post his third straight round in the 60s to join the leaders.


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Castro put the perfect finishing touch on a theatrical afternoon by taking his penalty drop from the water on No. 18 and chipping in from 80 feet for par. That enabled him to salvage an even-par 71 and claim a share of the lead with Haas (68), Driscoll (68) and Romero, who closed with six pars for a 70.

''Saving a bogey would have been huge,'' Castro said. ''Making a par is just a bonus.''

They were at 7-under 206, which means next to nothing - not with 10 players separated by three shots going into the final round, with seven of those players looking for their first PGA Tour victory.

''This is as good a chance as I've had for sure,'' Driscoll said. ''But there's still 18 holes to go.''

Still in the mix is 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, who had a two-shot lead after opening with a pair of birdies. He also went through a five-hole stretch when he missed five putts inside 8 feet - including a three-putt from 5 feet for double bogey on No. 8. The Texas teen had a 74, though he's still in the game, just three shots behind.

''Making a double on the easiest hole on the course, and then following up with bogey on a par 5 with a lob wedge in my hand, it was very difficult at the turn for me to stay calm and hit good shots to start the back nine,'' Spieth said. ''Maybe lost a couple of shots with my emotions there, which is upsetting. But like I said, I shot 5 under yesterday. I could shoot 5 under tomorrow and be in great position.''

Jason Kokrak had a 70 and was one shot out of the lead, while Charlie Wi had a 29 on the front nine and shot 65 to finish two shots behind, along with Tom Gillis (66). Spieth was in the group at 209 with Brandt Snedeker, who had a 69.

Haas might be better off except for a pair of wedges. One went into the water on the 11th leading to triple bogey, another came up short on the par-5 16th and led to a bogey. The bright side was his nine birdies to offset that triple and three bogeys.

''The back nine, I didn't really know where I was going,'' Haas said. ''Luckily after that triple, I was able to hit three decent iron shots and then make the putt. Certainly, it could have been a 6-, 7-, 8-under day. But it also could have been a 4-, 5-, 6-over day if I hadn't putted well. I don't really know what to make of how I'm playing. Just got to hopefully do more good than bad tomorrow.''

Romero was the only player to reach 10 under at any point, with four birdies on the front nine, including a sand wedge out of ankle-deep rough left of the eighth fairway to about 5 feet. He was sailing along until he set up for a fade on the 11th hole and came off the shot, sending it into the hazard.

Castro's problems were early, and not entirely up to him. After a bogey on the par-3 second hole when he was on the down slope of a bunker to a short pin, he hit a tee shot right of the third fairway. Just his luck, the ball landed in the soft sand at the edge of the grass and disappeared. The ball was buried under an inch of sand that Castro had to scrape away just to make sure the ball was his. He took a penalty shot to drop it in the middle of the bunker, couldn't reach the green and made double bogey.

''Nothing good was going to happen if I swung at it,'' he said. ''And I thought, 'If I dropped, pitched out, I could make bogey or double, which is not the end of the world.' I didn't need to sit there and make 8 or something.''

Through it all, the son of Peruvian parents with an industrial engineering degree from Georgia Tech never panicked.

''Over four days here, every player is going to hit kind of a rough patch,'' Castro said. ''I don't see it being easy out here. ... So mine just came early today, and I just tried to survive it.''

It looked early on as though the more times Spieth put himself in contention, the more comfortable he would be. That only lasted a short time.

He opened with a 10-foot birdie putt and followed that with a tee shot that used the backstop perfectly on the par-3 second, the ball rolling back down the hill to 2 feet for a tap-in birdie. After a good par on the third hole, he had a two-shot lead.

Five holes later, he was four shots behind.

That's how quickly the scores changed on a balmy Saturday at Congressional - not just for Spieth, but for everyone.

Spieth's troubles began when he missed the green long and right on the fifth hole, leaving him a downhill chip to an elevated green. The best he could do was 15 feet and he missed his par putt, ending his streak of 33 straight holes without a bogey.

He missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-5 sixth. After hitting 3-wood into thick rough left of the fairway at No. 8 and hacking out short of the green, Spieth had a chance to save par until he three-putted from 5 feet. And on the ninth, his wedge spun off the front of the green and rolled down the hill, leading to another bogey. If that wasn't enough, he missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the 10th.

''I think the way this course is set up with this thick of rough and narrow fairways, if you don't drive it good, you can make bogey on any hole,'' Haas said. ''The greens are soft enough that if you hit good drives, you can hit it close. You're seeing birdies, but you're also seeing some loose shots gets penalized.''

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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 fired 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.

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).


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Local favorite Yu Liu was in sole possession of seventh place 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.


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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."

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Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


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"It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.