Furyk takes Saturday lead at East Lake

By Doug FergusonSeptember 25, 2010, 11:53 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA – Jim Furyk ended a demanding round with an even-par 70 in the Tour Championship. It was just enough to give him a one-shot lead Saturday, and not nearly enough to allow him to think ahead to a possible $10 million payoff.

There were simply too many players right behind, too many possibilities going into the final round of the FedEx Cup.

Furyk scrambled for two good bogeys on the back nine and two consecutive birdies late on another steamy day at East Lake to build a one-shot lead over Retief Goosen and Luke Donald going into the final round Sunday.

Goosen, who won the Tour Championship in 2004 on a rare occasion that Tiger Woods didn’t hold a 54-hole lead, didn’t make a bogey until the final hole and shot a 4-under 66. Donald was atop the leaderboard most of the round until a three-putt double bogey on No. 15, the only par 5 on the back nine. He shot a 71.

“I have to win tomorrow, and the idea is just to go out and do the best I can to do that,” said Furyk, who was at 8-under 202.

The top three on the leaderboard can win the FedEx Cup, along with Geoff Ogilvy (72) at 5-under 205.

But it’s not as simple as winning.

Paul Casey, who shot a 69 and tied for fifth at 4-under 206, could still win the FedEx Cup by finishing in second place alone. Charley Hoffman, another shot back at 207 after his 69, still has a chance win the $10 million bonus if he were to finish alone in third.

Never has the FedEx Cup finale had so many possibilities.

“In the past, we had an idea who was going to win, or who had already won,” Goosen said, referring to Tiger Woods in 2007 and 2009, and Vijay Singh in 2008 when the points system was so skewed that the Fijian had already clinched the cup when he showed up at East Lake.

A half-dozen players have a realistic chance at winning the FedEx Cup.

It starts with playing well on Sunday, when the tee times will be early because rain is in the forecast that could dramatically change the fast, firm conditions of East Lake.

And as Donald showed in the third round, it all can change so quickly.

The Englishman was never out of the lead until he dumped his third shot into the bunker on the par-5 15th up the hill into a far corner of East Lake. He blasted out to about 12 feet, then ran his par putt 3 feet by. Donald hit the next putt too firmly to catch the grain, and he walked off with a shocking double bogey.

Furyk, who holed a 10-foot birdie, suddenly had a two-shot lead.

“It was frustrating to give away a couple there,” Donald said. “But I hit a lot of good shots today. I’m in great position – still just one back, and this is the last Sunday of the regular tour, and I’ve got a chance to win it all. So that’s nice to know.”

Goosen has a chance to cap off a solid year with a victory, something he has failed to do. His nine top 10s are second on tour only to Matt Kuchar, although the two-time U.S. Open champion has never come seriously close to winning.

What a time it would be to end that drought. Goosen has a chance to walk away with $11.35 million, including the bonus. He was asked if ever imagined winning $10 million in a single day when he turned pro.

“Maybe 10 million Zimbabwean dollars,” the South African said.

Ogilvy fell out of the hunt quickly, with a bogey on the first hole and a double bogey on the next one. He battled his way around, however, and finished with a 10-foot birdie that seemed to take 10 minutes to trickle down the slope and fall in the side of the cup. That left him only three shots behind.

And if anyone needed evidence a low score was available at East Lake, consider Nick Watney. His caddie has been calling him “Melba” all week because Watney is so tired from a long year – and with his wedding a month away – that he’s toast. Watney had never heard of Melba toast, which was just as well. He resembled a jalapeno on Saturday, making seven birdies on the back nine for a 28, and shooting a 63 that put him all the way to 2-under 208 and in eighth place.

Phil Mickelson shot a 68 and was seven shots behind, enough to hope, but little more than that. He also would need a victory to have any chance of winning the FedEx Cup for the first time, and six shots out of second place. That’s what Lefty needs to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world ranking.

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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, given how his career has unfolded, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major.

"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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Ahead by four, No. 1 ranking within Koepka's 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), 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 behind overnight leader Scott Piercy 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: 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.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama and Emiliano Grillo signed for 66. Casey went seven straight holes without a par, Matusyama was bogey-free, and Grillo did all his damage on the back nine after nine consecutive pars on the front.

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.

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Watch: Koepka flies ball 330 yards, drives green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 4:44 am

It's a good thing par doesn't actually matter in tournament play, because if it did, the PGA Tour would have to consider 350-yard par-3s, and even those might not stop Brooks Koeopka.

Already ahead by two during Saturday's third round at the CJ Cup in South Korea, Koepka drove the green at the par-4 14th, carrying his ball 330 yards to the front edge.

The back-to-back U.S. Open champ would go on to two-putt for birdie and push his lead to three.

... The USGA is going to try that 350-yard par-3 idea, isn't it?

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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match

By Grill Room TeamOctober 20, 2018, 2:44 am

Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.

This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:

The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:

"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."

Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain. 

"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.