Notes: Scott focuses on practice, keeps low profile

By Doug FergusonJune 11, 2013, 1:37 am

ARDMORE, Pa. – Don't let the location fool you. Adam Scott spends a lot of time in the Bahamas, which is where he does most of his work.

Scott has spent part of his time in the Bahamas the past couple of years, practicing and playing out of Albany Golf Club. The practice is important, because Scott has limited his schedule in recent years, and the key to that is being ready to compete when he does play on Tour.

''There are times when practice is a couple of hours a day,'' Scott said. ''And then there are times, like last week, where good preparation and good practice is four to five hours a day.

''I like that kind of number, because that's about the amount of time that I try to concentrate playing a round on Tour. It's not just random. I think the amount of things I do randomly with golf is very few. Most of it is planned and purposeful.''

He said practicing between four and five hours is the right amount of time to get quality work and keep his focus, as he would in a round of golf.

Scott said the new balance of limited tournaments and more practice to keep sharp has made him a better player. He wasn't the first to think of this.

''It's no secret,'' Scott said. ''Tiger (Woods) doesn't play much and he plays well all the time. (Greg) Norman played a really limited schedule, and he was a dominant player for a long time. It depends on what you do when you're not playing. It's not sitting at home on the couch. It's doing something that's making you better.''

But what about the rest of his time in the Bahamas? Go to the beach. Fishing?

''I go to the gym,'' Scott said.

And after the gym?

''Then I sit on the couch,'' he said with a smile.


THE HANDSHAKE: In what was talked about Monday as ''The Handshake,'' Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia finally saw each other on the practice range for the first time since Garcia jokingly said last month he would have Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open and ''we will serve fried chicken.''

They shook hands on the range, a moment captured by a fan who posted it to his Twitter account.

Woods and Garcia had been going at it since the third round of The Players Championship, a feud that began when Garcia suggested Woods should have been paying attention when taking a club from the bag, which caused the gallery to cheer as Garcia was about to play his shot.

They traded barbs for the next few weeks through the media, which led to Garcia's remark May 22 at a European Tour awards dinner in England.

Both are scheduled to have news conferences Tuesday.


ALTERNATES: Former Masters champion Mike Weir has done just enough at qualifying to earn a spot at the U.S. Open.

Weir got one of six spots that had been set aside to accommodate anyone who moved into the top 60 in the world ranking published Monday. Kyle Stanley, who finished third at the Memorial, was at No. 60. He was the only one who qualified from the latest world ranking.

After that, five players who were alternates at the 36-hole sectional qualifying spots filled the 156-man field.

Weir lost in a playoff at the main Ohio qualifier and was first alternate. Also getting into the U.S. Open as a qualifying alternate were Ryan Palmer, Ryan Yip, Rikard Karlberg and Harold Varner III.

The next two alternates for the U.S. Open are Jesse Schutte, followed by T.J. Vogel.


THE HOGAN PLAQUE: Most players have stopped in the 18th fairway at Merion to see the plaque that commemorates where Ben Hogan hit 1-iron into the green in the final round of the 1950 U.S. Open. It led to par to get him into a three-man playoff that he won the next day.

That's a moment that won't be duplicated this week.

For one thing, that distance (214 yards) is more like a 4-iron or 5-iron for the modern player.

Plus, no one carries a 1-iron.

Jason Day has one in the bag, though it's stamped as a 2-iron. He had his equipment company bend the loft of the club so that it works like a 1-iron. Day has had it in play the past few tournaments. He's not sure if he will use it at Merion, saying it's mostly for the British Open at Muirfield.

He dropped a ball by the plaque during a practice round Sunday, but this was no time for his new clubs. Day hit 4-iron, instead.


ADAM'S LOW PROFILE: Except for the biggest stars, most players win a major and hit the talk-show circuit. Adam Scott kept it simple after winning the Masters. He made one appearance on an American TV show, one for his native Australia.

''I felt they were important for me to do,'' Scott said. ''I feel I've been welcomed in the States and really supported and I also wanted to show my appreciation for everyone in America, as well, because I'm really lucky how much support I get out here. I really enjoy playing in front of everyone. But I felt that's all I needed to do. I try and entertain people on the golf course, not on talk shows.''

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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 shot 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.

Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''


Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


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).

Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh 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.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


"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.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


"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.