Schwartzel takes lead at Doral

By Doug FergusonMarch 12, 2010, 4:58 am

2010 WGC-CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Charl Schwartzel managed to get around the famed Blue Monster course without a bogey on his way to a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead Thursday on a rough-and-tumble day in the World Golf Championship event.

Schwartzel, who got into the elite field with two victories in his native South Africa at the start of the season, had five birdies in a mistake-free round.

Not so fortunate were Ernie Els, Robert Allenby and Vijay Singh, all of them poised to claim a share of the lead or better until they stepped to the tee on the 443-yard closing hole at Doral that was playing into a wind strong enough to knock the caps of some players.

Singh was in the lead until hitting his tee shot into the water and making double bogey, giving him a 68.

Els was tied for the lead until his approach around the palm trees came up short and into the water. He scrambled for a bogey and also wound up with a 68.

Allenby, who had a five-shot lead early in the round when he was at 8 under through 12 holes, finished with four straight bogeys, the last one when he blasted out of a back bunker and saw his ball roll off the green and nearly into the water. He had 68 and found perspective quickly.

“That’s the way things go,” Allenby said. “If someone had said you’re going to shoot 4 under today, I would have taken it.”

Schwartzel could not have agreed more.

The south Florida wind, which gives the Blue Monster its fangs, was gusting when the 68-man field teed off and only relented late in the afternoon. Schwartzel got the toughest part of the course – No. 18 – out of the way early because he started on the back nine. He was among the few players who made par on a hole that averaged 4.65 strokes, which was higher than three of the par 5s.

“I didn’t think 67 was out there at the beginning of the day, with the wind as strong as it was,” Schwartzel said. “Early on, I made five birdies, which I thought you could do, especially with three par 5s being downwind. Some of them you’re hitting wedge. The big achievement for me today was not making any bogeys. That kept the scorecard very clean.”

Francesco Molinari of Italy was tied for the lead until he went into the water and made double bogey, giving him a 69 and putting him in the group that included Pebble Beach winner Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey.

Luke Donald had one of five birdies on the 18th, holing a bunker shot, and was in a group at 70 that also featured Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk and Martin Kaymer.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, who was in Houston last week while his wife was treated for breast cancer, did not arrive until Wednesday night and spent the morning shaking off some rust. Mickelson, who had two drivers in his bag to negotiate the wind, was pleased with his opening 71.

“I know it’s not in contention yet, but my goal was to shoot something solid and improve on it each day. So I have to go lower each day,” Mickelson said.

Tee times were moved up Friday with storms in the forecast for the afternoon. The threat that figures to remain all week is the finishing hole, one of the toughest on the PGA Tour.

“Today, it was almost like a par 5,” Singh said.

Formerly No. 1 in the world, Singh has not won since the end of the 2008 season when he captured the FedEx Cup. He finally showed signs of getting healthy when he tied for fourth last week at the Honda Classic. And even with a double bogey to end his round, he found plenty of optimism for the rest of the week.

“I think I swung the club better today than I did all week,” Singh said. “Making a double on the last, it doesn’t leave a good taste in your mouth. But you know, thank God it’s on Thursday.”

Despite his four straight bogeys, Allenby couldn’t figure out where he hit a truly bad shot. It started on the par-3 15th, when he posed over a 6-iron and figured he had come up short. Allenby and his caddie stood toward the front of the green, looking in the wiry rough for his ball when Lucas Glover called out, “It’s back here.”

The ball had gone through the green and was suspended by thick grass framing the bunker. He pitched to 6 feet and missed for his first bogey, unaware that three more were going to follow – a flier out of the rough on 16, the edge of a bunker and a short miss on the 17th, and scrambling for survival on the 18th.

Schwartzel was surprised to look at a leaderboard and see Allenby slip from 8 under to 4 under in four holes. And it made the South African appreciate what he had accomplished for the day.

“I played a lot of good rounds in my career, and yeah, this one rates right up there,” Schwartzel said. “It could even be at the top. You couldn’t miss a shot.”

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Stricker shares first-round lead in South Dakota

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:48 am

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead at the Sanford International.

The 51-year-old Stricker was 8 under through 17 holes at chilly, rain-softened Minnehaha Country Club but closed with a bogey to fall into a tie with Jerry Smith, Brandt Jobe and David McKenzie.

Stricker only got to play seven holes in the pro-am because of rain that prevented the field from getting in much practice.

''You've just kind of got to trust your yardage book and hit to the spots and then try to make a good game plan on the way into the green, too, not really knowing where to hit it or where to miss it up there on the green. Sometimes it's good, too,'' Stricker said. ''You go around and you're focused a lot more on hitting it to a specific spot and not knowing what lies ahead in the course. So I guess today was the ultimate 'Take one hole at a time' because we didn't really know anything else, what was coming.''


Full-field scores from the Sanford International


Stricker has two wins and has not finished worse than fifth in six starts this season on the over-50 tour as he continues to play a part-time schedule on the PGA Tour. Next week, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants at the matches outside Paris.

McKenzie, a 51-year-old Australian, had two eagles on the back nine, holing a wedge from 116 yards on the par-5 16th.

''We got told ... to play faster on No. 16, and so my caddie just said, 'Hit it in the hole so you don't have to putt it,' so I just did what he told me,'' McKenzie said.

Smith had eagles on Nos. 4 and 12.

''Honestly, I was just trying to hit some good shots and I really wasn't with the irons,'' Smith said. ''I just really didn't like the way I hit them today. You know, just the putter was the big difference for me. I just felt good with it all day, especially say outside of 10, 15 feet, where I felt like I was a lot.''

Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen and Paul Goydos were one shot back. McCarron came in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money standings behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not playing this week.

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Glover (64) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:12 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot his second consecutive 7-under 64 on Friday to take a one-shot lead at the Web.com Tour Championship.

The 38-year-old Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, can still regain his PGA Tour card through a medical extension if he fails to earn enough money in the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals. But a high finish this weekend at Atlantic Beach Country Club would take care of everything.

''I've got a lot to fall back on regardless of this week, but any time I tee it up, I want to play well,'' Glover said. ''Tomorrow won't be any different. Sunday won't be any different.''

Glover had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and will have eight starts to earn 53 FedEx Cup points and keep his card. He earned $17,212 in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events. The top 25 money winners in the series earn PGA Tour cards, and the final card went for $40,625 last year.

Glover was at 14-under 128. Denny McCarthy, who has already earned enough money to secure a return to the PGA Tour, was one shot back. McCarthy, a former Virginia player, has a shot at winning the Finals money list, which would guarantee him fully exempt status and entry into The Players Championship.


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


''There's no secret about it. I'll come out and tell you I'm here to win this tournament and get that No. 1 spot,'' McCarthy said. ''I've been hungry for a while. I have a pretty hungry attitude and I'm going to stay hungry.''

Tour veteran Cameron Tringale, who has earned just $2,660 after missing two of the first three cuts, was 12 under after a 67. Last year, Tringale entered the Web.com Tour Championship at 63rd on the Finals money list and finished tied for fifth to get back onto the PGA Tour. He struggled again this season, though, missing 19 cuts in 26 starts.

''Yeah, I was hoping last year was my last time here, but I do have a comfort at this golf course and I'm excited to keep pressing,'' Tringale said.

The four-tournament 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 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.

Sepp Straka and Ben Silverman were three shots back. Each would likely need a top-5 finish to earn his card.

Peter Malnati, who regained his card with a second-place finish in the opening finals event, followed his opening-round 74 with a 9-under 62, shooting an 8-under 27 on his second nine.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley was among those who missed the cut. He was 22nd on the finals money list going in and likely will fall short of earning his card.

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Thomas (69) only three back with 'C' or 'D' game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTA – Justin Thomas was tied for fourth place following his second-round 69 on Friday at the Tour Championship, which considering the state of his game on Day 2 was an accomplishment.

“I wish I had my 'B' game today. I would say I had my 'C' or 'D' game today,” he laughed.

Thomas’ struggles were primarily with his driver and he hit just 6 of 14 fairways at East Lake, but he was able to scramble late in his round with birdies at Nos. 15 and 18 to remain three off the lead.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I drove it so poorly today, this is probably in my top 5 rounds of the year I'm most proud of just because I easily could have shot 4- or 5-over par today and not had a chance to win the tournament,” he said. “I hung in there and birdied two of the last four, and I have a chance.”

Thomas was slowed the last two weeks by a right wrist injury that limited his preparation for the finale and said the issue with his driver is timing and the byproduct of a lack of practice.

Thomas made up for his erratic driving with his short game, getting up and down four out of seven times including on the fourth hole when he missed the fairway well left, punched out short of the green and chipped in from 81 feet.

“[Rory McIlroy] just kind of said it looked like a ‘3’ the whole day and I kind of laughed because I played with him at The Players and I chipped in three times that first round with him, so I guess he's good luck for me,” Thomas said.

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McIlroy two behind Woods, Rose after 68

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:46 pm

ATLANTA – Maybe it should be no huge surprise that Rory McIlroy finds himself back in contention at the Tour Championship. It is, after all, a Ryder Cup year.

In 2016, McIlroy won the finale before heading to Hazeltine and posting a 3-2-0 record. In ’14, he finished runner-up to Billy Horschel and went 2-1-2 at the Ryder Cup; and in ’12 he finished tied for 10th place at East Lake and went 3-2-0 at Medinah.

“I was on such a high a couple of years ago going into Hazeltine after winning the whole thing, and I felt great about my game that week and played well. I won three matches,” McIlroy said. “I guess it doesn't matter whether it's a match play event or whatever. If you're playing well and you've played well the week before, I think most people can carry it into the next week, whatever that is.”


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


McIlroy’s performance this week certainly qualifies as “playing well.” He charged out on Friday with birdies at two of his first three holes and bounced back from a pair of late bogeys to shoot a 68 and was in third place and two strokes off the lead held by Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.

“I've made 12 birdies in 36 holes, which is really good around here, and that's with not birdieing either of the par 5s today,” he said. “So yeah, just tidy up the mistakes a little bit.”