Snedeker leads; Woods three back at BMW Championship

By Doug FergusonSeptember 12, 2013, 11:39 pm

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Brandt Snedeker was making so many birdies that even an 18-foot putt looked like a mere tap-in.

When he finished his amazing run Thursday in the BMW Championship, he had seven straight birdies on his card and an 8-under 63 at blustery Conway Farms.

''You get on runs like that, you get excited for the next hole because you know something good is going to happen, because you're in such a good frame of mind and everything is going in the right direction,'' Snedeker said.

In this case, everything was going in - a 15-foot putt from the fringe on the 13th, another 15-footer on the next hole when he used the blade of his sand wedge to bump the ball out of the short rough, and a 40-footer from the fringe on the 17th stood out to him.

That gave him a one-shot lead over Zach Johnson in the third FedEx Cup playoff event. Tiger Woods sounded disgusted with his round of 66, mainly because he had a pair of three-putt bogeys and missed a 4-foot birdie putt over his last five holes.

''I'm not exactly real happy,'' Woods said. ''I played well, and I just didn't get much out of that round. I missed three little short ones in there and then played the par 5s even par. That's just not very good.''


BMW Championship: Articles, videos and photos


Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel and Kevin Streelman also were at 66.

The opening round was mainly about the debut of Conway Farms, a Tom Fazio design north of Chicago which has a blend of strong holes and plenty of birdie opportunities on par 4s where players hit wedge for their second shot. Low scoring was predicted, and Snedeker's round was proof of that.

But as the wind picked up and shifted directions, the course was far from a pushover.

Rickie Fowler opened with a pair of double bogeys, followed by a pair of bogeys. He rallied for a 77. Rory McIlroy made a double bogey - his ninth of the FedEx Cup playoffs - on his second hole, and then three-putted from 4 feet for a triple bogey and staggered to a 78. Lee Westwood, fighting severe pain in his back and ribs, had an 80.

''There's a good mixture of really hard holes and really good birdie opportunities. I think that makes for exciting golf,'' Phil Mickelson said after opening with a 70. ''That's why we have such a discrepancy in scores.''

The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup after the BMW Championship advance to the Tour Championship next week and a shot at the $10 million prize.

Westwood is at No. 30 and likely played himself out of a trip to East Lake, though he didn't appear to be healthy enough to play. McIlroy is at No. 41 and all but took himself out of the Tour Championship. He needs to finish somewhere around seventh in the 70-man field. His 78 put him in a tie for 66th.

''It's going to be a very uphill task,'' McIlroy said. ''I'll try to get to even par as quickly as I can.''

That still might not be enough the way Snedeker is playing.

Snedeker is at No. 9 in the FedEx Cup and assured of being the first defending FedEx Cup champion to make it to the Tour Championship. He is trying to move into the top five, for those players have a clear shot at the $10 million bonus - all they have to do is win at East Lake no matter what anyone else does.

He wouldn't have imagined this kind of round at the start of the day. He didn't warm up well and didn't feel good with the putter. Snedeker missed the 10th fairway to start his round and had to make an 18-footer for par. He missed the 11th green and had to scramble for par. He missed a good look at birdie from the 12 feet on the next hole.

The next hour was a blur.

''When I get going good, I realize it doesn't happen all the time, so I instantly become more aggressive,'' he said. ''I think being a good putter helps, too, because I don't really have to hit it three feet eight times in a row. Just got to hit the green sometimes and it's going to happen. I realize these runs are few and far between, so when I get on one, I try to run as hard as I can for as long as I can.''

The blustery conditions kept scoring from getting out of hand, and the average score was at 71.3.

No one had less experience on the course than Mickelson, who had some personal issues earlier in the week that kept him from playing the pro-am. He didn't arrive in Chicago until Wednesday night and had never seen the course until he stood on the first tee Thursday.

Mickelson did not want to talk about what kept him away. When asked if it was a family matter, he said, ''Everything is fine. I'm here now, I'm ready to play. But I just needed to be a little cautious this first round before I attack it tomorrow.''

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Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 9:53 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.

''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''

He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.


Full-field scores from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open


"I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''

Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.

''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''

Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.

Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.

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Kaymer: Don't deserve Ryder Cup spot even with win

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 9:50 pm

Martin Kaymer is one of the most decorated Europeans of this generation, and one of the most thoughtfully honest as well, as he is demonstrating yet again at this week’s Nordea Masters.

Kaymer, a two-time major championship winner, has helped the Euros win three of the last four Ryder Cups. He won the singles match that clinched Europe’s historic comeback win at Medinah in 2012.

But with his run into contention Friday in Sweden, Kaymer told Sky Sports TV he didn’t believe that even a victory would make him worthy of playing for captain Thomas Bjorn’s Ryder Cup team in Paris next month.

“Do you think I deserve to be on the game after the way I've been playing, and with just one win in Sweden?” he said. “Is that enough? I don't think so.”

Kaymer shot a 3-under 67 at the Nordea Masters, leaving him tied for seventh, five shots off the lead and in position to make a run at his 12th European Tour title. He is hoping to capitalize on the opportunity in a season that has left him unsatisfied. He missed three of his previous four cuts coming to Sweden and has just two top-10 finishes this year.

Kaymer made some thoughtful observations about the nature of golf’s challenges in the same week that LPGA star Lexi Thompson opened up about a personal struggle to build a life about more than golf.

At 33, Kaymer said he feels as if he’s still just beginning to understand the game’s effect on him. Here is what he shared with reporters about that on the eve of the Nordea Masters:

“I'm on the seventh hole, hopefully. You need some time to get to know and place yourself in the world of golf.


Full-field scores from the Nordea Masters


“In the beginning you can't know, you have zero experience. Then you play around the world and measure your game with the best in the world. Then you see good results and in my case underestimate yourself a little.

“All of a sudden you win a major. You play a vital role in Ryder Cups. You win your second major. Then you need to adjust, because it's sometimes overwhelming and not understandable. It cannot only be talent, you need to ask yourself how you actually got here.

“That realization took me a long time. That's why I would say I'm on the seventh hole, maybe seventh green.

“It's just understanding who you are, what you do, what kind of life you live. For example, when you try to have a relationship with anyone -- it doesn't matter what kind of relationship -- people see you not for who you are as a person but as the athlete, what you have, what kind of success you had.

“I never understood that, because I don't want to be treated that way, but I also understood by now that is who I am, because I am that athlete. I am the guy who makes a lot of money.

“I never wanted to be seen that way, because I was raised different, and I wanted to be normal. But you are not normal when you do what I did. It took me a long time to understand, but now I can handle it better.”

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S.H. Park eyes Indy title, LPGA awards after 'best round of year'

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 9:20 pm

Sung Hyun Park’s hot finish Friday gives her more than a chance to win the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

It gives her a chance to keep Ariya Jutanugarn from running away with the LPGA’s most important awards and honors heading into the final third of the season.

Park’s 9-under 63 left her tied for the lead with Lizette Salas (69) at 13 under overall in the rain-suspended second round at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis.

“My best round of the year,” Park said through a translator.

Jutanugarn, the Rolex world No. 1, put up a 65 and sits four behind the leaders.

Park is No. 4 in the world rankings and feeling good about her weekend chances.

“I’m going to do really well,” she said. “I feel really good about my game.”

Jutanugarn has won an LPGA best three times this season, including the U.S. Women’s Open. She is dominating, statistically. She leads the tour in money winnings ($2,161,185), Rolex Player of the Year points, scoring average (69.44), putts per greens in regulation (1.72) and birdies (327).


Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship


Park is looking to equal Jutanugarn’s victory total for the season. Park won the Volunteers of America Texas Classic and also a major this year, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Park could overtake Jutanugarn as Rolex world No. 1 with a victory, depending on what Jutanugarn does this weekend.

Park shared Rolex Player of the Year honors with So Yeon Ryu last season, with Jutanugarn winning the award the year before.

Notably, Jutanugarn is giving her driver a rare appearance this week, putting it in her bag in both the first and second rounds at the friendly confines of Brickyard Crossing.

“I like the way [the holes] set up, because I’m ab le to hit driver a few holes,” Jutanugarn said. “I missed some, but I hit a few pretty good ones, too.”

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Podcast: Welcome our guest - Tiger Tracker

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 17, 2018, 7:47 pm

Host Will Gray calls him “The man, the myth, the legend.”

GCTiger Tracker, aka “TT,” makes his highly anticipated first guest appearance in a Golf Channel podcast, pontificating on everything from Tiger Woods’ run at the PGA Championship at Bellerive to the overall nature of Tiger’s comeback and what breakthroughs may lie ahead.

Tiger Tracker, Golf Channel’s mystery man, continues to rigorously protect his identity as the foremost Twitter tracker of all things Tiger, but he does open up on his intense relationship with his growing legion of followers and his “trigger finger” when it comes to blocking those unworthy of his insight.

“I’m more of a lover than a hater of Tiger Woods, but I’m a tracker,” TT tells Gray. “I call it like I see it.”

Tracker goes deep on what he sees as his role in continuing to document Tiger’s comeback, including a sense of kinship in this journey.

“I had 142,000 followers on the Monday of the Bahamas [late last year], and as we speak now, 296,000, more than double in that short span,” Tracker says. “That shows you what he’s been able to do, what we’ve been able to do together. Let’s be honest about that.”

Listen in below: