Stuard cards 65, holds Round 2 lead at Sony

By Doug FergusonJanuary 11, 2014, 1:24 am

HONOLULU – Fans soaking up the sun along the shores of Oahu took home plenty of memories Friday in the Sony Open, the least of which was Brian Stuard atop the leaderboard with this fourth straight round of 65 at Waialae.

Stuard finished the second round with a hybrid into 2 feet for eagle, giving him a one-shot lead over Marc Leishman of Australia and Hideto Tanihara of Japan.

The best stuff came later.

James Hahn, best known for his ''Gangnam Style'' moves after making birdie at the raucous 16th hole at the Phoenix Open last year, tried (and failed) for a chest-bump with his caddie after the rarest shot in golf - an albatross - when he holed out from 191 yards with a 6-iron on the par-5 ninth hole.

''That was a little spontaneous, but I forgot that - I've got to be politically correct, right? - but white men can't jump,'' said Hahn, a South Korean-born, Cal grad and funnyman on tour. ''So I got a little air, he didn't. But it was fun. I don't think he knew I was going to chest-bump him. But that's just what I felt like at the time.''


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The big attraction was having surf champion Kelly Slater in the gallery for the final hour, even though he was there to watch a caddie.

Fellow surfer Benji Weatherley is on the bag this week for Masters champion Adam Scott, and he had a blast in front of two dozen friends from the North Shore. But this golf is serious business, and Weatherley showed great confidence talking Scott out of a driver on the 18th hole.

''He's really getting the hang of it,'' Scott said.



Scott took over from there, getting a break on the last hole when his ball was in a partial divot. Scott was able to take a free drop away from the grandstand, and while his chip came out strong, it banged against the bottom of the flagstick and stopped an inch from the hole for a tap-in birdie and a 66.

Scott was only three shots behind. Weatherley was having a blast.

''It's the most fun you could ever have,'' he said. ''I have no nerves because for one, he's so good it's embarrassing. Like every single shot is what you see on 'Sports Center,' especially that last one.''

He said this during an interview with Golf Channel.

Meanwhile, another good tournament was shaping up in Hawaii.

Stuard was at 10-under 130. Those four straight rounds of 65 ordinarily might be good enough to win a tournament. Except that the first half of that streak happened on the weekend at Waialae last year. Even so, it was enough for him to be in the lead going into the weekend.

It was his seventh straight round in the 60s at Waialae dating to Stuard's first trip here in 2010.

''I think it's something to do with the greens,'' Stuard said. ''I feel comfortable on the greens. I feel like I read them pretty well and I'm able to make putts.''

Leishman also made an eagle on the ninth hole, but that was in the middle of his round. And it was part of a three-hole stretch he played in 4 under, and he made a 25-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole. It led to a 64 that put him in a good spot going into the weekend.

''They're the sort of things that really turn an average round into a good one, or a good one into a great one,'' Leishman said. ''It was nice to shoot 6 under and get myself right in it.''

Tanihara had a 65 and will join Leishman and Stuard in the final group Saturday. The tee times were moved up for the third round because of rain in the forecast.

Harris English had his second straight round of 66 and was two shots behind, poised to go for his third win in his last 16 starts.

''I hit it all over the map,'' English said. ''Yesterday, I striped it down the middle and didn't make any putts. Today, 4 under was the lowest I could have shot.''

He was scrambling so far that he didn't realize until the end of his round that he had a glove on his left hand, and another one tucked under the back of his belt. This was not a new craze, like Tommy ''Two Gloves'' Gainey with gloves on both hands. English was letting it dry out and forgot about it.

Joining Scott in the group three shots behind were Jimmy Walker and Chris Kirk, while Hudson Swafford (64), Justin Leonard and past Sony Open champion Jerry Kelly were still in the mix at 6-under 134.

Kapalua winner Zach Johnson, trying to become the first player since Ernie Els in 2003 to sweep the Hawaii swing, had a 67 and was five shots behind.

Hahn also was 5-under after a 68.

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U.S. Amateur playoff: 24 players for 1 spot in match play

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2018, 1:21 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer and Daniel Hillier were tied at the top after two rounds of the U.S. Amateur, but the more compelling action on Tuesday was further down the leaderboard.

Two dozen players were tied for 64th place after two rounds of stroke play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. With the top 64 advancing to match play, that means all 24 will compete in a sudden-death playoff Wednesday morning for the last spot in the knockout rounds.


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They'll be divided into six foursomes and start the playoff at 7:30 a.m. on the par-3 17th at Pebble Beach, where Tom Watson chipped in during the 1982 U.S. Open and went on to win.

The survivor of the playoff will face the 19-year-old Hillier in match play. The New Zealander shot a 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to share medalist honors with the 18-year-old Hammer at 6 under. Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas who played in the 2015 U.S. Open at age 15, shot 68 at Spyglass Hill.

Stewart Hagestad had the low round of the day, a 5-under 66 at Pebble Beach, to move into a tie for 10th after opening with a 76 at Spyglass Hill. The 27-year-old Hagestad won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur and earned low amateur honors at the 2017 Masters.

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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


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On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


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"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."