Wi opens up three-shot lead; Tiger six back

By Doug FergusonFebruary 11, 2012, 1:08 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – On a day when sunshine gave way to a light rain, two things stayed the same Friday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Charlie Wi was still atop the leaderboard, and Tiger Woods didn’t hole enough putts to make up ground.

Wi escaped most of the rain at Pebble Beach, where he holed a wedge from the 13th fairway for eagle and limited the damage to a bogey on his final hole for a 3-under 69 that allowed him to open a three-shot lead.

Dustin Johnson was caught off guard by the rain in the worst way. He stood in the fourth fairway at Spyglass with a short-sleeve shirt, hands thrust in his pocket, as his caddie sent a friend running up the hill to the parking lot to retrieve his rain gear. His short game let him down, and the two-time Pebble champion had to settle for a 72 that put him three shots back.

Padraig Harrington had a 66 at Pebble Beach and was among those tied for third. Harrington had five birdies in a six-hole stretch early in his round, the exception coming at the par-5 sixth.

Woods, meanwhile, again looked poised to make a move over at Monterey Peninsula. He missed a five-foot birdie putt on No. 9 and failed to make birdie on the par-5 10th when he pulled his second shot into the gallery. He had to settle for a 2-under 68, leaving him six behind.


Sobel: Tiger's wrist-y business


Along the way, he stung his wrist hitting out of a divot and said he had to pop it back into the joint.

“No big deal,” he said.

The bigger deal was putting. Woods took 33 putts on the Shore Course, which he attributed to leaving the ball in the wrong spot—mostly above the hole— and struggling with greens he felt were getting slightly more bumpy as a mist turned into a light rain.

“It’s very close,” said Woods, playing this event for the first time in 10 years. “I got my ball-striking to where I feel very comfortable hitting the shots. I just need to make a couple of putts to get on a roll.”

Phil Mickelson struggled in sunshine. In rain, he ran off five birdies for a 65 at Monterey Peninsula that put him five shots behind.

“I don’t know what happened, but I started to play a lot better and make some birdies,” said Mickelson, a three-time winner at Pebble. “In the perfect conditions, I struggled. But to play these golf courses in such great condition either way has been a lot of fun.”

Wi was at 12-under 130 and now heads to Spyglass Hill, which has played slightly tougher than the other two courses.

In these shifting conditions, Spyglass played about two shots harder than it did Thursday, while Pebble Beach and Monterey Peninsula were about one shot more difficult than the day before.

Only 56 players broke par, compared with 87 in the opening round.

That would explain what was going through Wi’s mind when he set off at Pebble Beach, knowing the course gave up a pair of 63s in the opening round. It sure didn’t feel that easy.

“I thought Pebble played really difficult today,” Wi said. “The greens were very firm, and the guys that shot 8 or 9 under out there, I was very surprised how well they played. Some of the pins were really tricky. I said, ‘Gosh, how did they shoot 9 under out there?’ And for me to shoot 3 under today, I was very pleased.”

Wi figured it out toward the end of the day, as the light rain swept over the peninsula. During the practice round, he hit a driver and a 9-iron on the ninth hole. It was his final hole Friday, and he hit a driver and a hybrid.

That didn’t work out so well. He pulled his approach into a crevice of thick rough, chopped out over the green, and only a good pitch to tap-in range helped him avoid something worse than a bogey.

Vijay Singh had a 68 at Spyglass Hill, and Brian Gay had a 65 at Monterey Peninsula to join Harrington among those at 8-under. Hunter Mahan, fresh off his one-week journey to the Middle East for the Qatar Masters, had a 70 at Pebble Beach and was in the group at 7-under, along with Mickelson.

Woods looked sharp at times, drilling a 5-iron to seven feet for birdie on the opening hole, narrowly missing an 8-foot eagle attempt at No. 6 and making a second straight birdie on the par-3 seventh from about 15 feet.

But he didn’t make up any ground, losing one shot to par compared with the leaders. Next up for Woods is Pebble Beach, where he usually plays his best. Woods still remembers the 63-64 weekend in 1997, when he finished one shot behind Mark O’Meara. Woods also had a 64 in the final round of 2000 to rally from five shots behind.

He has three rounds of 64 or better on the fabled course during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The last time he played Pebble Beach was the U.S. Open in 2010, where he bogeyed five of his opening 10 holes to fall out of contention. His game was in disrepair at the time. It now is on an upward swing, and the putting is all that controls how quickly he gets back.

“I’m hitting good putts,” Woods said. “I’m not displeased with my putting at all. I just didn’t hit the ball in the right spots to give myself the right looks. If we were putting smooth greens, it would be a totally different deal.”

Johnson was tied for the lead with back-to-back birdies to close out the back nine at Spyglass. He bogeyed the par-3 third from about 12 feet away just behind the green, then three-putted for bogey at the par-3 fifth.

“I played really well yesterday. I played good today,” Johnson said. “I just (threw) away some shots. I hit some poor pitch shots, just really bad.

They weren’t even pitch shots. They were dink chips, ones that you’re trying to hole. And I just hit them terrible.”

Johnson will have a chance to make up ground Saturday at Monterey Peninsula, which has produced the lowest scores this week.

Woods, meanwhile, settles in at Pebble Beach with the celebrity rotation, the day that CBS Sports typically spends as much time on the antics of actors and comedians as the golfers.

That shouldn’t be a big distraction, though. Woods tees off early on the back nine, away from all the action.

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Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

He said his game has long been unpredictable.

''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''