Woods captures Farmers by four shots

By Doug FergusonJanuary 29, 2013, 1:45 am

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods was so good for so long at Torrey Pines that it didn't matter how bad it looked at the end.

In a finish that was fitting for such a long and exasperating week, Woods built an eight-shot lead with five holes to play on Monday until he lost patience with the slow play and started losing shots that only determined the margin of victory.

Despite two bogeys and a double bogey in the final hour, he closed with an even-par 72 for a four-shot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open.

''I'm excited the way I played all week,'' Woods said. ''I hit the ball well – pretty much did everything well and built myself a nice little cushion. I had some mistakes at the end, but all my good play before that allowed me to afford those mistakes.''



He won for the 75th time in his PGA Tour career, seven behind the record held by Sam Snead.

Woods won this tournament for the seventh time, and he set a Tour record by winning at Torrey Pines for the eighth time, including his 2008 U.S. Open. Woods also has won seven times at Bay Hill and at Firestone.

Torrey Pines is a public course that he has turned into his private domain.

''I don't know if anybody would have beaten him this week,'' said Nick Watney, who got within five shots of Woods when the tournament was still undecided until making three bogeys on his next five holes. ''He's definitely on his game.''


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It was the 23rd time Woods has won by at least four shots on Tour. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker (69) and Josh Teater (69) tied for the second. Watney had a 71 and tied for fourth with Jimmy Walker.

It was a strong statement for Woods, who was coming off a missed cut last week in Abu Dhabi. This was the second time in his career that Woods won in his next tournament after missing the cut, but this was the first time it happened the following week.

Abu Dhabi is now a distant memory. The question now is what kind of season is shaping up for Woods.

''I think he wanted to send a message,'' said Hunter Mahan, who shares a swing coach with Woods. ''I think deep down he did. You play some games to try to motivate yourself. There's been so much talk about Rory (McIlroy). Rory is now with Nike. That would be my guess.''

The last time Woods won at Torrey Pines also was on a Monday, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff to capture the U.S. Open for his 14th major.

Of all his wins on this course along the Pacific, this might have been the most peculiar.

Thick fog cost the tournament an entire day of golf on Saturday, forcing the first Monday finish in tournament history. Woods effectively won the tournament during his 25 holes on Sunday, when he turned a two-shot lead into a six-shot margin with only 11 holes to play. CBS Sports wanted to televise the final day in late afternoon on the East Coast, but it still went long because of the pace of play.

It took Woods about 3 hours, 45 minutes to finish his 11 holes on Monday. His 19-hole win over Mediate lasted 4 1/2 hours.

As much as Woods got off to a good start, equal attention was given to slow play, an increasing problem on Tour.

''It got a little ugly toward the end,'' Woods said. ''I started losing patience a little bit with the slow play. I lost my concentration a little bit.''

He made a bogey from the bunker on No. 14. He hooked a tee shot off the eucalyptus trees and into a patch of ice plant on the 15th, leading to a double bogey. After another long wait on the 17th tee, he popped up his tee shot and made another bogey. With a four-shot lead on the 18th – Kyle Stanley blew a three-shot lead a year ago – he hit wedge safely behind the hole for a two-putt par.

Woods finished at 14-under 274 for his 14th win in California and 11th in San Diego County.

''I think a win always makes it special, especially the way I played,'' Woods said. ''To have not won would have been something else because I really played well. Playing the way I did for most of this tournament, until the very end, the last five holes, I felt like I should have won this tournament. I put myself in a position where I had a big enough lead, and that's basically how I felt like I played this week.

''I know I can do that, and it was nice to be able to do it.''

Like so many of his big wins, the only drama was for second place.

Brad Fritsch, the rookie from Canada, birdied his last two holes for a 75. That put him into a tie for ninth, however, making him eligible for the Phoenix Open next week. Fritsch had been entered in the Monday qualifier that he had to abandon when the Farmers Insurance Open lost Saturday to a fog delay.

Woods was so far ahead that he would have had to collapse for anyone to have a chance, and that never looked possible.

Even so, the red shirt seemed to put him on edge. It didn't help that as he settled over his tee shot on the par-5 ninth, he backed off when he heard a man behind the ropes take his picture.

Woods rarely hits the fairway after an encounter with a camera shutter, and this was no different – it went so far right that it landed on the other side of a fence enclosing a corporate hospitality area.

Woods took his free drop, punched out below the trees into the fairway and then showed more irritation when his wedge nicked the flag after one hop and spun down the slope 30 feet away instead of stopping next to the hole.

He didn't show much reaction on perhaps his most memorable shot of the day. With his legs near the edge of a bunker some 75 feet to the left of the 11th green, he blasted out to the top shelf and watched the ball take dead aim until it stopped a foot short. A two-putt birdie on the 13th gave him an eight-shot lead, and then it was only a matter of time – a lot of time – until the trophy presentation.

Before anyone projects a monster year for Woods based on one week, especially when that week is at Torrey Pines, remember that no one else in golf – not even McIlroy – is the subject of more snap judgments.

Woods, however, likes the direction he is headed, especially with his short game.

''I'm excited about this year. I'm excited about what I'm doing with Sean (Foley) and some of the things that I've built,'' he said. ''This is a nice way to start the year.''

Woods is not likely to return to golf until the Match Play Championship next month.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've get experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


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Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"I think I've won and lost actually from four ahead, so I've got experience both ways," Rose said. "Just shows you can't get ahead of yourself.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


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"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."

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Koepka looking to make hay on Horrible Horseshoe

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:26 pm

The Horrible Horseshoe - Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial Country Club - annually ranks as one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour.

Consider Brooks Koepka undeterred.

Last year's U.S. Open champ has played the stretch 2 over this week but knows that if he's going to have any chance at catching Justin Rose on Sunday, he's going to need take advantage of the par-5 first and then find a way to pick up shots on the Horseshoe.

"I feel like just need to get off to a good start on this golf course," Koepka said after a third-round 67 Saturday. "If you can get 2 or 3 under through six holes, I think you'll be right there."

Koepka will start the final round four behind Rose, as he looks to win for the first time since his maiden major victory last year.


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The big-hitter missed nearly four months this year with a wrist injury and is progressing quickly in his comeback despite dislocating his wrist on two different occasions over the last two months.

Koepka missed the cut with partner Marc Turnesa at the Zurich Classic in his competitive return before following up with a tie for 42nd at the Wells Fargo Championship and a tie for 11th at The Players Championship.

Now, thanks to a closing birdie Sunday, he finds himself playing alongside Rose in the final group on Sunday.

"I feel like my game is coming around," he said. "[At Zurich], I was five days into touching clubs. I am finally finding a rhythm and feel like I'm getting really close. ...

"Just want to get off to a good start [tomorrow]. That's really all I am trying to do. You put together a good solid round tomorrow, you never know what can happen. The important thing is we were just trying to get in that final group. I thought the putt on 18 was kind of big to get in that final group and play with Rosey."

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Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take a four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up one to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made 17 birdies and just three bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentinian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 7-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year.

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th.

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71.