Woods carries big lead into Monday finish at Torrey Pines

By Doug FergusonJanuary 28, 2013, 2:46 am

Everything became perfectly clear Sunday at Torrey Pines. Tiger Woods was on his game and headed toward yet another win.

Woods seized control in the fog-delayed Farmers Insurance Open with a strong driving performance that carried him to a 3-under 69 and a four-shot lead after the third round. Even when he got a little wild off the tee late in chilly afternoon of the fourth round, he still made birdies to stretch his lead to six shots when play was suspended by darkness.

Woods had 11 holes left to play when the round resumes Monday.


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''It was a long day ... and I played well today,'' Woods said. ''Overall, I'm very pleased that I was able to build on my lead.''

Thick fog washed out all of Saturday, forcing players to go from sunrise to sunset Sunday. They finished the third round, took about 30 minutes for lunch and went right back onto the golf course. CBS Sports wants to televise the conclusion – no surprise with Woods in the lead – so the round will not resume until 2 p.m. EST.

Woods was at 17-under par for the tournament.

Defending champion Brandt Snedeker was 4 under through 13 holes of the final round and he was not making up much ground on Woods. Snedeker was at 11 under, along with Nick Watney, who was through eight holes.

Woods finished 54 holes at 14-under 202 and was four shots ahead of Canadian rookie Brad Fritsch. It was the 16th time in his PGA Tour career that Woods had a 54-hole lead of at least four shots.

If that wasn't enough to make the outcome look inevitable, everything was going his way in the final hour.

His tee shot was so far left on No. 2 that the ball finished in the first cut of rough in the sixth fairway. He still saved par. Woods made a birdie putt of about 10 feet on No. 3, and then wound up well right of the cart path and blocked by a tree on the fourth hole. He carved a punch shot around the tree, safely in front of the green, and his chip banged into the pin and dropped for birdie.

Two holes later, from a mangled lie in the right rough, he smashed a 5-wood that ran onto the green and set up a two-putt birdie.

Snedeker was seven shots behind after three rounds, the same deficit he faced a year ago. Only now he's trying to chase down Woods, already a seven-time winner at Torrey Pines with a daunting record from in front. Woods is 38-2 on the PGA Tour when he has the outright lead going into the last round.

''I've got to make some more birdies,'' Snedeker said. ''I've got a long way to go. I've got a guy at the top of the leaderboard that doesn't like giving up leads, so I have to go catch him. I did a great job today of staying patient and playing good golf.''

Woods didn't bother wearing red Sunday, knowing the tournament wouldn't end until the next day.

In some respects, though, it had the feeling of being over. Fritsch birdied the last hole of the third round for a 70 to finish on 206. Erik Compton finished birdie-eagle for a 71 and was alone in third through 54 holes, five shots behind. When someone asked him about chasing Woods, Compton started laughing.

''I'm trying to chase myself,'' he said.

Woods has won seven times at Torrey Pines as a pro, including a U.S. Open, and another win Monday would give him the most wins on any course. He also has seven wins at Bay Hill and Firestone. Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times, but only four times on one course.

Woods attributed his lead to ''the whole package.''

''I've driven the ball well, I've hit my irons well, and I've chipped and putted well,'' he said. ''Well, I've hit good putts. They all haven't gone in.''

Woods had superb control of his tee shots and was rarely out of position on a day that began under a light drizzle and soon gave way to patchy clouds and clear views of the Pacific surf below the bluffs.

Starting with a two-shot lead, he stretched that quickly with a tap-in birdie on the second hole and a beautiful tee shot to a left pin on the downhill par 3 to about 4 feet. The South Course played even longer with the soft conditions, and only seven players broke 70. Aaron Baddeley had the lowest score of the round with a 68.

Woods managed to stretch his lead with pars, though he was always on the attack because of his position in the fairway.

He missed a downhill birdie putt from 4 feet on the par-5 ninth, and then came back with a wedge that landed near the hole at No. 10 and spun back next to the cup before it settled 4 feet away for a birdie putt that he made.

He led by as many as six strokes in the third round until Fritsch birdied the last hole and Woods, playing in the group behind, ran into trouble. His tee shot rolled up near the lip of the bunker, and he advanced it 70 yards into deep rough. He swung hard through the thick, wet grass into a greenside bunker, and then missed his 8-foot par putt.

Still, it was an ominous sign.

One week after he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi - thanks to a two-shot penalty he received after his round for taking relief from an embedded lie on the fifth hole when the rules didn't allow for it - he looked as good as ever.

''As I said, I didn't play that poorly,'' Woods said of his short week in the Middle East. ''I played well enough to be there on the weekend, and could have gotten two more rounds competitively, but I didn't really play poorly. I thought I did a lot of good things. Just wanted to continue that this week, and I have.''

Woods has a 49-4 record on the PGA Tour when he has at least a share of the 54-hole lead, and it's even more daunting when the lead is his alone. The only two players to come from behind to beat him over the final 18 holes were Ed Fiori in the Quad City Classic in 1996 when Woods was a 20-year-old rookie, and Y.E. Yang in the 2009 PGA Championship a Hazeltine.

In worldwide events, Thomas Bjorn (Dubai), Lee Westwood (Germany) and Graeme McDowell (Chevron World Challenge) have made up deficits against him on the last day.


Golf Channel 'Pre-Game' coverage begins Monday at 1:30 p.m. ET, with the final round resuming at 2:10 p.m. ET.
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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

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Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”

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Spieth admits '16 Masters 'kind of haunted me'

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:38 pm

Two years ago, Jordan Spieth arrived at Colonial Country Club and promptly exorcised some demons.

He was only a month removed from blowing the 2016 Masters, turning a five-shot lead with nine holes to play into a shocking runner-up finish behind Danny Willett. Still with lingering questions buzzing about his ability to close, he finished with a back-nine 30 on Sunday, including birdies on Nos. 16-18, to seal his first win since his Augusta National debacle.

Returning this week to the Fort Worth Invitational, Spieth was asked about the highs and lows he's already experienced in his five-year pro career and candidly pointed to the 2016 Masters as a "low point" that had a lingering effect.

"Even though it was still a tremendous week and still was a really good year in 2016, that kind of haunted me and all the questioning and everything," Spieth told reporters. "I let it tear me down a little bit. I kind of lost a little bit of my own freedom, thoughts on who I am as a person and as a golfer."


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Spieth went on to win the Australian Open in the fall of 2016, and last year he added three more victories including a third major title at Royal Birkdale. Given more than two years to reflect - and after nearly nabbing a second green jacket last month - he admitted that the trials and tribulations of 2016 had a lasting impact on how he perceives the daily grind on Tour.

"I guess to sum it up, I've just tried to really be selfish in the way that I think and focus on being as happy as I possibly can playing the game I love. Not getting caught up in the noise, good or bad," Spieth said. "Because what I hear from the outside, the highs are too high from the outside and the lows are too low from the outside from my real experience of them. So trying to stay pretty neutral and just look at the big picture things, and try and wake up every single day loving what I do."

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Spieth offers Owen advice ahead of Web.com debut

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:22 pm

As country music sensation Jake Owen gets set to make his Web.com Tour debut, Jordan Spieth had a few pieces of advice for his former pro-am partner.

Owen played as a 1-handicap alongside Spieth at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and this week he is playing his own ball on a sponsor invite at the Nashville Open. Owen joked with a Web.com Tour reporter that Spieth "shined" him by not answering his text earlier in the week, but Spieth explained to reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the two have since connected.

"We texted a bit yesterday. I was just asking how things were going," Spieth said. "I kind of asked him the state of his game. He said he's been practicing a lot. He said the course is really hard. I mean, going into it with that mindset, maybe he'll kind of play more conservative."

Owen is in the field this week on the same type of unrestricted sponsor exemption that NBA superstar Steph Curry used at the Web.com's Ellie Mae Classic in August. As Owen gets set to make his debut against a field full of professionals, Spieth noted that it might be for the best that he's focused on a tournament a few hundred miles away instead of walking alongside the singer as he does each year on the Monterey Peninsula.

"Fortunately I'm not there with him, because whenever I'm his partner I'm telling him to hit driver everywhere, even though he's talented enough to play the golf course the way it needs to be played," Spieth said. "So I think he'll get some knowledge on the golf course and play it a little better than he plays Pebble Beach. He's certainly got the talent to be able to shoot a good round."