Fantasy Island: Transitions Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 15, 2011, 7:14 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the the Transitions Championship. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.


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Transistions Championship

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*):
3,539,727 (2)
Group A:
Martin Kaymer

Group B:
Jonathan Byrd

Group C:
Kyle Stanley

Consider those back-to-back 74s on the weekend at Doral an aberration, or motivation, depending on your point of view. He’s the world No. 1 for a reason.

Solid at Innisbrook (three top-10s in eight starts) and he showed signs of progress at Doral after a post-Hyundai victory slide.

Rookie has been consistent this year, 7-for-7 in cuts made, and proved at the Honda he has the game to contend. The next step is learning how to close.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank):
1,590,341 (14)
Group A:
Paul Casey

Group B:
Vijay Singh

Group C:
Michael Bradley


Not much history at Innisbrook, but he appears on the edge of something big in Florida.
 
A T-3 and second this year looks like it's leading to a hoisted trophy.

Riding confidence of victory in Puerto Rico to another strong performance in Florida.


Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank):
2,196,327 (9)
Group A:
Bubba Watson

Group B:
David Toms

Group C:
Stephen Ames

This is the Copperhead course and everybody knows Bubba 'ain't afraid a no snakes.'.

Even thought he hasn't been at his best as of late(and that's being generous), this is a great layout for Toms.

Ames closed with a Sunday-best 66 to finish T-3 at the Puerto Rico open last week and really looked comfortable over the ball.

John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank):
2,025,921 (11)
 Group A:
Jim Furyk

Group B:
Sean O'Hair

Group C:
Chad Campbell



I think he'll get his year going on turf that made last year so special.

Good Florida player, past champion.

Should be a good course for him, but then, it hardly matters if you don't make putts.



Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank):
2,249,497 (8)
Group A:
Nick Watney

Group B:
Jason Day

Group C:
Johnson Wagner
He may be a little drained after his victory at Doral but I'm willing to bet he at least squeaks out another top-10 finish.

He's one of the young guns that people often overlook, but at 23 years old he has a huge upside. He'll win sometime this year.

If there's a chance to pick a 2011 PGA Tour winner in Group C, I'll take him every time.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank):
1,889,908 (14)
Group A:
Martin Kaymer

Group B:
Vijay Singh

Group C:
Stephen Ames

The world No. 1 is looking to bounce back after a difficult Doral weekend and needs a strong week heading into Masters prep.

Two top-3 finishes in 2011 and also has a win and a runner-up at Innisbrook.

Finished T-3 last week in Puerto Rico and finished T-6 last year at Innisbrook. Has never missed the cut here

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank):
3,516,572 (3)
Group A:
Retief Goosen

Group B:
Bill Haas

Group C:
Bobby Gates



Finished T-3 in Abu Dhabi earlier this year but more importantly, has a win and a fifth-place finish at Innisbrook in the last two years.

Four top-12 finishes in seven starts in 2011, finished a solid T1-6 at Innisbrook in 2010, and is due for another strong week.

This 2011 PGA Tour rookie has two top-6 finishes in his last three starts and is making his first appearance at Innisbrook.



Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank):
5,135,091 (1)
Group A:
Retief Goosen

Group B:
Jonathan Byrd

Group C:
Stephen Ames
He finished fifth last year and won in 2009. Goosen is looking for his first top-10 of the year this week and will come in relaxed after a friendly couple days of matches at the Tavistock Cup.
 
He has four top-12s in the event since 2006, is already a winner this season at Kapalua and is coming off a T10 at Doral.
 
Ames has confidence, entering the week off a T-3 in Puerto Rico and he plays well in the event with two top-10s in his last six starts. Was T-6 here last year.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee
Score (Rank):
416,800 (16)
Group A:
Retief Goosen

Group B:
Padraig Harrington

Group C:
Hunter Haas

He loves the Copperheard Course. The last two years, has finished at 8 under in Tampa. Once was good enough to win, the other was fifth place.

Call me crazy, but the Mad Scientist seems to have been implementing those dozen swing changes nicely lately. He was tied for eighth last year.

It may have come in an opposite field event, but the tie for third in Puerto Rico is a continuing sign of Haas' trending upward. Seems like a sneaky pick.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton
Score (Rank):
2,068,888 (10)
Group A:
Nick Watney

Group B:
Padraig Harrington

Group C:
Stephen Ames

In his post-victory presser at Doral, spoke to getting right back at it on Thursday in Tampa. In the zone.
 
Solid tee to cup at Doral to finish T10. Cashed for a T8 here last year. A grinder in his kind of paradise.
 
Finished T3 in Puerto Rico, where he co-led the field in birdies. Top-20s at Copperhead the last two years.


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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.''