Power Rankings: 2014 HP Byron Nelson Championship

By Will GrayMay 13, 2014, 7:28 pm

This week marks the 27th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour heads back to the Lone Star State for the HP Byron Nelson Championship. A field of 156 players will tee it up this week at TPC Four Seasons, where low scores are expected.

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Sang-Moon Bae returns to defend the title he won here a year ago by two shots over Keegan Bradley.. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Dallas:

1. Keegan Bradley: Bradley notched his first PGA Tour win here in 2011 and nearly went wire-to-wire a year ago. While he had an uncharacteristic missed cut at TPC Sawgrass, Bradley has eight top-25 finishes in 14 starts this season and should get things back on track this week at TPC Four Seasons, where he clearly feels comfortable.

2. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar "only" tied for 17th at the Players, which was his worst result in almost two months. Kuchar remains one of the most consistent players around this season and he has finished no worse than T-42 in six career appearances in Dallas. He's second on Tour in scoring average and tied for sixth here in 2011.

3. Jordan Spieth: Spieth comes in off another high finish at TPC Sawgrass and has been upfront about the fact that his hometown event is close to his heart. He now has six top-10 finishes this season and is sixth on Tour in scoring average. Spieth may face an emotional letdown post-Players but he bounced back in a similar spot last month at the RBC Heritage, where he tied for 12th after the Masters.

4. Jimmy Walker: Walker is another Texan and one of only four players to finish inside the top 10 at both the Masters and the Players Championship. He remains atop the FedEx Cup standings, leads the Tour in strokes gained putting and currently sits second in birdie average. Walker has missed only one cut in seven career appearances in this event.

5. Dustin Johnson: DJ hasn't played in Dallas since 2011, but his most recent three appearances here all netted top-20 finishes, including a tie for fourth in 2009. While he's cooled off since his torrid streak through February and March, Johnson still ranks second on Tour in driving distance and seventh in GIR percentage.

6. Marc Leishman: Leishman hasn't had a 2014 season to remember, but he did rally with a Sunday 67 at TPC Sawgrass and has a scintillating record at TPC Four Seasons. Leishman has four top-12 finishes here in the last five years and if there's one thing we've learned this season, it's not to bet against the Aussies.

7. Charl Schwartzel: Schwartzel was third here a year ago and while he's made limited starts this season, he does have five top-25 finishes in eight events. The South African hasn't won in the U.S. since his major triumph more than three years ago, but the same could be said of Martin Kaymer last week.

8. Ryan Palmer: Palmer is another Texan who has played well in the DFW area, with two top-10 finishes in the last three years including a playoff loss to Keegan Bradley in 2011. Palmer already has a pair of runner-up finishes to his credit this season and ranks third on Tour in the all-around.

9. Harris English: One of the breakout stars of 2013-14, English already has six top-10 finishes and nine top-25s to his credit this season. He tied for 17th in Dallas a year ago, when he contended for the title before a final-round 74. English is third on Tour in GIR percentage, fifth in scoring average and sixth in birdie average.

10. Graham DeLaet: DeLaet remains arguably the top player on Tour still without a win, though that drought could end this week. The Canadian tied for 10th a year ago, when he carded four straight rounds of par or better, and leads the Tour in GIR percentage this season.

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Stricker shares first-round lead in South Dakota

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:48 am

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead at the Sanford International.

The 51-year-old Stricker was 8 under through 17 holes at chilly, rain-softened Minnehaha Country Club but closed with a bogey to fall into a tie with Jerry Smith, Brandt Jobe and David McKenzie.

Stricker only got to play seven holes in the pro-am because of rain that prevented the field from getting in much practice.

''You've just kind of got to trust your yardage book and hit to the spots and then try to make a good game plan on the way into the green, too, not really knowing where to hit it or where to miss it up there on the green. Sometimes it's good, too,'' Stricker said. ''You go around and you're focused a lot more on hitting it to a specific spot and not knowing what lies ahead in the course. So I guess today was the ultimate 'Take one hole at a time' because we didn't really know anything else, what was coming.''


Full-field scores from the Sanford International


Stricker has two wins and has not finished worse than fifth in six starts this season on the over-50 tour as he continues to play a part-time schedule on the PGA Tour. Next week, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants at the matches outside Paris.

McKenzie, a 51-year-old Australian, had two eagles on the back nine, holing a wedge from 116 yards on the par-5 16th.

''We got told ... to play faster on No. 16, and so my caddie just said, 'Hit it in the hole so you don't have to putt it,' so I just did what he told me,'' McKenzie said.

Smith had eagles on Nos. 4 and 12.

''Honestly, I was just trying to hit some good shots and I really wasn't with the irons,'' Smith said. ''I just really didn't like the way I hit them today. You know, just the putter was the big difference for me. I just felt good with it all day, especially say outside of 10, 15 feet, where I felt like I was a lot.''

Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen and Paul Goydos were one shot back. McCarron came in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money standings behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not playing this week.

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Glover (64) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:12 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot his second consecutive 7-under 64 on Friday to take a one-shot lead at the Web.com Tour Championship.

The 38-year-old Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, can still regain his PGA Tour card through a medical extension if he fails to earn enough money in the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals. But a high finish this weekend at Atlantic Beach Country Club would take care of everything.

''I've got a lot to fall back on regardless of this week, but any time I tee it up, I want to play well,'' Glover said. ''Tomorrow won't be any different. Sunday won't be any different.''

Glover had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and will have eight starts to earn 53 FedEx Cup points and keep his card. He earned $17,212 in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events. The top 25 money winners in the series earn PGA Tour cards, and the final card went for $40,625 last year.

Glover was at 14-under 128. Denny McCarthy, who has already earned enough money to secure a return to the PGA Tour, was one shot back. McCarthy, a former Virginia player, has a shot at winning the Finals money list, which would guarantee him fully exempt status and entry into The Players Championship.


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


''There's no secret about it. I'll come out and tell you I'm here to win this tournament and get that No. 1 spot,'' McCarthy said. ''I've been hungry for a while. I have a pretty hungry attitude and I'm going to stay hungry.''

Tour veteran Cameron Tringale, who has earned just $2,660 after missing two of the first three cuts, was 12 under after a 67. Last year, Tringale entered the Web.com Tour Championship at 63rd on the Finals money list and finished tied for fifth to get back onto the PGA Tour. He struggled again this season, though, missing 19 cuts in 26 starts.

''Yeah, I was hoping last year was my last time here, but I do have a comfort at this golf course and I'm excited to keep pressing,'' Tringale said.

The four-tournament series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top 25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals.

Sepp Straka and Ben Silverman were three shots back. Each would likely need a top-5 finish to earn his card.

Peter Malnati, who regained his card with a second-place finish in the opening finals event, followed his opening-round 74 with a 9-under 62, shooting an 8-under 27 on his second nine.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley was among those who missed the cut. He was 22nd on the finals money list going in and likely will fall short of earning his card.

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Thomas (69) only three back with 'C' or 'D' game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTA – Justin Thomas was tied for fourth place following his second-round 69 on Friday at the Tour Championship, which considering the state of his game on Day 2 was an accomplishment.

“I wish I had my 'B' game today. I would say I had my 'C' or 'D' game today,” he laughed.

Thomas’ struggles were primarily with his driver and he hit just 6 of 14 fairways at East Lake, but he was able to scramble late in his round with birdies at Nos. 15 and 18 to remain three off the lead.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I drove it so poorly today, this is probably in my top 5 rounds of the year I'm most proud of just because I easily could have shot 4- or 5-over par today and not had a chance to win the tournament,” he said. “I hung in there and birdied two of the last four, and I have a chance.”

Thomas was slowed the last two weeks by a right wrist injury that limited his preparation for the finale and said the issue with his driver is timing and the byproduct of a lack of practice.

Thomas made up for his erratic driving with his short game, getting up and down four out of seven times including on the fourth hole when he missed the fairway well left, punched out short of the green and chipped in from 81 feet.

“[Rory McIlroy] just kind of said it looked like a ‘3’ the whole day and I kind of laughed because I played with him at The Players and I chipped in three times that first round with him, so I guess he's good luck for me,” Thomas said.

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McIlroy two behind Woods, Rose after 68

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:46 pm

ATLANTA – Maybe it should be no huge surprise that Rory McIlroy finds himself back in contention at the Tour Championship. It is, after all, a Ryder Cup year.

In 2016, McIlroy won the finale before heading to Hazeltine and posting a 3-2-0 record. In ’14, he finished runner-up to Billy Horschel and went 2-1-2 at the Ryder Cup; and in ’12 he finished tied for 10th place at East Lake and went 3-2-0 at Medinah.

“I was on such a high a couple of years ago going into Hazeltine after winning the whole thing, and I felt great about my game that week and played well. I won three matches,” McIlroy said. “I guess it doesn't matter whether it's a match play event or whatever. If you're playing well and you've played well the week before, I think most people can carry it into the next week, whatever that is.”


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


McIlroy’s performance this week certainly qualifies as “playing well.” He charged out on Friday with birdies at two of his first three holes and bounced back from a pair of late bogeys to shoot a 68 and was in third place and two strokes off the lead held by Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.

“I've made 12 birdies in 36 holes, which is really good around here, and that's with not birdieing either of the par 5s today,” he said. “So yeah, just tidy up the mistakes a little bit.”