Power Rankings: 2017 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2017, 12:39 pm

The 2017 fantasy golf season remains in California this week, as the PGA Tour travels to San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the South Course at Torrey Pines in addition to the newly-renovated North Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Brandt Snedeker won this event last year by one shot over K.J. Choi. Here are 10 players to watch in La Jolla:

1. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama cooled somewhat at the Sony, but his recent run of form can't be ignored. The Japanese sensation has won four of his last seven worldwide starts, and his elite ball-striking should separate him from the field on a demanding layout like the South Course at Torrey Pines.

2. Brandt Snedeker: Last year's champ tends to feast on these two courses, as he leads the Tour in birdies and scoring average at this event since 2010. Snedeker missed the cut at Waialae but thrives on poa annua greens like those offered at Torrey Pines.

3. Dustin Johnson: The globetrotting major champ comes in hot after a runner-up in Abu Dhabi, so jet lag is a bit of a concern. But Johnson's form is not, as he has gone T-3, T-6, T-2 in his last three worldwide starts. Length off the tee will be an advantage with three rounds on the South Course, a former U.S. Open venue that should favor, well, a U.S. Open champion.

4. Jason Day: The world No. 1 sparked a flurry of worldwide victories with his win at this event back in 2015, so he clearly knows his way around. But Day is still making just his second start since the Tour Championship in September and still may be shaking off some rust heading into a more robust part of his schedule.

5. Jimmy Walker: Walker hasn't made much noise since his major breakthrough at Baltusrol, but that could change this week on a course where he has some history. Walker has finished T-8 or better in four of his last five trips to San Diego, including a T-4 finish last year despite a closing 77 in blustery conditions.

6. Rickie Fowler: Fowler thrived at this event early in his career, with top-20 finishes in each of his four appearances, but he has missed the cut in two of three trips since. Like Johnson, Fowler made the trip from Abu Dhabi to San Diego, but his game should still be relatively sharp after a shorter offseason than many of his peers.

7. Charles Howell III: Few players are hotter right now than Howell, who has finished T-15 or better in each of his last five PGA Tour starts. That includes a T-8 at Sony and a T-12 in Palm Springs in each of the last two weeks, and he has four top-20 finishes at Torrey Pines since 2011.

8. Justin Rose: The gold medalist deserves a spot on this list, especially coming off a runner-up finish at Waialae, but course history is a concern. Rose has never cracked the top 20 at this event, and he has missed the cut in each of his last two appearances. Still, Rose's tee-to-green game should give him a strong chance to contend on a tough layout.

9. Shane Lowry: For the Irishman, the tougher the course, the better. Lowry earned his lone PGA Tour win at Firestone, nearly won last summer at Oakmont and has also contended at Torrey Pines, where he chased a T-7 finish in 2015 with a T-13 finish last year. Lowry hasn't played an individual event since November, but don't be surprised if he's on the leaderboard.

10. Martin Laird: Laird finished T-9 in Palm Springs and over the years he has learned how to tame Torrey Pines. The Scot has two straight top-10 finishes at this event, and he has broken par in his opening round on the South Course each of the last three years - a big key to contending over the weekend.

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Haas nearly shoots age in taking Champions playoff opener lead

By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 10:05 pm

RICHMOND, Va.  -- Jay Haas shot a 7-under 65 - missing his age by a stroke - to take a two-shot lead Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Trying to become the oldest winner in tour history, the 64-year-old Haas birdied the par-5 16th and 18th holes to get to 11-under 133 on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.

''I've been out here too long to know that I can learn to expect anything,'' Haas said. ''While I'm hopeful every day and I've been playing OK, the last couple weeks have not been very good, but this week has been much better. I love this golf course and it looks good to my eye. Most of the holes look like I'm going to hit a good shot, so I enjoy playing here.''

Mike Fetchick set the age record of 63 years to the day in the 1985 Hilton Head event. Haas is second on the list, taking the 2016 Toshiba Classic at 62 years, 10 months, 7 days for his 18th senior title.

''That's a good way to say I'm old, 'experience,''' Haas said. ''I think I'm very nervous most of the time when I play and today was no exception, but I continued to hit good shots and, hopefully, I can put one foot in front of the other, one shot at a time, do what I tell my son to do every time, you know? See if I can put some of those adages to work tomorrow.''

Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic

Stephen Ames and Scott Dunlap were tied for second after the round that started in light rain. Ames had a 67, and Dunlap shot 68.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer had a 66 to join Billy Mayfair (67) and Woody Austin (68) at 9 under. Langer won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the season points lead. The 61-year-old German star has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, was tied for 23rd at 4 under after a 71.

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Sergio leads by 4 entering final round at Valderrama

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 20, 2018, 9:26 pm

Sergio Garcia closed with three straight birdies to shoot a 7-under 64 on Saturday, taking a four-shot lead into the third and final round of the Andalusia Valderrama Masters.

The tournament, which Garcia has won  twice (2017, 2011), was reduced to 54 holes because of numerous weather-related delays.

With his bogey-free round, Garcia moved to 10 under, four shots clear of Englishman Ashley Chesters, who shot a 1-under 70.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

"Hopefully we'll be able to play well tomorrow and get another win at Valderrama," Garcia said. "Hopefully I can finish it in style."

Chesters, however, is conceding nothing. "There's always a chance," he said. "There's not a lot of pressure on me."

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Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''

Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai

Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

"Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

"We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

"You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."