Power Rankings: HP Byron Nelson Championship

By Will GrayMay 14, 2013, 7:40 pm

In the wake of its flagship event, the PGA Tour heads to Texas for the next two weeks of action. While Colonial will play host next week, this week all eyes are on TPC Four Seasons in Dallas for the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Jason Dufner returns to defend the title he won last year by one shot over Dicky Pride. Here are 10 names to watch in the heart of Texas:

1. Jason Day: A winner here in 2010, Day has also posted top-10 finishes in Dallas each of the last two years. The Aussie has four top-10 finishes this season, most notably a third-place finish at the Masters, and enters off a tie for 19th at TPC Sawgrass.

2. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar has four top-10s to his credit this season, notably a win at the WGC Match Play, and hasn't missed a cut in 2013. He's finished inside the top 15 each of the past two years, including a tie for sixth in 2011.

3. Marc Leishman: An ideal combination of current form and past event history. Leishman enters off three straight top-10 finishes, including a tie for fourth at Augusta National. He also tied for third last year in Dallas, the third time he finished inside the top 12 in this event since 2009.

4. D.A. Points: In the midst of a career year, Points sits eighth on the Tour's money list thanks to a win in Houston and runner-up finish in New Orleans. He has played well in Dallas before, most notably a third-place finish in 2009 and a tie for seventh in 2010, and has broken par in nine of his last 12 rounds overall.

5. Louis Oosthuizen: The highest-ranked player in this week's field, Oosthuizen has made five PGA Tour starts in events with a cut, but has played the weekend only twice. Those two efforts, though, resulted in a tie for 10th in Houston in addition to last week's T-19 finish at the Stadium Course.

6. Jimmy Walker: Now in possession of the longest active made cut streak on the PGA Tour at 22 in a row, Walker heads to Dallas on the heels of a 5-under 67 Sunday at TPC Sawgrass. He ranks seventh on Tour in birdie average, 10th in scoring average and has three straight top-25 finishes.

7. Keegan Bradley: Bradley notched his first career PGA Tour win here in 2011 and followed up with a T-24 finish last year in defense of his title. After a strong start to the 2013 season, he's missed two consecutive cuts but is likely to bounce back against a relatively weaker field on a course where he's won in the past.

8. J.J. Henry: A graduate of nearby TCU, Henry has a surprisingly strong record in this event: 10 made cuts in 11 appearances, with four top-15 finishes including last year's tie for third. With four missed cuts in his last five starts overall, Henry lacks momentum but appears to thrive in this event.

9. Ryan Palmer: Coming off an emotional week where he tied for fifth at TPC Sawgrass after news of a close friend's death, Palmer returns to a course where he lost in a playoff in 2011 and tied for ninth last year. He's made the cut in six of his last seven starts overall and will undoubtedly benefit from crowd support in his home state this week.

10. Charl Schwartzel: Making his first appearance at this event, Schwartzel has finished inside the top 25 in five of six PGA Tour stroke-play events this year. The South African is sixth on Tour in scoring average, 11th in birdie average and 17th in total putting.

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Man bites off finger during golf course brawl

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 3:45 pm

PLYMOUTH, Mass. – A man has bitten off another man’s finger during a fight at a Massachusetts golf course.

WCVB-TV reports a 47-year-old man was arrested at the Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth Friday after he apparently got into a fight with another golfer and bit off a part of his thumb.

The station reports the victim’s thumb had been bitten off to his knuckle and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident happened around sunset.

The attacker was arrested and charged with mayhem. A police dispatcher declined to comment Saturday and Chief Michael Botieri didn’t immediately return a call seeking more information.

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Snedeker leads by one heading into final round

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 3:26 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Brandt Snedeker took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the weather-delayed Wyndham Championship after finishing the third round Sunday with a 2-under 68.

Snedeker was at 16-under 194 through three rounds of the final PGA Tour event of the regular season. Brian Gay and David Hearn were at 15 under, with Gay shooting a 62 and Hearn a 64.

Thirty players were on the course Saturday when play was suspended because of severe weather. After a delay of 3 hours, 23 minutes, organizers chose to hold things up until Sunday morning.

Snedeker, who shot an opening-round 59 to become just the 10th tour player to break 60, is chasing his first victory since 2016 and his second career win at this tournament.

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Olesen edges past Poulter in Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 3:10 pm

With only two weeks left in the qualification window, Thorbjorn Olesen is now in position to make his Ryder Cup debut.

Olesen finished alone in fourth place at the Nordea Masters, two shots out of a playoff between Thomas Aiken and eventual winner Paul Waring. Olesen carded four straight sub-70 rounds in Sweden, including a final-round 67 that featured three birdies over his final seven holes.

It's a tight race for the fourth and final Ryder Cup spot via the World Points list, and Olesen's showing this week will allow him to move past Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, both of whom didn't play this week, into the No. 4 slot. Olesen is now also less than 40,000 Euros behind Tommy Fleetwood to qualify via the European Points list.

The top four players from both lists on Sept. 2 will qualify for next month's matches, with captain Thomas Bjorn rounding out the roster with four selections on Sept. 4. Poulter and Casey will both have a chance to move back in front next week at The Northern Trust, while the final qualifying week will include the PGA Tour event at TPC Boston and Olesen headlining the field in his homeland at the Made in Denmark.

Even if Olesen fails to qualify automatically for Paris, the 28-year-old continues to bolster his credentials for a possible pick from his countryman, Bjorn. Olesen won the Italian Open in June, finished second at the BMW International Open three weeks later and has now compiled four top-12 finishes over his last five worldwide starts including a T-3 result at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month.

In addition to the players who fail to qualify from the Olesen-Poulter-Casey trio, other candidates for Bjorn's quartet of picks will likely include major champions Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.

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Thompson bounces back from rule violation

By Randall MellAugust 19, 2018, 2:22 am

If Lexi Thompson’s trouble in the sixth fairway brought back any painful memories Saturday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, she shook them off in a hurry.

If the approach of another rules official amid a spirited run of brilliant play rattled her, she didn’t show it.

Thompson posted an 8-under-par 64 in the third round despite another awkward rules infraction.

Her round was impressively bogey free but not mistake free, and so her work will be a little harder Sunday chasing Lizette Salas.

After incurring a one-shot penalty for violating a local rule in effect for preferred lies, Thompson will start the final round five shots back instead of four.

She knows she’s fortunate she isn’t six back.

If a rules official hadn’t witnessed Thompson in the middle of committing the infraction, she could have been assessed an additional penalty shot for playing from the wrong spot.

Thompson got the penalty after stepping on the 10th tee and blowing her drive right, into the sixth fairway. She got it after picking up her ball over there and lifting, cleaning and placing it. She got it because she wasn’t allowed to do that in any other fairway except for the fairway of the hole she was playing.

The preferred-lie rule was distributed to players earlier in the week.

The story here isn’t really the penalty.

Full-field scores from Indy Women in Tech Championship

It’s Thompson’s reaction to it, because she opened this week in such heartfelt fashion. After skipping the Ricoh Women’s British Open to take a month-long “mental break,” Thompson revealed this week that she has been struggling emotionally in the wake of last year’s highs and lows. She opened up about how trying to “hide” her pain and show strength through it all finally became too much to bear. She needed a break. She also candidly shared how the challenges of being a prodigy who has poured herself into the game have led her to seek therapists’ help in building a life about more than golf.

That’s a lot for a 23-year-old to unload publicly.

Last year may have been the best and the worst of Thompson’s career. She said dealing with that controversial four-shot penalty that cost her the ANA Inspiration title, watching her mother battle cancer and losing a grandmother were cumulatively more difficult to deal with than she ever let on. There was also that short missed putt at year’s end that could have vaulted her to Rolex world No. 1 for the first time and led to her winning the Rolex Player of the Year title. She still won twice, won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and was the Golf Writers Association of America Player of the Year.

That’s a lot of peaks and valleys for a young soul.

That’s the kind of year that can make you feel like an old soul in a hurry.

So seeing a rules official approach her on Saturday, you wondered about Thompson gathering herself so quickly. You wondered what she was thinking stepping up and ripping her next shot 215 majestic yards, about her hitting the green and saving par. You wondered about how she  bounced back to birdie 13 and 14 and finish bogey free.

With this week’s soul bearing, you wondered a lot about what rebounding like that meant to her.

We’re left to wonder from afar, though, because she wasn’t asked any of those questions by local reporters afterward. The transcript showed three brief answers to three short questions, none about the penalty or the challenge she met.

Of course, there were other questions to be asked, because local rules have been an issue this year. Did she read the local notes with the preferred lies explanation? She got hit with another local rules issue in Thailand this year, when she hit her ball near an advertising sign and moved the sign, not realizing a local rule made the sign a temporary immovable obstruction.

Of course, there were other good stories in Indy, too, with Sung Hyun Park poised to overtake Ariya Jutanugarn and return to Rolex world No. 1, with Salas holding off Park so brilliantly down the stretch Saturday.

Thompson, though, is the highest ranked American in the world. She’s the face of American women’s golf now. A face more tender, resolute and vulnerable than we have ever seen it.

Folks along the ropes watching her on the back nine in Indy Saturday got to see that better than any of us.