Power Rankings: Northern Trust Open

By Will GrayFebruary 12, 2013, 5:25 pm

This week the PGA Tour holds its final California-based event of the West Coast Swing, heading to Riviera Country Club outside Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open. This year's event boasts a strong field, with several top players making their 2013 season debuts at 'Hogan's Alley.'

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Bill Haas returns to defend his title, one that he won in dramatic fashion last year in a sudden-death playoff over Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Here are 10 players to watch this week beneath the California sun:

1. Phil Mickelson: Each of the last two players to top the Power Rankings have gone on to miss the cut, so caveat emptor. Mickelson's dominant win in Phoenix is now his only top-30 finish in four starts this year, but his Riviera track record can't be ignored - two wins and two runner-ups since 2007. Playing a fifth straight week, fatigue may be a concern...but he played the same stretch last year and finished T-2 here.

2. Charl Schwartzel: The hottest golfer on the planet not named Brandt Snedeker. Schwartzel's last six worldwide starts have all netted top-five finishes, including two wins. Coming off a second-place finish at the Joburg Open last week. Flying across 10 time zones to play this week, though.

3. Sergio Garcia: Played well on the European Tour's Desert Swing to begin his 2013 campaign, including a T-2 finish in Qatar. Rallied to tie for fourth here last year on the heels of a Sunday 64 on a day when only four other players broke 70.

4. Aaron Baddeley: A winner here in 2011, Badds has started well this year on some tough courses, tying for 12th at Pebble after a tie for sixth at Torrey Pines. Tied for 11th here last year and has made the cut in each of his 10 Riviera appearances.

5. Jimmy Walker: Walker was right below Baddeley in last week's Power Rankings, and they both played well so I'll leave them together. Tied for fourth each of the last two years at Riviera and now has a pair of top-five finishes in his last three starts after a strong performance at Pebble Beach.

6. Dustin Johnson: Improbably struggled last week at Pebble, but perhaps he'll benefit from a pairing that won't include a Gretzky? DJ has been inside the top 10 three of the last four years at this event, but has yet to play well in the wake of his season-opening win at Kapalua.

7. Adam Scott: One of many top-tier players making their season debuts this week. Although he's only played here six times since 2005, four of those appearances resulted in a top-20 finish, including a win in '05, runner-up in '06 and a T-17 showing last year. Finished his 2012 season in strong fashion, including a win in his native Australia.

8. Luke Donald: The top-ranked player in this week's field, Donald has struggled here recently but posted three straight top-six finishes from 2008-2010, including a runner-up showing in 2010. Making his first worldwide start of 2013, though, so rust may be a factor.

9. J.B. Holmes: Holmes has struggled to get out of the gates in 2013, but his record in this event is outstanding. His worst finish here in five starts since 2008 is a tie for 12th in 2011; each of the other four appearances resulted in a top-eight finish. His stroke average here across the last five years is a stellar 69.05.

10. Webb Simpson: The reigning U.S. Open champ has been characteristically solid - though unspectacular - this year. Jumped into the top-10 with a Saturday 65 at Pebble but faded out of contention Sunday, finishing T-26. Simpson tied for 15th here in 2010, his lone NTO appearance, when he shot 69-65 across the final two days.

11. Fred Couples: Last week's wild card was Vijay Singh, shrouded in antler-infused controversy, and this week we make extra room for the ultimate Riviera wild card. Couples made his first start in this event way back in 1982, and since then has tallied 14 top-10 finishes, including a pair of wins and three runner-ups. Finished T-7 here as recently as 2011.

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Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 3:20 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.

McIlroy, who led by three shots at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.

Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.

Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''

He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.