Stat attack!: Rory McIlroy

By John AntoniniDecember 20, 2014, 4:30 pm

Rory McIlroy has already been named by many news outlets as the golfer of the year for 2014. No doubt many more will follow suit. But recognition for McIlroy’s great season comes with the reminder that it wasn’t just a year of successes for the world No. 1. It was a year of many highs and a few lows – and we’re just talking on the course, here, forgetting for a while his engagement and eventual break-up with Caroline Wozniacki or his legal dispute with his former management company. Remember McIlroy giving away the Honda Classic, or his Friday struggles throughout the first half of the year? They’re past history. Here is a tournament-by-tournament statistical recap of McIlroy’s year on the 2013-14 PGA and European tours.

 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 70-67-70-68—275 T-2

The first of five runner-up finishes for McIlroy in 2014, he hit just 18 fairways over the final three rounds (42.8 percent), but it was a two-stroke penalty in the third round for an incorrect drop that cost him as he lost by one to Pablo Larrazabal.

 Omega Dubai Desert Classic 63-70-69-74—276 T-9

This was one of three times Rory would open with a round of 63, his season-low score. He would not win any of those tournaments. 

 WGC-Accenture Match Play  Eliminated in second round by Harris English, 19 holes T-17

McIlroy is 5-1 in the first round of the Match Play, but has gotten past the second round only twice (2009 and 2012).

 Honda Classic 63-66-69-74—272 T-2

This was the only time all year that his scores went up after every round. The inexplicable playoff loss to Russell Henley – Rory was 5 over on the last 12 holes to fall from the lead – marked the second straight stroke-play event in which he opened with a 63 and finished with a 74.

 WGC-Cadillac Championship 70-74-75-74-293 T-25

This was McIlroy’s highest finish in a PGA Tour event in 2014-15, one of just three times he was outside the top 20, and the only tournament all year in which he did not have at least one round in the 60s. 

 Shell Houston Open 70-71-74-65—280 T-17

The final-round 65 moved him from T-37 to T-7. This tournament began a streak of five straight top 10s for McIlroy, matching his best of the year.

 Masters 71-77-71-69—288 T-8

Note the second round, and know that things would get worse on Fridays before they got better. McIlroy had a back-nine 40 in Round 2 at Augusta. For the year, he led the PGA Tour in back-nine scoring average (34.52).

 Wells Fargo Championship 69-76-65-70—280 T-8

If McIlroy matched his first-round 69 on Day 2, he would have won by one stroke. This time his Friday 40 came on the front nine. For the day he made just two of six putts (33 percent) from 4-8 feet. His season average was 71.43 percent. After this week, he was 11th on the World Ranking, his worst placement of the year. 

 Players Championship 70-74-69-66—279 T-6

As it did a week earlier, a second-round 69 would have given McIlroy the victory. McIlroy’s Sunday 66 was a thing of beauty, including six birdies on the back (including 16, 17 and 18).

 BMW PGA Championship 68-71-69-66—274 Won

His first win of 2014 came just days after his well-publicized break-up with Wozniacki. The seven-stroke comeback on Sunday equaled the tournament record and it was, perhaps surprisingly, McIlroy’s first European Tour victory in Europe.

 Memorial Tournament 63-78-69-72—282 T-15

After this event, McIlroy’s second-round scoring average on the PGA Tour was 73.50, ranking 186th of 191 players. His season fairways-hit percentage was 56.70, 144th on Tour.

 U.S. Open 71-68-74-73—286 T-23

At the midway point of his year, McIlroy had one win and eight top-10 finishes, but he was winless on the PGA Tour and ranked 35th in the FedEx Cup standings and 28th on the money list.

 Irish Open 74-69—143 Missed cut

The only time all year McIlroy missed a cut. He hit just 21 greens in two rounds and couldn’t recover when he missed, making par or better just five times when he didn’t hit the green in regulation.

 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open 64-78-68-67—277 T-14

Like the Memorial, his first-round-to-second-round swing was stunning, but he recovered nicely with 10 birdies and three bogeys on the weekend. Eighth on the world ranking after this event, he was about to move up quickly.

 British Open 66-66-68-71—271 Won

McIlroy’s 17-under 271 was the fourth-lowest total in relation to par to win the Open. He dominated on the par 5s at Royal Liverpool, especially Saturday when he made eagle on the 16th and 18th holes to take what became an insurmountable lead of six strokes into Sunday. For the week, McIlroy was one of four players to shoot 12 under on the par-5 holes.

 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 69-64-66-66—265 Won

McIlroy led the field in distance and greens in regulation, while missing only four putts from less than 10 feet. The victory helped McIlroy regain the No. 1 spot on the world ranking.

 PGA Championship 66-67-67-68—268 Won

McIlroy was 16 under par at Valhalla, marking the fourth time he has won a major by shooting at least 13 under par. He joined Tiger Woods as the only players to pull off the Summer Slam (British, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA) since the WGC events were created in 1999. He was 12 under for the week on holes 10-18.

 The Barclays 74-65-70-70—279 T-22

His winning streak ended at three, thanks to a role reversal of sorts from his early-season struggles. McIlroy opened with 74, his worst first round of the season on the PGA Tour (he also shot 74 to start the Irish Open). 

 Deutsche Bank Championship 70-69-64-70—273 T-5

McIlroy shot 6.43 strokes better than the field during his third-round 64, but he shot 70 on Monday when the field averaged 69.

 BMW Championship 67-67-72-66—272 T-8

McIlroy made his longest putt of the year (59 feet, 8 inches) on the fourth hole of the third round. For the year, he led the PGA Tour in putting from beyond 25 feet, making 11.70 percent (22 of 188). 

 Tour Championship 69-65-67-71—272 T-2

McIlroy’s U.S. season ended with his PGA Tour-best 12th top-10 finish. He also led the Tour in birdie average (4.58), scoring average (68.29), earnings ($8,280,086), and putts per GIR (1.708, which was the second-lowest total on Tour in the last 10 years).

 Alfred Dunhill Links 73-67-64-68—272 T-2

In his only European Tour event in September or October, McIlroy had his second of three consecutive runner-up finishes. This time he was gutted by a first-round 73. It was the eighth straight time he would shoot in the 60s in Round 2. Through the Scottish Open his Friday average was 73.00. In his last nine starts he averaged 66.66 in Round 2. 

 DP World Tour Championship 66-70-70-68—274 T-2

In his last five European Tour starts of 2014, McIlroy finished first three times and second twice. Nineteen of 20 rounds were under par, and he was a cumulative 78 under par in the five events.

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(Not that) Jutanugarn shares lead with (not that) Ko

By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 1:58 am

LOS ANGELES - A player eager for her first win and a rookie top the leaderboard at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open. Lurking two shots back is a Hall of Famer.

Winless Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie rookie Jin Young Ko at 9 under on Saturday at Wilshire Country Club.

Ko shot a 66 in her bid to become the year's first two-time LPGA winner. She won the Women's Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member after a successful run on the Korean LPGA circuit.

''I'm ready for win or top 10, so maybe tomorrow I will really focus on shot by shot,'' said Ko, who added an exclamation point to her golf bag for each of her wins on the KLPGA. ''I won 11 times, so if I win tomorrow, maybe I change to 12. I need more, I need every time motivation.''

Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.

Usually when one of the Thai sisters is in the lead, the other will watch when her round is finished.

''If she's not too lazy, she is probably going to come out,'' Moriya said about Ariya.

Playing in an all-Korean threesome, Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole. The group drew a large contingent of Korean fans.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

''I kind of started off a little bad. I was able to come back strong, so I'm really happy with that,'' Park said. ''I left a few putts out there. The greens around this golf course are just really tough. You just don't know what's going to happen.''

Moriya Jutanugarn's round included a double bogey on the par-4 first hole and a bogey on the par-4 sixth. She eagled the par-4 14th after holing out from the fairway 93 feet away. The ball took once bounce and went in, eliciting a stunned look from Jutanugarn before she high-fived her caddie.

''Today was kind of a pretty rough day for me with not a very good start and like trying to come back,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I just try to play my game and be patient out there I think is the key.''

Jutanugarn, the second-round leader, read the break perfectly on a long putt to make birdie on 18 and share the lead with Ko.

Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th from 180 yards. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled after three bogeys and a double bogey. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.

''It was like one bounce and then it like trickled in,'' Inglis said.

Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.

Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.

Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 under.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 70 and was in a six-way tie for 12th at 2 under.

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Defending champs Singh, Franco take senior lead

By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 12:15 am

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco took the third-round lead Saturday in the windy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Singh and Franco shot a 7-under 47 in wind gusting to 20 mph on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to get to 19-under 145, a stroke ahead of the teams of David Toms-Steve Flesch and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett.

''It was a tough day,'' Singh said. ''The wind was swirling, have to get the club right and we made some putts. Carlos played really well on the back nine and I played really well on the front nine, so we ham-and-egged it a little.''

Toms and Flesch also shot 47, and Broadhurst and Triplett had a 33 on the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course.

''We just paired well together,'' Toms said. ''I don't think either one of us played great. We picked each other up out there.''

Wind and rain is expected Sunday when the teams finish at Top of the Rock, again playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

''Make as many birdies as possible and see what happens,'' Singh said. ''That's all we can do.''

Singh and Franco are trying to become the first to successfully defend a title since Jim Colbert and Andy North in 2001. Singh won the Toshiba Classic in March for his first individual senior title.

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Flesch won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last week in Georgia for his first senior victory.

Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer had a 34 at Mountain Top to join Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal at 17 under. Jimenez and Olazabal had a 33 at Mountain Top.

''It's great for me to be able to play with him as a team member,'' Olazabal said. ''We do have great memories from the Ryder Cup and other events, and it's always a great pleasure to play with a great player and a friend.''

Langer took the final-round forecast in stride.

''We've done it hundreds of times before and we'll probably do it again,'' Langer said. ''We'll make the best of it. We both have a good attitude. We're known to play in all sorts of weather and I just look forward to playing one more day with my partner here.''

Wisconsin neighbors Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were 16 under after a 48 at Top of the Rock.

John Daly and Michael Allen, the second-round leaders after a 46 at Top of the Rock, had a 37 at Mountain Top to drop into a tie for seventh at 15 under.

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Landry shares Valero lead, eyes first career win

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 11:15 pm

After coming up just short of a breakthrough win earlier this season, Andrew Landry has another chance to earn his maiden victory at the Valero Texas Open.

Landry came within inches of winning the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, ultimately losing to Jon Rahm in a four-hole playoff. He struggled to find form in the wake of his close call, missing the cut in each of his four starts following his runner-up finish in Palm Springs.

But Landry took some time off to welcome his first child, Brooks, last month and he made it to the weekend in his first start back last week at the RBC Heritage, where he finished T-42. He made a move up the standings Saturday at TPC San Antonio with a bogey-free 67, and at 13 under shares the lead with Zach Johnson heading into the final round.

"I just did everything really good," Landry told reporters. "I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat, and I had a couple bad putts that I didn't really make. I'm happy with it, it's a good 5-under round. Gets me in the final group tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Landry started the day one shot off the pace and in the final group with Johnson and Ryan Moore, and at one point he took sole possession of the lead after birdies on three of his first six holes. Now he'll have another chance in the day's final tee time where he's grouped with Johnson and Trey Mullinax, who sits one shot back after firing a course-record 62 in the third round.

For Landry, it's another opportunity to break into the winner's circle, and it's one for which he feels prepared after coming so close three months ago.

"I mean, I don't want to go too deep into it because I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I just believe in myself. There's no other explanation for it," Landry said. "You can totally get out here and play with Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, two top players in the world, and you can go out there and fold under pressure or you can learn a lot.

"Zach's always been a role model to me the way he plays golf, I feel like we have very similar games, and it's just going to be fun tomorrow getting to play with him again."

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Z. Johnson, Landry share 54-hole Texas Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 10:56 pm

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson birdied the par-5 18th Saturday at the Valero Texas Open for a share of the third-round lead with Andrew Landry, a stroke ahead of record-setting Trey Mullinax.

Johnson shot a 4-under 68, holing a 10-footer on 18 to match Landry at 13-under 203 at TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks. Landry birdied the 16th and 17th in a 67.

Johnson won the event in 2008 and 2009, the last two times it was played at LaCantera. The 42-year-old Iowan is trying to win for the first time since the 2015 British Open.

''I've got 18 holes to get to that point,'' Johnson said. ''I've got to do exactly what I did on the back side and that was give myself opportunities on every hole. I'm putting great, I'm seeing the lines well, my caddie's reading the greens well, so it's just a matter of committing and executing down the stretch.''

The 30-year-old Landry is winless on the tour.

''I'm a good putter and I just need to give myself a lot of opportunities tomorrow like I did today,'' Landry said. ''I'll be looking forward to tomorrow.''

Mullinax had a course-record 62. He played the back nine in 7-under 29, going 6 under on the last five with eagles on the par-5 14th and 18th and birdies on 16 and 17. He also birdied Nos. 10 and 12 and bogeyed 11.

''It's probably one of the best rounds I've ever had,'' Mullinax said. ''To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good.''

Johnson played the front nine in even par with two birdies and two bogeys. He birdied Nos. 11, 14, 15 and 18 on the back nine.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

''Different wind today early on, misjudged some numbers, misjudged some wind, made some bad swings, all of the above,'' Johnson said. ''But truthfully, my short game was actually pretty good, my putting was great. I missed some putts, but I hit some really good ones, hit some lines and I gave myself opportunities especially on the back side.''

Landry had a bogey-free round.

''I just did everything really good,'' Landry said. ''I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat.''

Ryan Moore was two strokes back at 11 under after a 70. Sean O'Hair had a 65 to join 2015 champion Jimmy Walker (67), Chris Kirk (68) and 2013 winner Martin Laird (69) at 9 under.

''I just feel like I'm getting closer and closer to playing better and better golf, more solid golf, putting rounds together,'' Walker said. ''I'm excited for the opportunity tomorrow.''

Mullinax has made 42 of 44 putts from inside 10 feet this week.

''They just kind of remind me of greens from home,'' Mullinax said. ''My caddie, David (Flynn), has been reading them really well. We trusted each other on our reads and I've been hitting good putts. Been working hard on putting on the weeks off that I've had so it's good to see some results.''

The 25-year-old former Alabama player chipped in for the eagle on 14 and the birdie on the par-3 16th.

''It was just a little bit down the hill,'' he said about the 16th. ''All you had to do was just land it just past that little light grass spot. My caddie told me just read it like a putt, so I tried to just read it like a putt and it went in.''

On 18, he hit a 3-iron from 255 yards to 15 feet to set up his eagle putt. He broke the course record of 63 set by Matt Every in 201 and matched by Laird in 2013. The tournament record is 60 at LaCantera, by Bart Bryant in 2004 and Johnson in 2009.