Stat attack!: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open preview

By John AntoniniOctober 14, 2014, 7:28 pm

Welcome to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, where the desert is hot and the golfers are hotter. In the 10 years that the Las Vegas event has been a four-round tournament, only once has the winner shot less than 20 under par.

Last year, Webb Simpson posted 24 under, en route to a tournament-record, six-stroke victory over Jason Bohn and Ryo Ishikawa. Simpson didn’t shoot higher than 67 in any round last year. In the last five years no champion has shot higher than 68, and no winner at Las Vegas has had a round in the 70s since Jim Furyk in 1999.

The field average has been in the 60s every year since the TPC Summerlin became a par-71 course in 2009. Four times in the last five years more than half of the rounds were in the 60s. The Shriners was one of four Tour events last season where players were in the 60s in more than half their rounds. Expect the low scoring to continue this week.

Going low at TPC Summerlin: 2009-2013

 Year Winner Score Field avg. Rounds in 60s 65s or better
 2013 Webb Simpson -24 69.55 208 of 405 (51.36%) 36
 2012 Ryan Moore -24 69.71 203 of 408 (49.75) 24
 2011 Kevin Na -23 68.82 249 of 418 (59.57) 37
 2010 Jonathan Byrd -21 68.96 260 of 409 (63.57) 37
 2009 Martin Laird -19 69.15 238 of 408 (58.33) 41

Tournaments with the highest percentage of rounds in the 60s in 2014

 Tournament Percent of rounds in 60s Par
 Humana Challenge 58.11% 72
 Wyndham Championship 56.77 70
 Sony Open 56.52 70
 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open 51.36 71
John Deere Classic 49.57 71

Casting his Webb

During his victory, Simpson finished in the top five in the field in Las Vegas in greens in regulation (T-2), proximity to the hole (fourth), scrambling (T-3), strokes gained/putting (first) and putting from more than 10 feet (first). Simpson made 15 putts from more than 10 feet in 2013, no other player in the field made more than 12 from that distance.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open leaders in putting from more than 10 feet in 2013

 Player Putts made/total Percentage Tournament finish
 Webb Simpson 15 for 49 30.61% Won
 Will Mackenzie 12 for 40 30.00 T-15
 John Huh 12 for 43 27.91 T-30
 Stephen Ames 12 for 46 26.09 T-48
 Jason Bohn 11 for 45 24.44 T-2

Home cookin’

Simpson’s victory a year ago ended a streak of Shriners winners who live in Las Vegas, as Kevin Na in 2011 and Ryan Moore in 2012 didn’t have to commute far to get to TPC Summerlin. Charley Hoffman came close to making it three straight home winners a year ago, finishing fourth. In addition, Las Vegas resident Nick Watney finished second in 2011 and former UNLV player Chad Campbell was T-2 in 2009.

Can a player with ties to the host city win again this week? Eleven players in the 2014 Shriners field went to school in Las Vegas or live in the city. Seven of them have finished in the top 10.

How players with Las Vegas ties have fared in the Shriners

 Player Shriners starts Cuts made Top 10s Best finish
 Chad Campbell 11 10 2 T-2 in 2009
 Alex Cejka 8 4 0 T-24 in 2009
 Derek Ernst 1 0 0  
 Andres Gonzales 4 2 0 T-63 in 2006
 Charley Hoffman 10 6 3 Fourth in 2013
 Bill Lunde 7 4 1 Fifth in 2012
 Ryan Moore 8 7 3 Won in 2012
 Kevin Na 8 6 1 Won in 2011
 Scott Piercy 8 6 2 T-6 in 2012
 Alex Prugh 3 2 0 T-29 in 2011
 Nick Watney 9 7 4 Second in 2011

Moore than enough

Ryan Moore is the only player to shoot four rounds in the 60s at the Shriners in each of the last two years. Moore won in 2012, shooting 24-under 260, including an opening 61. It was quite an October for Moore, whose wife, Nichole, gave birth to baby Tucker two weeks later.

Last fall, Moore shot 69-63-69-68—269 to finish T-9, nine strokes back of Webb Simpson.

Simpson, by the way, has shot nine consecutive rounds in the 60s at TPC Summerlin, including four in 2010 and one in 2009. Simpson did not play the tournament in 2011 or 2012.  Carl Pettersson also has nine straight rounds in the 60s at Summerlin, having played every other year since 2009.

Here’s the list of players in this year’s field who had four rounds in the 60s in 2013. 

Four rounds in the 60s at TPC Summerlin in 2013

 Player Rounds in 2013 Finish Consecutive 60s at TPC Summerlin
 Webb Simpson 64-63-67-66 Won 9
 Jason Bohn 67-64-69-66 T-2 4
 Ryo Ishikawa 67-66-68-65 T-2 4
 Charles Howell III 67-69-67-65 T-5 5
 Ryan Moore 69-63-69-68 T-9 8
 Carl Pettersson 68-67-69-66 T-12 9
 Andrew Svoboda 68-67-67-69 T-15 4

Picking up where he left off

Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, makes his 2015 season debut at the Shriners. He took a short, one-month break to enjoy his windfall for winning the BMW Championship, the Tour Championship and the $10 million annuity that goes with the Cup – not to mention the birth of his first child, daughter Skylar, two days after the Tour Championship ended. Now he returns, hoping to extend his winning streak to three straight events. 

Since 2000, two players have ended one year with a win and began the next season the same way.  Tiger Woods has done it three times and Jonathan Byrd did it once. We’re not talking about a season-ending/season-opening tournament, but the last and first start by a particular player in the given years.

Players who won their last start of one season and first start the next since 2000

 Player Last start First start
 Tiger Woods 1999 WGC-American Express 2000 Mercedes Championship
 Tiger Woods 2006 WGC-American Express 2007 Buick Invitational
 Tiger Woods 2007 Tour Championship 2008 Buick Invitational
 Jonathan Byrd 2010 Shriners Las Vegas 2011 Hyundai T of C

One final thought: Martin Laird, T-3 last week at the Frys.com Open, has a strong resume in Las Vegas. The Scotsman made the Las Vegas stop his first PGA Tour win in 2009 and he was second a year later. In 2010 Laird lost a playoff to Jonathan Byrd, who became the first player to win a playoff with a hole-in-one, ending Laird’s hopes of a repeat victory with an ace on the fourth extra hole.

If you haven't already done so, please follow me on Twitter at @johnantoninigc

 

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee birdied the 18th hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship.

Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round around the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18, a reachable par 5. Her second shot landed a few feet to the right of the green, and she calmly chipped to about 3 feet

She made the putt to finish at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. It was the Australian standout's fourth career victory and first since 2016.

Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst shot an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

The 52-year-old Englishman finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).

Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory. He won six times on the European Tour and has three European Senior Tour victories.

BYU men's golf team BYU

Sunday rule proves no advantage for BYU at NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 27, 2018, 10:06 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – For all the kvetching about the advantage BYU would gain by not playing on Sunday with the other teams at the NCAA Championship, one small thing was conveniently forgotten.

What happens if the Cougars were actually disadvantaged?

That’s what appears to have happened here at Karsten Creek.

Because the Mormon-run school prohibits athletics on Sunday, the NCAA accommodated BYU using its “Sunday Play” rule for the first time in the match-play era. (It was the team’s first NCAA berth since 2006.) That meant that BYU played its practice round last Wednesday, before the start of the final match of the NCAA Women’s Championship. The next day, the Cougars played their Sunday round – the third round of stroke-play qualifying – a half hour after the other 29 teams completed their practice round.

Some coaches grumbled about the issue of competitive fairness: What if BYU played in calm conditions for its third round on Thursday, while everybody else competed in rain and 30-mph winds come Sunday?

BYU coach Bruce Brockbank has been on the NCAA competition committee for the past four years, but even he was curious about how it would all play out.

For the practice round, the NCAA informed the Cougars that they needed to be off the course by 1:30 p.m. local time, a little more than a half hour before the start of the women’s final between Arizona and Alabama. All six players got a look at the course in 5 hours and 30 minutes – or an hour and 15 minutes less than the official Thursday practice round – and needed to run between shots on the 17th and 18th holes to finish on time.

Brockbank tried to prepare his players for what they would face Thursday. It’s a different experience without a playing marker – not seeing another shot affected by the wind, not watching another ball break on the greens, not falling into a rhythm with pace – but perhaps no amount of simulated rounds would have helped.

Playing as singles, with only a rules official and a walking scorer by its side, BYU began its NCAA Championship at 4 p.m. local time Thursday. The Cougars got in only a few holes before the horn sounded to suspend play. It turned out to be a two-hour weather delay, and players slapped it around a sloppy, soggy course until dark, with their last single on the 11th hole.

They returned the next morning, at 6:55, and wrapped up their round in an hour and a half before turning around for another 18.

Their final tally? They shot 24-over 312 – easily the worst third-round score of any team.

“We obviously didn’t handle it very well,” Brockbank said, “but it definitely wasn’t an advantage.”

BYU rebounded the next two rounds, with scores of 298-286, putting the team squarely inside the top-15 cut line.

“And six or seven hours,” he said, “we were right there with the best teams in the country.”

But then the third-round scores got posted, and it was clear that they had no chance of advancing past the 54-hole cut.

“It was pretty frustrating to watch our guys,” he said. “We just didn’t handle it very well.”

The same was true for the team’s best player, senior Patrick Fishburn. With just the first and second round counting, Fishburn (67-72) was in a tie for second, one shot off the individual lead, heading into Sunday. Then his third-round 78 from Thursday was posted, and he tumbled down the leaderboard, needing help just to advance to the final round of stroke-play qualifying.

“I’d rather have it this way,” Brockbank said. “If we had shot 5 under par and everyone else is over par, I don’t want to hear that wrath. The coaches wouldn’t put up with that. The fact that we’re not a factor, it’ll go away. But if the day did go well, it would have been a different story.”

Still, it was a strange dynamic Sunday, as a team competing in the NCAA Championship never even made it to the course – Brockbank preferred that the guys stay away from Karsten Creek, if only for appearances.

They went to a local church for three hours, then ate lunch and retired to the team hotel, where they watched TV and studied and played chess. Fishburn has another round to play Monday, but he didn’t even hit balls.

“I don’t think he’s even concerned about that – it’s just a nice, quiet Sabbath day,” Brockbank said. “But as a coach, it’s definitely a little odd.”