Trio Share Futures Tour Lead Heading into Sunday

By Futures Tour MediaJune 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
Futures TourDECATUR, Ill. -- The leaderboard continued to tighten in today's second round of the $70,000 Michelob ULTRA Futures Charity Golf Classic, but first-round leader Kylie Pratt held on to a share of the lead after 36 holes.
 
The native of Mackay, Australia, carded a 2-under-par round of 70 today to move into a three-way tie at 137 (-7) with Jamie Stevenson of Mayfield, Utah, and compatriot Dana Lacey of North Beach, W. Australia. Stevenson and Lacey each posted a 5-under-par second-round score of 67 in the 21st annual event at Hickory Point Golf Course.
 
'I had it going today and I got it to eight under twice,' said Pratt, who played college golf at Campbell University (N.C.). 'I'm rolling it well and making good reads. I'm not sure what's triggered this over the last two days, but I'll take it.'
 
Pratt birdied her first two holes, saved par from 12 feet on the third hole, and birdied the fifth to signal to the field that she wasn't planning to hand over the tournament. But the fourth-year Futures Tour member slammed into a birdie drought after the eighth hole and was forced to save par three times on the back nine, including the final hole where she drove into a bunker, 'fluffed it out' to 80 yards and got up and down for par with a 4-footer.
 
'You've still got to make the putts and hit your wedges close,' said Pratt, who used 28 putts in her second round. 'This is the kind of course where someone could come from four or five under and lap the field.'
 
The 6,456-yard course, with its generous fairways and large greens, still warranted caution as a light wind played with club selection and the greens, firming up in the warm sunshine, sometimes kicked approach shots through the green.
 
Stevenson toured Hickory Point with a bogey-free, five-birdie round, leaning on her length off the tee. The former Brigham Young University player effectively utilized her wedges to hit 17 greens in regulation to set up birdie chances -- two from tap-in range.
 
'I had to make a three footer for par on the 13th hole, but that was the biggest stress of the day,' said Stevenson.
 
Lacey eased her stress by using only 25 putts in her second round -- a hurdle she has attempted to climb over all season, along with the trend of saving her worst round for her final round.
 
'I've been in the top 5 three times going into the last round,' said Lacey, who hopes to change that trend on Sunday. 'I figure bad things come in threes, so my run is over.'
 
Lisa Fernandes (69) of Jacksonville, Fla., and rookie Sun Young Yoo (70) of Seoul, Korea, climbed into a tie one shot back at 6-under-par 138, while rookie Hye Jung Choi (69) of Seoul, Korea is two off the lead at 5-under-par 139.
 
But Fernandes, who lost in a playoff at the 2003 Decatur tournament, still believes she has some unfinished business on the big-hitter's course. She even scrambled for a par save from the grandstand when her approach shot rolled through the green, through the player's walkway between the stands. The former Ohio State University player was awarded a free drop, got up and down for par from 20 yards and 6 feet, and still managed to laugh about it.
 
'I couldn't hit that opening again if I tried,' she said. 'But it's always good to make a par putt on the last hole. The vibes are there. The bounces are there. It will take some birdies tomorrow, but this course sets up well for me. I'm just happy to get back into contention.'
 
Seventy players made the 36-hole cut at 147 (+3), tying the season's low cut.
 
Sunday's final round of the 54-hole event, presented by Ameren and Miles Chevrolet, will begin at 8 a.m., off the first tee only. The leaders will tee off at 11:27 a.m.
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Casey in line to make Ryder Cup after Travelers T-2

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:30 am

Despite coughing up a four-shot lead at the Travelers Championship, England's Paul Casey moved into a qualifying position to make his return to the Ryder Cup this fall in Paris.

Casey struggled Sunday at TPC River Highlands, shooting a 72 as Bubba Watson raced to victory with a 63. But a four-way share of second place was still good enough to lift Casey into fourth place among those not already qualified on the World Points list, with the top four Europeans from that list in August punching their tickets to Le Golf National.

Casey has played in three Ryder Cups before, but none since 2008. After renouncing his European Tour membership a few years ago, he reinstated it for the 2018 season in order to be eligible to return to the biennial matches.

Here's a look at the updated standings for Europe, with the top four players from each points list ultimately joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Matthew Fitzpatrick

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Paul Casey

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5. Matthew Fitzpatrick

6. Ian Poulter

On the American side of the ledger, Watson jumped two spots to fifth with his third win of the year and seemingly locked up his spot on the squad, while Bryson DeChambeau moved inside the top eight with a top-10 finish in Connecticut.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship earning automatic bids:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Bryson DeChambeau

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9. Webb Simpson

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

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Watson cracks top 15 in world with Travelers win

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:15 am

After his third win in the last five months, Bubba Watson is back on the cusp of the upper echelon in the world rankings.

Watson started the year ranked No. 89 in the world, but after a three-shot victory at the Travelers Championship the southpaw moved up seven spots to No. 13 in the latest rankings. It marks his best position since a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February 2017.

Watson stayed one spot behind Paul Casey, who was one of four runners-up in Connecticut and rose one position to 12th as a result. Beau Hossler's T-2 finish helped him jump 24 spots to No. 64, while J.B. Holmes went from 93rd to 75th with the same result. Stewart Cink, who grabbed a share of second with a final-round 62, went from No. 149 to No. 95 and is back inside the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time since September 2011.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


Matt Wallace, who won the BMW International Open on the European Tour, went from 91st to 66th.

There was only one change among the top 10 in the rankings, as an idle Jon Rahm moved past Jordan Spieth at No. 5 despite Spieth's T-42 finish at TPC River Highlands. At No. 6, Spieth is at his lowest point in the rankings since before last summer's victories at Travelers and The Open.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Rahm. Spieth slid to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Poised to return to competition this week at the Quicken Loans National, Tiger Woods fell three spots to No. 82 in the latest rankings.

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After Further Review: Spieth needs a break

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 1:11 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Jordan Spieth's much-needed break ...

Jordan Spieth is heading for a break, and that’s probably a good thing.

Spieth just wrapped a run of six events in seven weeks that featured largely underwhelming results. A third-place finish at the Masters that stemmed from a nearly-historic final round deflects attention away from the fact that Spieth has yet to enter a final round this year less than six shots off the lead.

A return to his home state didn’t work, nor did a fight against par at Shinnecock or a title defense outside Hartford where everything went so well a year ago. His putting woes appear to have bottomed out, as Spieth finished 21st in putting at Travelers, but now the alignment issue that plagued his putting appears to have bled into other parts of his game.

So heading into another title defense next month at Carnoustie, Spieth plans to take some time off and re-evaluate. Given how fast things turned around last summer, that might prove to be just what he needs. - Will Gray


On the difference between this week and last week ...

There wasn’t a single outraged tweet, not a lone voice of descent on social media following Bubba Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, a 17-under par masterpiece that included a closing loop of 30.

Nobody declared that golf was broken, no one proclaimed the royal and ancient game a victim of technology and the age of uber athletes. The only response was appreciation for what Watson, a bomber in the truest form, was able to accomplish.

At 6,840 yards, TPC River Highlands was built for fun, not speed. Without wild weather or ill-advised hole locations and greens baked to extinction, this is what the best players in the game do, and yet no one seemed outraged. Weird. - Rex Hoggard


On the emergence of another LPGA phenom ...

Add another young star to the favorites list heading to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago next week.

Nasa Hataoka, the 19-year-old Japanese standout who needed her rookie season last year to acclimate to the LPGA, broke through for her first LPGA title Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

This wasn’t a surprise to LPGA followers. Hataoka won the Japan Women’s Open when she was 17, the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour, and she has been trending up this year.

Her tie for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks ago was her fourth consecutive top-10 finish. She won going away in Arkansas, beating a deep field that included the top nine in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She outplayed world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson on Sunday. - Randall Mell

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Bubba waiting for Furyk's text about Ryder Cup

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:39 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – After winning his third PGA Tour title in the span of five months, Bubba Watson is now waiting by his phone.

Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, his third at TPC River Highlands since 2010, accompanies recent victories at both the Genesis Open and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from earlier this year. It also moved the southpaw from No. 7 to No. 5 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically.

After serving as an assistant captain at Hazeltine despite ranking No. 7 in the world at the time, Watson made it clear that he hopes to have removed any doubt about returning to the role of player when the biennial matches head to Paris this fall.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It still says in my phone that (U.S. captain) Jim (Furyk) hasn’t texted me yet. So I’d really like for him to say I’m going to pick you no matter what,” Watson said. “The motivation is I’ve never won a Ryder Cup, so making the Ryder Cup team and trying to win a Ryder Cup as a player would be another tournament victory to me. It would be a major championship to me just because I’ve never done it, been a part of it.”

Watson turns 40 in November, and while he reiterated that his playing career might not extend too far into the future as he looks to spend more time at home with son Caleb and daughter Dakota, he’s also hoping to make an Olympic return in Tokyo in 2020 after representing the U.S. in Rio two years ago.

“Talking about the Olympics coming up, that’s motivating me,” he said. “It was the best experience of my life to watch all the other events, and then the golf tournament got in the way. I’d love to do it again. I’d love to watch all the events and then have to play golf as well.”