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BMW weather plans: Everything is on the table

By Nick MentaSeptember 9, 2018, 12:30 am

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Justin Rose lipped out a birdie attempt on the 18th green Saturday, but his par was nonetheless good enough to earn him the solo 54-hole lead.

And maybe even the BMW Championship.

Tee times for the final round at Aronimink are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. ET Sunday morning, as the Tour makes every effort to finish this event on time – or really to finish at all.

Possible scenarios abound at Aronimink, as everything from a Tuesday finish to a 54-hole, weather-shortened event seems in play.

“It was definitely in the back of your mind,” Rose said, when asked about the possibility that the tournament may not resume. “You could start to feel the weather coming in and getting darker. Kind of had the feel there's some big weather coming. …

“Absolutely I was trying to make the putt on 18 to make sure I was ahead of the field.”

Rose is ahead by one over Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy has turned in rounds of 62-69-63 this week. While Rose laughed that he would be plenty happy with a “two-day washout,” McIlroy is itching to get one last crack at a soaking-wet Aronimink, and he doesn’t seem to care how long he has to wait.

“You know, maybe that chance won't happen until Monday if it goes to that and the good thing is we don't have a tournament next week,” he said. “If it is pushed into Monday or even into Tuesday, we have the time. Hopefully the guys that make the decisions make the right one and we can play a full tournament.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from BMW Championship

Aronimink took on 2 ½ inches of rain from Friday night into Saturday morning, prompting a 3 ½ hour delay to the third round as officials worked to drain the course.

The PGA Tour’s on-site meteorologist Joe Halvorson laid out some best-case and worst-case scenarios on Saturday night for what Sunday might look like. The best case, per Halvorson, is that the heaviest rainfalls hold off until the afternoon, allowing the Tour enough time to squeeze in a finish. But the worst case would see rains dumping as much of a tenth of an inch per hour by 6 a.m. and steadily increasing throughout the day.

As for Monday, Halvorson said there will likely be a window in the morning for the Tour to avoid more wet weather in the afternoon. But with the golf course already soaked, it’s fair to wonder just how Aronimink would look and play after another full day of rain.

“I’m not sure how much more water the course can take, to be quite frank,” Schauffele offered. “So we’ll see. Hopefully, Mother Nature doesn’t screw us.”

After a Saturday 66 that has him five back, Tiger Woods smiled and stopped to think when asked about the possibility of a 54-hole event.

“I don't think they would do that, you know, given the fact that we have an off-week,” he answered. “It will be curious. I think if we do play, the problem might be ball in hand everywhere through the entire way – through the green. That would be different. I think I've only done that once in my career. It will be interesting if we even get a chance to play.”

Woods’ idea to play lift, clean and place even in the rough prompted a laugh from Schauffele.

“Yeah … seriously though,” he responded.

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods began the final round of the Tour Championship with a three-shot lead, and he's cruising at East Lake. We're tracking him.

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Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:59 am

ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.

Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”

Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.

There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.

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McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”