DJ, Chappell tied at East Lake; Rory two back

By Nick MentaSeptember 24, 2016, 7:28 pm

Dustin Johnson is 18 holes from locking up the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup, and the Player of the Year award. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at East Lake, where Johnson and Kevin Chappell share the lead and where Rory McIlroy sits just two back.

Leaderboard: Chappell (-8), Johnson (-8), McIlroy (-6), Ryan Moore (-6), Hideki Matsuyama (-5)

What it means: Johnson is seeking his 13th PGA Tour victory, his fourth this season and his second of the playoffs following his win at the BMW Championship. Already first in the FedEx standings, a win Sunday would earn Johnson $11.53 million, cement his status as the POY over Jason Day, and move him closer to Day’s No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. Johnson would also join Tiger Woods and Billy Horschel as the only players to win the BMW and Tour Championships back to back en route to a FedEx Cup title (Camilo Villegas won both events in 2008, but Vijay Singh won the season-long race). Attempting to upset Johnson’s storybook Sunday will be Kevin Chappell, who remains in search of his first PGA Tour win after five career runner-ups, including three this season at the RMC Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. Not to be forgotten, McIlroy, the winner in Boston just two events ago, will enter the final round only two behind. Sixth in the points standings, McIlroy can take the FedEx Cup on Sunday with a win and a T-2 finish or worse from DJ. Tied with McIlroy at minus-6, Moore remains a potential pick for U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III.

Round of the day: Seven players – McIlroy, Moore, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, Emiliano Grillo, Bubba Watson and Will McGirt – shot 4-under 66. McIlroy was bogey-free and birdied three of his last six holes, including the par-5 18th.

Best of the rest: Roberto Castro posted 67, but Chappell gets the nod here for shooting 2-under 68 and very briefly taking the outright lead after DJ lapsed and doubled the 17th hole.

Biggest disappointment: Three under through 36 holes, Kevin Kisner got off to a brutal start, going out in 6-over 41 with four bogeys and a double on his opening nine. He traded a birdie and a bogey on the back to shoot 76 and fall from third to 20th.

Shots of the day: Schwartzel carded back-to-back eagles at Nos. 6 and 7. He hit his second shot at the par-5 sixth to just 8 feet before pouring in the eagle putt and then holed out from 142 yards at the par-4 seventh.

Storyline to watch Sunday night: Love will announce his fourth and final captain’s pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team on Sunday Night Football on NBC. Moore (T-3), Justin Thomas (9th), Watson (T-14) and Daniel Berger (T-14) were all under par Saturday. 

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Lewis says she's expecting first child in November

By Randall MellApril 27, 2018, 2:18 am

Stacy Lewis is pregnant.

The 12-time LPGA winner confirmed after Thursday’s first round of the Mediheal Championship that she and her husband, University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, are expecting their first child on Nov. 3.

Lewis learned she was pregnant after returning home to Houston in late February following her withdrawal from the HSBC Women’s World Championship with a strained oblique muscle.

“We're obviously really excited,” Lewis said. “It wasn't nice I was hurt, but it was nice that I was home when I found out with [Gerrod]. We're just really excited to start a family.”

Lewis is the third big-name LPGA player preparing this year to become a mother for the first time. Suzann Pettersen announced last month that she’s pregnant, due in the fall. Gerina Piller is due any day.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship

Piller’s husband, PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, withdrew from the Zurich Classic on Thursday to be with her. Piller and Lewis have been U.S. Solheim Cup partners the last two times the event has been played.

“It's going to be fun raising kids together,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they're best friends and they hang out. But just excited about the next few months and what it's going to bring.”

Lewis, a former Rolex world No. 1 and two-time major championship winner, plans to play through the middle of July, with the Marathon Classic her last event of the year. She will be looking to return for the start of the 2019 season. The LPGA’s maternity leave policy allows her to come back next year with her status intact.

“This year, the golf might not be great, but I've got better things coming in my life than a golf score.” Lewis said. “I plan on coming back and traveling on the road with the baby, and we'll figure it out as we go.”

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Coach scores in NFL Draft and on golf course

By Grill Room TeamApril 27, 2018, 1:47 am

To say that Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a good day Thursday would be an understatement. Not only did his team snag one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft - Georgia outside linebacker Roquan Smith, who the Bears took with the eighth pick of the first round - but earlier in the day Fangio, 59, made a hole-in-one, sinking a 9-iron shot from 125 yards at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.

Perhaps the ace isn't so surprising, though. In late May 2017, Fangio made another hole-in-one, according to a tweet from the Bears. The only information supplied on that one was the distance - 116 yards.

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Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:31 pm

AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.

Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.

Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.

“It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”

The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.

Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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“I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.

A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.

“I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.

He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.

“It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”

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Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury

By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:18 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.

“It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”

Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.

He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.

Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

“I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”