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Reed survives challenges, wins Masters by 1

By Will GrayApril 8, 2018, 10:36 pm

It was an electric final round at Augusta National, but in the end Patrick Reed was the last man standing. Here's how things ended up as Reed won the Masters to claim his first career major title:

Leaderboard: Patrick Reed (-15), Rickie Fowler (-14), Jordan Spieth (-13), Jon Rahm (-11)

What it means: Where to begin? The two-man duel between Reed and Rory McIlroy never materialized after the two traded some early punches, giving way to a more wide-open finish than many expected. Spieth put the heat on with a historic rally, but an untimely bogey on the 18th hole gave Reed some breathing room. Fowler added pressure with a clutch birdie on No. 18 to draw to within a shot, but Reed never wavered. A birdie on No. 14 and four more pars were enough to close out one of the most anticipated Masters in recent memory, and at age 27 Reed joins the storied list of green jacket recipients.

Masters Tournament: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage

Round of the day: Spieth's 64 left him short of a second green jacket, but it earned a spot in the history books at Augusta National. After starting the day nine shots off the pace, Spieth grabbed a brief share of the lead with a lengthy birdie on No. 16, his ninth of the day. But a pulled tee shot on the final hole clipped a tree and led to a closing bogey, which turned a record-tying 63 into a what-if 64.

Best of the rest: Paul Casey was the first player out to begin the third round, playing alongside non-competing marker Jeff Knox. But he moved into the middle of the pack with a 69, then shot a blistering 65 that like Spieth's effort nearly challenged the course record of 63. Casey was 6 under in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 11-15, carding one of the week's best rounds despite bogeys on both 17 and 18.

Biggest disappointment: McIlroy's effort to claim the final leg of the career Grand Slam fizzled out in surprising fashion. He had a chance to tie for the lead with a 4-foot eagle putt on the second hole, but he shoved it right to foreshadow a number of misses from close range that would plague him throughout the day. He wasn't really a factor after a bogey on No. 11, shooting a 2-over 74 to finish six shots off the pace.

Shot of the day: With Fowler in close on the final green, Reed faced a tricky up and down for par on No. 17 but nearly rattled the pin with his putt from across the green, as the ball caught the lip of the hole and stayed within a few feet. After sweeping in what remained, he needed only a par on the final hole to win.

Quote of the day: "It's almost impossible to put into words." - Reed

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: