Walker leads by two, eyes Sony title defense

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2015, 2:54 am

Jimmy Walker let one get away at Kapalua, but he appears eager to make up for that near-miss in Honolulu. Here's how things look after three rounds of the Sony Open in Hawaii, where Walker leads by two shots:

Leaderboard: Jimmy Walker (-16), Matt Kuchar (-14), Brian Harman (-13), Troy Merritt (-13), Tim Clark (-12), Justin Thomas (-12), Max Homa (-11)

What it means: Walker won this event a year ago and still knows the breaks at Waialae, as he finished his round Saturday with 11 straight one-putts. The effort helped him overtake a trio of co-leaders and he now stands 18 holes away from a successful title defense and his fourth PGA Tour victory since October 2013.

Round of the day: Walker played his first two holes in 1 over, but from there he made nearly everything in sight. Walker's round of 8-under 62 featured 10 birdies against two bogeys, including circles on eight of his final 10 holes, and he was the only player from the last five threesomes to shoot lower than 67.

Best of the rest: Homa began the day nine shots off the pace but surged onto the leaderboard thanks to a 7-under 63. An NCAA individual champion in 2013 while at Cal, Homa's round included six birdies, one bogey and an eagle after an improbable hole-out on No. 16.

Biggest disappointment: Webb Simpson began the day with a share of the lead, but the birdie chances dried up during a 1-over 71 in the third round. Simpson made only one birdie on the day and now finds himself in a tie for eighth, six shots off the pace in his first PGA Tour event with a regulation-length putter.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: As was the case in the late stages of last week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, this appears to be Walker's tournament to lose. While he struggled to the finish line Monday and ultimately lost a playoff to Patrick Reed at Kapalua, this time around he'll look to hold off a group of contenders headlined by Kuchar and Harman, a winner at the John Deere Classic in July.

Quote of the day: "I was pretty bummed, but I got over it. We get over it out here pretty quick. It's golf, and we always have another tournament to go to." - Walker

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Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 6:00 am

Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.

Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).

Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.

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That was his only dropped shot of the day.

The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.

That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.

Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.

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'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 5:11 am

Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.

“Go in,” he immediately said.

“Please go in,” he added.

Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.

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Watch: Dufner makes six (!) fist pumps after birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 4:53 am

Jason Dufner makes Ben Stein seem like Jonathan Winters. Dufner often looks mighty miserable for someone who plays golf for a living.

But not on Friday at the CJ Cup!

Dufner made a 20-footer for birdie at the 16th hole and “celebrated” with one-two-three-(pause)-four-five-six fist pumps. There could have been more, but the camera cut away.

That was Dufner’s third birdie on the back nine, which offset a triple bogey at the par-3 seventh, en route to an even-par 72. Good times.

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Watch: Paul C-ace-y makes hole-in-one at CJ Cup

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 2:35 am

Par-par-par-par-par-par. It was a boring second round over the first six holes for Paul Casey at the CJ Cup.

And then he aced the par-3 seventh.

Casey's tee shot from 176 tracked straight towards the hole and rolled in near the final revolution. That got him to 2 under par for the tournament. He was five off the lead, held by Chez Reavie, but bogeyed the ninth and 10th holes to give back those two strokes.

Hey, it's a no-cut event and a guaranteed paycheck. Drinks on Casey!