Looking for Some Love in Greensboro

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
There are a handful of 2004 PGA Tour winners in the field for this weeks Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.
They have names like Byrd and Johnson and Parry and Pampling. But, like the controversial catcall at this years Match Play Championship, there is no Love.
Davis Love III, coming off his most productive season ever, is running out of time to add a 19th career tour title in his 19th year of tour service.
Love enters Greensboro winless ' no trophy to showcase on the mantle in his massive motor home.
He lost to Tiger Woods in the 36-hole final of the WGC-Match Play, and then finished runner-up in his next start in the Honda Classic, when Todd Hamilton pipped him with birdies over his final two holes. He has since collected four top-10s, but hasnt really contended for victory.
'Solid year, but not great,' Love said Wednesday. 'I'm kind of at a crossroads. I could make a lot of money and not really move up that much, so it's really just about trying to get a win. After this week, other than the Tour Championship, I'm sure how much I'm going to play.'
Since Bay Hill in March, Love has posted only two sub-70 scores in the first round. His first-round scoring average during this span of 14 stroke-play events is 72.86. His second-round scoring average during that time frame is almost three strokes lower, at 69.93.
Seven times this season, his second round score has been at least five strokes lower than his starting number.
I just haven't been putting four good rounds together,' he admitted earlier in the year. 'I've been having three maybe, sometimes two, but not four, and off to bad starts. Big numbers the first day and bad starts the first day have been holding me back.
There are only four tournaments, including this one, Disney, the Chrysler Championship and the Tour Championship, remaining on the 2004 tour calendar.
Love usually likes to play out the string, so he may well have four more chances to get at least one title to defend next year.
If he doesnt, the good news is that the last time he went winless in a season was 2002. He then won four times in 03, including The Players Championship.
This is his 12th appearance at Greensboro. He won here in 1992, but missed the cut last year, just months after completing his redesign on the 1962 Ellis Maples course.
'Last year, there was a lot going on,' Love said. 'The fans have always been very supportive and they want to see me do well. That's probably part of the reason why I haven't done that well up here.'
Love has one number on his side: 40. He reached the milestone birthday in April. Three of the last four champions have been at least 39 years of age. The only exception was last years winner, Shigeki Maruyama.
Maruyama, like Love, is in search of his first win of the season.
The diminutive Japanese standouts best chance at victory came in a runner-up finish at the Nissan Open. He also has five other top-10 finishes on the year.
Maruyama has won each of the last three seasons. He entered 2004 as one of only four players to have accomplished that feat. That list also included Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard.
Woods, of course, knocked off Love at the Accenture to keep alive his streak (which actually extends to nine years). However, Furyk and Leonard, like Maruyama, are winless. Furyk is here this week; Leonard is not.
This is the 65th playing of the tournament, and the 28th straight time Forest Oaks Country Club (par 72, 7,315 yards) is playing host.
Only one player has ever successfully defended his Greensboro title. Sam Snead won back-to-back in 1949-50 and 1955-56. He also won the inaugural event in 1938, as well as in 46, 60 and 65 (at the age of 52).
His eight Greensboro titles are more than any other player at any other event in tour history.
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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

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    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”