Featured Match Poulter vs Cink

By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2011, 1:23 am

2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayMARANA, Ariz. – GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard is at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain for the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He is providing a running blog for the match between defending champion Ian Poulter and Stewart Cink. Follow him on twitter (@RexHoggard) for more updates or for complete scoring of all 32 matches, click here.

 

 

(3:59 p.m. ET) Different desert, similar feel. On Tuesday Tiger Woods said the winds that whipped the Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago exposed the shortcomings in his game.

On Wednesday at Dove Mountain a similar wind was having a similar impact.

Thomas Bjorn, who had hit just two greens in regulation through five holes, was 2 up on a wayward Woods.


(2:50 p.m. ET) In what was billed as a battle of the Twitter brothers, Stewart Cink outlasted his social media kin in overtime Wednesday at Dove Mountain. .

'If I lost I was going to donate 50,000 followers to Ian,' Cink smiled.


(2:47 p.m. ET) Stewart Cink roped a 6-iron at the first extra hole to 4 feet for birdie to beat Ian Poulter in the day's first match at Dove Mountain.

Although it was just one match, Cink, who is in the middle of a swing overhaul, said the confidence from his Wednesday victory was important.

'It's actually a big win for me and my confidence because I don't know if there is a better match play player in this field than Ian,' Cink said.


(2:20 p.m. ET) Stewart Cink scrambles for par at 18 to force extra holes at Dove Mountain against Ian Poulter.

On the way to the first tee Cink's caddie got stuck by a jumping cholla. Not a good sign.


 

(1:59 p.m. ET) The day's first match will go the distance at Dove Mountain, with Ian Poulter AS heading to the 18th tee thanks to a 14-footer for par by Stewart Cink at No. 17.


(1:24 p.m. ET) A lot of things in the desert can hurt you – jumping cholla, snakes and, for Stewart Cink, tee balls.

Cink pulled his tee shot at the 14th hole into the desert left of the fairway, was forced to chip out and couldn't scramble for his par to give Ian Poulter a 2-up lead at Dove Mountain.


 

(1:14 p.m. ET) It took Stewart Cink 13 holes on Wednesday at the WGC-Match Play to win a hole but his 18-footer for birdie at the par-5 couldn't have come at a better time.

The American was languishing at 2 down and running out of holes.


 

(12:38 p.m. ET) Ian Poulter scored a birdie breakthrough in his Round 1 match against Stewart Cink. The Englishman rolled in a 4-footer at the 10th hole for birdie, the first birdie of the morning for the two-ball.

The birdie put the defending champion 2 up, an insurmountable cushion considering the play so far.


(11:58 a.m. ET) Talked with putting guru Pat O'Brien about his work with Stewart Cink this morning.

The two began talking last year during the Chevron World Challenge after Cink split with longtime swing coach Butch Harmon.

O'Brien says the change is coming along well, pointing out it's not a dramatic transformation.


(11:47 a.m. ET) It's Dove Mountain's reputation as a scoreable golf course, more than its ease of access high in the hills above Tucson, that officials like, but don't tell that to Ian Poulter and Stewart Cink.

The day's first match split a hole with a double bogey-5 (No. 6) and Poulter went 1 up with a par at the seventh.


So far the two have a better-ball score of 2 over. Not exactly a birdie bonanza.


(11:29 a.m. ET) In what must be a 2011 WGC-Match Play first Ian Poulter and Stewart Cink split the sixth hole with double bogey-5s.

Both players misjudged the wind and found the front bunker with there tee shots, played poor second shots and failed to hole putts for bogey.

Poulter looked particularly rattled after his third shot, warning a volunteer in the ShotLink tower behind the green not to talk when players are playing.

'I'm 10 yards from you,' the defending champion complained.


(10:52 a.m. ET) The par-4 fourth hole is playing short for Round 1, about 330 yards.

Ian Poulter laid back and made par. Stewart Cink hit driver and also parred the hole. Consider it a risk-reward wash.


(10:32 a.m. ET) The day's first match at Dove Mountain remains all square through two holes, both holes split with bogeys, but Ian Poulter has a comfortable 2-up lead in the fashion division against Stewart Cink.

 In fact the Englishman may be dormie in that department for the week.


(10:13 a.m. ET) Ian Poulter sets the tone early in his match against Stewart Cink at Dove Mountain by not giving the American a 2 footer for par at the first.

The Englishman must have mistaken the WGC-Match Play for the Ryder Cup.


(9:55 a.m. ET) Defending champion Ian Poulter teed off first Wednesday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship 30 minutes late because of a frost delay.

Before beginning his title defense against Stewart Cink Poulter walked to the punch bowl tophy and gave it a final pat.
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Country singer Owen shoots 86 in Web.com debut

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:51 pm

Country music star Jake Owen struggled in his Web.com Tour debut, shooting a 14-over 86 in the opening round of the Nashville Golf Open.

Owen, who played as a 1 handicap earlier this year while teaming with Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, put three balls out of bounds over his first nine holes, including two en route to a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 18th hole. After making the turn in 46, Owen came home in 40 without making a single birdie.

Owen is playing as an amateur on an unrestricted sponsor exemption, the same type used by NBA superstar Steph Curry on the Web.com Tour last year and by former NFL quarterback Tony Romo this year on the PGA Tour. Curry missed the cut after rounds of 74-74 at the Ellie Mae Classic, while Romo shot 77-82 at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship.


Full-field scores from the Nashville Golf Open


Owen tallied nine pars, six bogeys, two doubles and a quad in his opener and was the only player from the morning wave who failed to break 80. The closest player to him in the standings was two-time major champ Angel Cabrera, who opened with a 79.

While Owen struggled against a field full of professionals, he took the setback in stride and even took to Twitter in the middle of his round to fire back at some of his online critics:

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New putter propels Hoffman to Fort Worth lead

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:30 pm

After sitting at home last week, Charley Hoffman decided it was time for a change.

The veteran estimated that he has been using the same version of a Scotty Cameron putter for the last five years, but heading into this week's Fort Worth Invitational he wanted to shake things up.

"I had an idea on Sunday literally coming out here that I wanted to have a little more weight in my putter," Hoffman told reporters. "I went with one that was sort of in my bag of putters at home that I could add some weight here."

The swap provided immediate results, as Hoffman opened with a 7-under 63 while picking up more than two strokes over the field on the greens to take a one-shot lead over Emiliano Grillo, Jhonattan Vegas and Andrew Putnam. It was an all-around effort Thursday for Hoffman, as he missed only two greens in regulation and never faced a par putt longer than 5 feet.

"I was able to knock in some mid-range putts and played very solid," Hoffman said. "It was a nice, very stress-free round. It was fun to play."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Hoffman had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, capping it with a Presidents Cup appearance and a runner-up finish at the Hero World Challenge in December. While he has made nine cuts in 12 starts this year, his T-12 finish at the Masters remains his best result as he has struggled to turn top-20s into opportunities to contend.

Hoffman is making his seventh straight appearance at Colonial, where he tied for 10th in 2015. But he had never shot better than 65 before Thursday, when his decision to switch to a heavier Scotty Cameron model seemingly put a magnet on the bottom of the cup.

"Putting is a fickle part of the game," he said. "So hopefully the good mojo continues."

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McIlroy shoots 67, two off BMW PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 6:56 pm

VIRGINIA WATER, England – Rory McIlroy walked off the 18th green in disgruntled fashion, shaking his head and looking down at the ground.

Shooting a 5-under 67 at Wentworth can rarely have felt so unsatisfactory.

The four-time major winner pushed his approach shot from the middle of the fairway into the overhanging trees at the par-5 last, saw his chip clip the flag pole, then missed a 3-foot putt for birdie for a disappointing end to his first round at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday.

McIlroy also missed out on a birdie on the par-5 17th, too. Hence his unhappiness immediately after his round, although he was only two shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard (65).


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


''Walking off the 16th green and going to No. 17 at 5 under par, it was good after being 1 over after three (holes),'' McIlroy said, before diverting away from revisiting the end of his round.

''I played really well, gave myself plenty of chances, drove it well, for the most part hit my irons a lot better than I have done, so it was nice to get off to a good start.''

McIlroy is playing the European Tour's flagship event for the first time since 2015. He won it in 2014, the year he won The Open and the PGA Championship – his most recent major victories.

After bogeying No. 3, the former top-ranked McIlroy reeled off seven birdies in 13 holes and later said the greens were in the best condition he'd seen them.

Bjerregaard, whose only win came in Portugal last year, made seven birdies in a bogey-free round – his last at No. 18 giving him the outright lead over South Africans Dean Burmester and Darren Fichardt.

Burmester earlier played his last eight holes in 6 under par – including making eagle at the 15th – to draw level with compatriot Fichardt, who was also bogey-free.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished 7-6 on the two par 5s to drop from the outright lead at the time to 4 under.

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Stricker opens with 65 at Colonial despite back pain

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 6:45 pm

After four holes of the Fort Worth Invitational, things were looking bleak for Steve Stricker.

The ageless veteran was already 1 over when he tweaked his back playing his approach to No. 13, his fourth hole of the day at Colonial Country Club. He ended up making another bogey, but at that point his score took a backseat to the health of his ailing back.

"I tried to hit a pretty solid 6-iron and got right into the impact area, and actually felt my lower back crack right where I had surgery back in 2014, pretty much right on the spot," Stricker told reporters. "Tried to walk to the green and that wasn't going so well. Kind of tightened up on me. I thought I was going to have to stop and just stand there for a minute, which I did a couple of times. It didn't look or feel very good for a while."

Slowly but surely, Stricker's back began to loosen up, and with it came a turnaround on the scorecard. Stricker had a four-hole stretch in the middle of his round that he played in 5 under, highlighted by a hole-out from the greenside bunker for eagle on the par-5 first hole. Despite the rocky start, he ended up shooting a 5-under 65 to sit two shots off the early pace set by Charley Hoffman.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I just kept plodding along," Stricker said. "I knew there were some birdie holes out here if you can get it in the fairway. There are some short irons."

Stricker had a spot in one of the marquee early-round groups, but his score bettered both Jordan Spieth's 1-under 69 and defending champ Kevin Kisner's 2-over 72. Stricker told reporters that he planned to get his back checked after the round.

Stricker continues to straddle both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions while crafting a unique schedule, and his appearance this week in Fort Worth came at the expense of skipping the Senior PGA Championnship, a major on the over-50 circuit. But Stricker won at Colonial in 2009 and has now played four straight years on what he described as one of his favorite courses.

"I like to play here. I know I'm going to play John Deere, another favorite tournament of mine, and FedEx St. Jude looks like I am going to try to play in a couple weeks, try to get in the U.S. Open," Stricker said. "So it's just kind of picking them as I go, and seeing where I want to go and seeing what feels good to me at the time."