Tiger Tracker: Deep Fryed

By October 8, 2011, 5:00 pm

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Tiger Woods shot 73-68-68 in the first three rounds of the Frys.com Open. He sits well off the pace in his first ever Fall Series appearance. NBCSports.com writer Ryan Ballengee is at CordeValle and tracked Tiger's third round.

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6:18 p.m. ET: Tiger seems to have the par-5 18th down to an assembly line-style approach. He split the fairway with a 3-wood, hit a 5-wood to the center of the green and made a two-putt birdie. His round ends at 3-under 68 for the second straight day, going 34-34 again. Woods is unlikely to get closer to the lead compared to where he began the day. In fact, despite modest signs of improvement over Friday, he has gotten further away from the lead after each round. (Overall: 4 under thru 18)

5:49 p.m. ET: After the bogey at the seventh, a boring par at the eighth was in order. Fairway, green, easy two-putt par. Woods has one final crack to improve at the par-5 finisher. (Overall: 3 under thru 17)

5:31 p.m. ET: Distance control has been an issue for Woods on a quartet of occasions today. His tee shot at the par-3 seventh was the most egregious on the day. Woods was in wisps and reeds behind the green and tried to make a hero par with a bunker-style shot. He caught too much ball and it soared 25 yards past the green. The comeback effort ran off behind the pin. Somewhat despondent looking, he made the bogey from the fringe. At least it goes down as a zero putts. (Overall: 3 under thru 16)

5:12 p.m. ET: Woods flared his tee shot right for just the second time today and went into the fairway bunker with an awkward stance. A late left twist had Woods dancing, but with a tough putt. Par at 6. (Overall: 4 under thru 15)

5:00 p.m. ET: Pace was an issue yesterday for Woods as his group was on the clock and had a hole open in front of them. On the back nine, the leading trio in front of them has held them up on every shot. For three fast players, rhythm has to be an issue. (Overall: 4 under thru 14)

4:52 p.m. ET: Woods' move has come to a grinding halt. He laid up at the fifth, as has been custom, and hit it to 25 feet. For the first time all week, Joe LaCava helped Tiger read the putt. It didn't drop, so it was a par for Woods and bad news for LaCava: his Rangers lost their second consecutive overtime game. Par at 5. (Overall: 4 under thru 14)

4:32 p.m. ET: Woods' game is showing signs of slipping. He missed his tee shot at No. 4 (left, of course) and didn't hit a very crisp approach or first putt. Lackluster par at 4. (Overall: 4 under thru 13)

4:31 p.m. ET: If there was one hole to derail the Woods rally, the par-3 third was it. For the second time this week, Woods pulled it left. Bunkered, he took two to get out and made bogey. He grimaced to himself as he left the hole. (Overall: 4 under thru 12)

4:04 p.m. ET: The fine-tuning Woods is doing has the birdie signal in clear now. Despite a second straight drive left – this more severe than the last – Woods stuck it closer than at No. 1. He drained a slick one for birdie as he gets closer to Casey. He seems to thrive on the quickest putts at CordeValle. (Overall: 5 under thru 11)

3:54 p.m. ET: After making the turn at 2 under Saturday, Woods narrowly missed the fairway on No. 1, his tenth hole on the day. He followed that with an outstanding up-and-down to get to 3 under on the day. Birdie at No. 1. (Overall: 4 under thru 10)

3:32 p.m. ET: The benefit of being the first group out on a split tee weekend round is twofold: a fast round and being able to observe the final group in front of you. Woods and company now wait for Paul Casey, Ernie Els and rookie Bud Cauley to tee off. (Overall: 2 under thru 9)

3:23 p.m. ET: On the par-4 18th, Woods hit the tee shot he meant to hit yesterday. He hit an exceptional approach – his best of the day – but could not cash in from six feet. Woods makes the turn at 2 under, and nearly in under two hours. Par at 18. (Overall: 2 under thru 9)

3:08 p.m. ET: With the tee at the par-4 17th moved up to 290 yards today, the crowd at the beer-for-birdies hope was delighted to see Woods. He disappointed, however, pulling his drive left into some of the deepest turf on the course. He stabbed out to give a birdie try, but his putt was an inch shy. Woods dropped the club and looked around the hole in disbelief. Meanwhile, Oosthuizen three-jacked from eight feet to deny half-off libations to the crowd. (Overall: 2 under thru 8)

2:53 p.m. ET: Woods' tugged his tee shot at the shortened par-3 16th, leaving himself an easy chip of a dozen yards. Woods was disappointed when it lipped out, staring at the ground, but tapped in for par. (Overall: 2 under thru 7)

2:47 p.m. ET: Woods played the par-5 15th as efficiently as any hole today. With the tees moved up and left, Woods hit the right side of the fairway, hit the green with a mid-iron and made an easy birdie after not scaring the hole for three. (Overall: 2 under thru 6)

2:28 p.m. ET: Tiger is playing consistently inconsistent. He went in the left rough off the tee at the par-4 14th. He hit onto the green with his second shot and Woods made a routine par. (Overall: 1 under thru 5)

2:13 p.m. ET: Woods hit his first fairway of the day at the par-4 13th, but Woods hit his approach much too far, setting up a two-putt par. (Overall: 1 under thru 4)

1:59 p.m. ET: For the third straight day, Woods landed his tee ball at the par-5 12th in the same patch of rough on the left. For the second time in three cracks, Woods' approach to the green was repelled by the ridge bisecting the hole. Despite the poor effort, Woods nearly sank the birdie putt. Par at 12. (Overall: 1 under thru 3)

1:45 p.m. ET: After Tiger hit his tee shot to the par-3 11th hole, he looked down immediately, unhappy with the swing. But his ball found the green and Woods sank a 32-footer for birdie. It is his longest putt made this week by seven feet. (Overall: 1 under thru 2)

1:28 p.m. ET: Perhaps reflective of the rushed turnover from range to tee, Woods played a rather lackluster first hole. It was a par but lacked refinement – missed fairway, poor wedge and didn't come close to the hole from 18 feet. Par at one. (Overall: E thru 1)

1:10 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods is grouped with Louis Oosthuizen for the third time this week and Matt Bettencourt and tees off at 1:15p.m. ET. Meanwhile, tee times are still not well circulated. Adam Hadwin's trainer Scott Rodgers approached me for his guy's tee time.

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Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.

Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

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Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

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Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

"I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

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Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.

Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.