You Oughta Know: Humana Challenge

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2014, 11:42 pm

Through three rounds in the California desert, Patrick Reed appears to be playing a game with which the rest of the field is unfamiliar. Here's what You Oughta Know heading into the final round of the Humana Challenge, where Reed leads by seven shots after three straight rounds of 63:

• At 27 under through three rounds, Reed now holds the PGA Tour record for lowest 54-hole score in relation to par. The previous mark was 25 under and held by several players, most recently by Steve Stricker at the 2010 John Deere Classic.

• After three ultra-low rounds, the Tour's 72-hole scoring mark is now within reach for Reed. He needs a 64 or lower Sunday at the Palmer Private to break the existing aggregate score of 254, set by Tommy Armour III at the 2003 Valero Texas Open, and needs "only" a 65 to reach 34 under and eclipse Stricker's mark of 33 under at TPC Silvis in 2010.

• A winner last August at the Wyndham Championship, Reed is in position to hoist his second trophy at the ripe age of 23. Should he seal the deal on Sunday, the former NCAA champion will become just the third player currently 25 years or younger with two PGA Tour wins to his credit, joining Rory McIlroy (2011 U.S. Open, 2012 PGA Championship) and Harris English (2013 FedEx St. Jude Classic, 2013 OHL Classic at Mayakoba).

• Seven-shot leads through 54 holes are a rare thing on the PGA Tour, and Reed's is just the second instance since McIlroy took an eight-shot lead into the final round at Congressional in 2011. The other instance came last August when world No. 1 Tiger Woods led the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by seven and maintained that edge during the final round.

• Should Reed fail to win - a notion that seems entirely unlikely at this point - he would make PGA Tour history in another way. The largest blown lead through 54 holes in Tour history is six shots, most recently by Spencer Levin at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and Reed will carry a seven-shot cushion into the final round. There is, however, somewhat of a precedent: last year, Scott Stallings led by five shots through 54 holes in Palm Springs but ultimately tied for fourth, one shot out of a playoff won by Brian Gay.

• While Reed appears destined for a win, a pair of former Humana champions are in position for solid paydays Sunday in the desert. Charley Hoffman won the Humana in 2007 and will begin the final round at 20 under, tied for second, while 2010 winner Bill Haas sits two shots further back in a tie for fifth. Haas is in search of his first top-10 finish this season, while Hoffman began his season with a fourth-place showing at the Frys.com Open.

• Two players enter the final round in Palm Springs with the opportunity to notch notably high finishes, even if winning is likely out of the equation. Brendon Todd has only one career top-10 finish on the PGA Tour (T-9, 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) but will start Sunday in a tie for second alongside Hoffman. Meanwhile, James Driscoll played his way into contention with a 66 Saturday and looks for just his second top-10 finish since last year's Tour stop at Pebble Beach.

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Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

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Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.