You Oughta Know: Kuchar takes lead into Sunday

By Will GrayJune 1, 2013, 11:52 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – After firm conditions and swirling winds turned the third round of The Memorial Tournament into a test of survival, several top-ranked players remain in contention with just 18 holes to go. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final day at Muirfield Village, where Matt Kuchar is staked to a two-shot lead:

• After just his third over-par score in 27 rounds this year, defending champion Tiger Woods is in jeopardy of recording a career-worst finish at Muirfield Village. The five-time champ will begin Sunday tied for 69th, needing to improve upon that position to better the T-67 result he earned in his first Memorial start in 1997. Woods carded a 7-over 79 in the third round, including a career-worst 8-over 44 on his outward nine, a result that is even more surprising considering that he has not finished outside the top 25 in this event since tying for 51st in 1998.

• For the second consecutive week, Matt Kuchar holds sole possession of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour. Last week at Colonial, the former Players champion led by one shot after three rounds but was passed Sunday by eventual champion Boo Weekley, relegating Kuchar to a runner-up finish. This week, he holds a two-shot advantage heading into the final round, in position to join Woods as the only multiple winners thus far this season after already hoisting the trophy at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.

• Even should he falter, Kuchar is likely headed for his fifth consecutive top-10 result at Muirfield Village dating back to 2008, having tied for second in his most recent appearance in 2011. Such steady results on a difficult venue are remarkable but not exactly surprising considering Kuchar’s overall consistency; since the start of the 2010 season, the former Georgia Tech standout has notched 35 top-10 finishes, more than any other PGA Tour player across that same time span.

• Kevin Chappell enters the final round tied for second place, two shots behind Kuchar and in position to contend for his first career PGA Tour victory. Should he accomplish the feat, Chappell would become just the fifth player to record his maiden win at Muirfield Village, joining the ranks of Keith Fergus (1981), Kenny Perry (1991), Tom Lehman (1994) and Justin Rose (2010).

• Both four shots off the pace with 18 holes to go, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel each retain an outside chance at becoming just the eighth international winner of the Memorial in the 37-year history of the event, with Rose (2010) the lone non-American to claim the trophy since 2008. While both would like to add a trophy Sunday to place next to their respective green jackets, Scott and Schwartzel are also hoping to add a positive result upon which to build in October, when they will likely return to Muirfield Village for the Presidents Cup as members of the International team.

• Despite squandering a lead he held after 36 holes, Bill Haas will begin the final round tied for fourth alongside Rose and Australian Matt Jones, hoping to build upon an already successful 2013 campaign. Like Kuchar, Haas has five top-10 finishes to his credit this season, though none since a tie for 10th at the Shell Houston Open in March. Should he notch another top-10 result Sunday at Muirfield Village, the former FedEx Cup champion would tie Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker for the most such finishes this year on the PGA Tour.

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Watch: Rory finds trouble, and more trouble, and more ...

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 4:33 pm

Rory McIlroy was in a must-win situation against Brian Harman in order to have a chance to advance to the one-and-done portion of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

And, as you can see, McIlroy did not get off to an ideal start on Friday.

McIlroy lost the third, fifth and ninth holes at Austin Country Club. Harman led, 3 up, at the turn.

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Watch: Stefani makes hole-in-one, has no clue

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 3:18 pm

Shawn Stefani made a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th in the second round of the Corales Puntacana Resorts and Club Championship.

However, he never saw it go in.

Stefani knew he hit a great shot, and this isn't shown in the video below, but he just questioned everyone around him if they saw the ball go into the hole.

A Golf Channel cameraman finally gave him the news and Stefani responded with an enthusiastic thumbs up.

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Trio lead Kia Classic; Davies shoots 82

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2018, 3:01 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Laura Davies had a nightmare round days after contending for a title at age 54, and Caroline Hedwall, Jackie Stoelting and Hee Young Park topped the Kia Classic leaderboard.

Davies shot a 10-over 82 on Thursday at rainy Aviara Golf Club - four days after tying for second behind Inbee Park in the Founders Cup, and five days after shooting a 9-under 63 in the Phoenix event.

Fighting Achilles tendon and calf problems in her left leg, Davies opened double bogey-bogey-par-bogey. She bogeyed Nos. 9, 10 and 12, had another double on 15 and bogeyed 16. The 82 was the World Golf Hall of Famer's highest score on tour since also shooting 82 in the 2013 Marathon Classic. On Monday, she jumped 208 spots to No. 155 in the world.

Hedwall, Stoelting and Park shot 66 in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills. Ariya Jutanugarn, also coming off a second-place tie in Phoenix, was a stroke back with 2015 champion Cristie Kerr, In-Kyung Kim and Nicole Broch Larsen.

Hedwall closed her bogey-free round with birdies on the par-5 eighth and par-4 ninth. The Swede played her final 10 holes in 6 under. Players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways because of the damp conditions.

''I hit it really well and started making a couple putts in my back nine,'' Hedwall said. ''I'm really happy with how I'm playing and looking forward to the rest of the days.''

Stoelting finished with a birdie on the par-4 18th. She had seven birdies and a bogey.

''I hit a lot of fairways,'' Stoelting said. ''I don't necessarily hit if far, but keeping it in the fairway is super key this week. The rough is much thicker this year than last year.''

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Hee Young Park birdied the final three holes, finishing on No. 9.

''The greens are really soft,'' Park said. ''So, easier on the second shot.''

The 40-year-old Kerr had a bogey-free round.

''I like this golf course,'' Kerr said. ''I think it's a tough golf course and you can't fall asleep on any shot. I mean, it's just a really great course. The layout. The rough is high. You got to pay attention. I think that's maybe why I play a little better here than some other places.''

Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 31 on the front nine.

''It's rain today and a little bit windy, but my irons help me a lot,'' Jutanugarn said. ''Just start to make some putts. ... It's pretty tough for me. I always feel like the course here is really hard because the greens really bumpy, and you're not going to hit far here.''

Lydia Ko and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu topped the group at 68.

Ko also played her final nine in 31. She missed the cut last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix.

''I holed some really good putts on my back nine,'' Ko said. ''I didn't hit the ball fantastic, but just being able to hole some good birdie putts was key.''

She won the 2016 event at Aviara.

''This is a pretty tough golf course,'' Ko said. ''Putting is a huge key around this course where if you do miss a green, making those clutch par putts and then making those birdie opportunities that you get.''

Jennifer Song and Jeong Eun Lee also shot 68. Brooke Henderson had a 69, and Lexi Thompson a 70.

Inbee Park was at 71 with Singapore champion Michelle Wie and 2014 Kia winner Anna Nordqvist. Top-ranked Shanshan Feng had a 72, playing alongside Park. Defending champion Mirim Lee shot 74.

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With old clubs returned, Kim (and new clubs) starts strong at Kia

By Randall MellMarch 23, 2018, 1:53 am

Almost two months after her golf clubs went missing, the same clubs she used to win last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, In-Kyung Kim was happily reunited with them this week.

She fetched them and her golf bag two days ago at the Carlsbad, Calif., police department.

A man bought them as a used set from a sporting goods store in the area, with Kim’s LPGA I.D. still in the golf bag.

Notably, Kim celebrated with a return to the leaderboard Thursday in the first round of the Kia Classic.

Kim opened with a 5-under-par 67, though she didn’t use her newly rediscovered clubs. She stayed with the replacement set that she put together after her clubs went missing. Her Women’s British Open clubs never showed up after she got off a plane in Southern California upon her return home from the season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

“It was really difficult at first,” Kim said of getting used to her new set of clubs. “I really worked hard, like worked a lot, went to the factory like a dozen times.”

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Kim said she made several visits to the factory folks, trying to get the loft and lies of her new clubs just the way she wanted, close to the configuration that helped her win the Women’s British Open.

“They were like, `I.K., are you ever happy?’” Kim said.

Actually, only five of Kim’s “lost” clubs turned up with her golf bag at that sporting goods store. Still, Kim was happy to get three wedges, two hybrids and her golf bag back.

“It’s kind of good to have a conclusion,” Kim said.

Kim can thank a “What’s in the bag?” segment with Ladies European Tour TV analyst Alison Whitaker for leading to the retrieval of her clubs. Kim explained to Whitaker how her clubs went missing during the telecast of the HSBC Women’s World Championship three weeks ago.

A golf fan in the San Diego area saw Golf Channel’s telecast of that segment.

“One of his friends bought the tour bag,” Kim said. “The other friend knew about my story, and he was like, `No, dude, that's not for selling. It's stolen.’”

Kim was delighted to meet the men who returned her clubs when she picked them up at the Carlsbad Police Department.

“Just good for me,” Kim said.