Second City scenarios

By Jason SobelSeptember 17, 2011, 9:10 pm

LEMONT, Ill. –  There are certain days on the annual golf calendar whose mere mention will induce a professional golfer’s fingers to tremble ever so slightly and his heart rate to speed up just a little bit.

The final round of PGA Tour Q-School is one of ‘em. U.S. Open qualifying is another. And now we can add one more to the list: Sunday at the BMW Championship.

Why such white-knuckle conditions at the penultimate event of the regular season, where seemingly a rich-get-richer philosophy permeates the atmosphere? It’s because so much is on the line for so many players entering the final round, from FedEx Cup advancement to Presidents Cup roster spots to Player of the Year votes.

These stories are numerous.

After bombing his drive on the final hole in Saturday’s third round, John Senden stood over his second shot with plenty at stake. He didn’t know it, of course, but a birdie would catapult him into 10th place on the projected FedEx standings; a par would keep him in 24th position and a bogey would leave him at 33rd – outside the number needed to advance to next week’s Tour Championship.

Senden stuck the shot to nine feet and made the ensuing putt to take sole possession of second place with 18 holes to play, but those projections are fleeting. And he knows it.

“I’ll think about not looking at leaderboards, I guess,” said Senden, who entered the week in 55th position. “I think that it’s a good, challenging golf course. I need to do what’s best for me and that’s play my game and not worry about what happens with the other players and just go out there and do my best. Hopefully that’s good enough.”

The Aussie actually has double reason for needing a strong finish, as a victory would also vault him onto the Presidents Cup team for The International side.

That’s a scenario Jim Furyk knows all too well. Currently ninth in the U.S. standings, he finds himself locked in what appears to be a five-man battle for the final three spots, alongside Hunter Mahan, David Toms, Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas.

Meanwhile, the reigning playoff champion came into the week as the No. 35 man on the list, but thanks to his T-7 placement on the leaderboard is now 27th and inside the number.

“As far as getting into The Tour Championship, I know that [Friday] the computer had me projected 31st, so I know that I’ve got to move up on the weekend,” Furyk surmised. “As far as the Presidents Cup, it’s in the back of my mind, it’s weighing on me, I obviously want to make the team. The only thing I can really control is how I play. It’s hard not to look at the leaderboard and see how the guys are doing, but ultimately I can only control how I play.”

Many of the bubble boys are looking to advance in order to simply enjoy one more chance at the spoils that come with playing well at the Tour Championship, most notably the $10 million first-place prize given to the FedEx Cup champion.

For others, though, just reaching the field at East Lake Golf Club will provide an opportunity that otherwise may not present itself anytime soon.

Such is the case for Brandt Jobe. Currently in a share of seventh place, he needs to move into a tie for third in order to continue playing next week. That may be a tall order, considering he needs to make up three strokes on those in that place on the leaderboard right now, but if he does it on Sunday, suddenly Jobe will find himself eligible for each of next year’s first three major championships and the WGC event at Doral – some grandiose consolation prizes for having a strong final round at Cog Hill.

“If you look at it as, I’m trying to get enough points to get into the next one, all that stuff takes care of itself,” Jobe stated. “I’ve played in all those anyway. Would I like to play in them again? Heck yes. But I think more of the grind will be trying to do it if I have a chance.

“After the first round, I told [my caddie], ‘You know what would be nice? To be able to go out on Sunday and say if I shoot 66 or 67, I’ve got a chance. That’s all. … At least, ending the year, if I go out and if I play good, I can do it. That’s all I can ask for.”

So many players will have a chance to seriously enhance their career with a strong round on Sunday. Projections will be tallied in real-time, certain guys falling in and out of desired placements on these lists.

They all have one thing in common, though. As every player in this situation said as he walked off the course after the third round, playing better golf is the lone tonic that can cure any ills.

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Levy wins Trophee Hassan for fifth European Tour title

By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 6:32 pm

RABAT, Morocco - Alexander Levy finished with a 2-under 70 Sunday to win the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco by a shot from overnight leader Alvaro Quiros.

One off the lead overnight, Levy made two of his four birdies in his first five holes to hit the front and stayed ahead for the rest of the final day at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course.

It was the 27-year-old Frenchman's fifth European Tour victory and he will take winning form to Beijing next week when he defends his China Open title.

Levy ended 8-under 280 overall, one ahead of Spain's Quiros, who closed with a second straight 72.

Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II

With his chasers pushing hard, Levy kept his cool after dropping a shot on No. 16. He birdied the short, par-3 No. 17 and made par at the last.

Quiros birdied his last two holes to make sure of second place outright. He needed an eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff.

A group of four players finished in a tie for third, including Italy's Andrea Pavan, who finished with a brilliant 6-under 66. Swedish pair Joakim Lagergren (70) and Alexander Bjork (70) and Finland's Mikko Ilonen (72) also shared third.

Levy had three other top 10 finishes in his five previous events this season and moved up to ninth on the European Tour's Race to Dubai points list.

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(Not that) Jutanugarn shares lead with (not that) Ko

By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 1:58 am

LOS ANGELES - A player eager for her first win and a rookie top the leaderboard at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open. Lurking two shots back is a Hall of Famer.

Winless Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie rookie Jin Young Ko at 9 under on Saturday at Wilshire Country Club.

Ko shot a 66 in her bid to become the year's first two-time LPGA winner. She won the Women's Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member after a successful run on the Korean LPGA circuit.

''I'm ready for win or top 10, so maybe tomorrow I will really focus on shot by shot,'' said Ko, who added an exclamation point to her golf bag for each of her wins on the KLPGA. ''I won 11 times, so if I win tomorrow, maybe I change to 12. I need more, I need every time motivation.''

Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.

Usually when one of the Thai sisters is in the lead, the other will watch when her round is finished.

''If she's not too lazy, she is probably going to come out,'' Moriya said about Ariya.

Playing in an all-Korean threesome, Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole. The group drew a large contingent of Korean fans.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

''I kind of started off a little bad. I was able to come back strong, so I'm really happy with that,'' Park said. ''I left a few putts out there. The greens around this golf course are just really tough. You just don't know what's going to happen.''

Moriya Jutanugarn's round included a double bogey on the par-4 first hole and a bogey on the par-4 sixth. She eagled the par-4 14th after holing out from the fairway 93 feet away. The ball took once bounce and went in, eliciting a stunned look from Jutanugarn before she high-fived her caddie.

''Today was kind of a pretty rough day for me with not a very good start and like trying to come back,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I just try to play my game and be patient out there I think is the key.''

Jutanugarn, the second-round leader, read the break perfectly on a long putt to make birdie on 18 and share the lead with Ko.

Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th from 180 yards. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled after three bogeys and a double bogey. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.

''It was like one bounce and then it like trickled in,'' Inglis said.

Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.

Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.

Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 under.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 70 and was in a six-way tie for 12th at 2 under.

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Defending champs Singh, Franco take senior lead

By Associated PressApril 22, 2018, 12:15 am

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco took the third-round lead Saturday in the windy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Singh and Franco shot a 7-under 47 in wind gusting to 20 mph on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to get to 19-under 145, a stroke ahead of the teams of David Toms-Steve Flesch and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett.

''It was a tough day,'' Singh said. ''The wind was swirling, have to get the club right and we made some putts. Carlos played really well on the back nine and I played really well on the front nine, so we ham-and-egged it a little.''

Toms and Flesch also shot 47, and Broadhurst and Triplett had a 33 on the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course.

''We just paired well together,'' Toms said. ''I don't think either one of us played great. We picked each other up out there.''

Wind and rain is expected Sunday when the teams finish at Top of the Rock, again playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

''Make as many birdies as possible and see what happens,'' Singh said. ''That's all we can do.''

Singh and Franco are trying to become the first to successfully defend a title since Jim Colbert and Andy North in 2001. Singh won the Toshiba Classic in March for his first individual senior title.

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Flesch won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last week in Georgia for his first senior victory.

Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer had a 34 at Mountain Top to join Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal at 17 under. Jimenez and Olazabal had a 33 at Mountain Top.

''It's great for me to be able to play with him as a team member,'' Olazabal said. ''We do have great memories from the Ryder Cup and other events, and it's always a great pleasure to play with a great player and a friend.''

Langer took the final-round forecast in stride.

''We've done it hundreds of times before and we'll probably do it again,'' Langer said. ''We'll make the best of it. We both have a good attitude. We're known to play in all sorts of weather and I just look forward to playing one more day with my partner here.''

Wisconsin neighbors Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were 16 under after a 48 at Top of the Rock.

John Daly and Michael Allen, the second-round leaders after a 46 at Top of the Rock, had a 37 at Mountain Top to drop into a tie for seventh at 15 under.

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Landry shares Valero lead, eyes first career win

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 11:15 pm

After coming up just short of a breakthrough win earlier this season, Andrew Landry has another chance to earn his maiden victory at the Valero Texas Open.

Landry came within inches of winning the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, ultimately losing to Jon Rahm in a four-hole playoff. He struggled to find form in the wake of his close call, missing the cut in each of his four starts following his runner-up finish in Palm Springs.

But Landry took some time off to welcome his first child, Brooks, last month and he made it to the weekend in his first start back last week at the RBC Heritage, where he finished T-42. He made a move up the standings Saturday at TPC San Antonio with a bogey-free 67, and at 13 under shares the lead with Zach Johnson heading into the final round.

"I just did everything really good," Landry told reporters. "I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat, and I had a couple bad putts that I didn't really make. I'm happy with it, it's a good 5-under round. Gets me in the final group tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Landry started the day one shot off the pace and in the final group with Johnson and Ryan Moore, and at one point he took sole possession of the lead after birdies on three of his first six holes. Now he'll have another chance in the day's final tee time where he's grouped with Johnson and Trey Mullinax, who sits one shot back after firing a course-record 62 in the third round.

For Landry, it's another opportunity to break into the winner's circle, and it's one for which he feels prepared after coming so close three months ago.

"I mean, I don't want to go too deep into it because I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I just believe in myself. There's no other explanation for it," Landry said. "You can totally get out here and play with Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, two top players in the world, and you can go out there and fold under pressure or you can learn a lot.

"Zach's always been a role model to me the way he plays golf, I feel like we have very similar games, and it's just going to be fun tomorrow getting to play with him again."