Bunker Shots Stars Over Texas

By Randall MellMay 25, 2010, 9:12 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from Lefty’s quasi-title defense to the start of major championship season for the senior circuit ...

PGA TOUR

PGA Tour (75x100)

Crowne Plaza Colonial Invitational

The Nos. 2, 4 and 5 players in the world lead a strong field that includes five of the top 10 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

No. 2 Phil Mickelson tees it up at Colonial, where he won in 2008 but did not defend last year with his wife, Amy, being treated for breast cancer. No. 4 Steve Stricker is the defending champ, who hopes his inflamed joint, where his right clavicle meets his sternum, is healed enough to make another run at a title. No. 5 Jim Furyk will be seeking his third title this season.

Bunker Shot: With a victory, Mickelson can move to No. 1 in the world rankings, becoming just the 13th player to hold the top spot since the Official World Golf Ranking was created in 1986. There are those who believe the next No. 1 should have an asterisk by his name because of the circumstances that will surround the new No. 1’s ascent. Tiger Woods, after all, has been inactive due to injury or self-imposed exile for almost 15 months of the last two-year rolling period that constitute the rankings. The thinking was that the new No. 1 would be holding the spot temporarily, until Woods gained enough starts to win back his spot. Now, there’s growing sentiment Woods may never gets his No. 1 spot back, not with all that’s gone wrong in his life and his swing. There’s sentiment he may never catch Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 professional major championship titles. Yeah, Woods appears to be a physical, emotional and mental mess right now, but he’ll be back with a vengeance. Unless something goes haywire with that remarkable putting stroke of his, Woods finds his way back to the top and passes Nicklaus.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Jim Furyk. Contender – Phil Mickelson. Darkhorse – Steve Marino.

  • Course: Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas. Par 70, 7,204 yards (Designed by Perry Maxwell and John Bredemus and opened in 1943, redesign by Keith Porter in 1999).
  • Purse: $6.2 million (winner’s share, $1,116,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel’s Golf Central pre-game, 2:30 p.m., Golf Channel tournament coverage, 3-6 p.m.; replay, 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, Golf Channel’s pre-game, 12:30 p.m., Golf channel tournament coverage 1-2:30 p.m., Golf Channel pre-game, 2:30 p.m.; CBS tournament coverage, 3-6 p.m. with Golf Channel replay 9:30-11:30 p.m.
  • Last year: Steve Stricker defeated Tim Clark and Steve Marino in a playoff.


CHAMPIONS TOUR

Champions TourSenior PGA Championship

The major Championship season begins on the Champions Tour.

Fred Couples, Tom Watson, Jay Haas and Loren Roberts are among the usual suspects teeing it up in the first of the senior circuit’s five majors.

Bunker shot: If the winds stay up at Colorado Golf Club this week, count Watson’s chances as enhanced. He’s going for his sixth Champions Tour major title, his second Senior PGA title. Couples, of course, is THE favorite in his first major in the over-50 circuit. Couples has brought a jolt of new excitement to the Champions Tour with three victories already this season.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Tom Watson. Contender – Fred Couples. Darkhorse – Tom Pernice Jr.

  • Course: Colorado Golf Club, Parker, Colo. Par 72, 7, 604 yards (Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and opened in 2007).
  • Purse: TBA ($2 million in ’09 with a winner’s share of $360,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday, Golf Channel, 6-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, NBC, 3-6 p.m.
  • Last year: Michael Allen became the 14th player in Champions Tour history to win his first start on the Tour.


LPGA

LPGA Tour _newHSBC Brasil Cup

With golf becoming part of the Olympics when the Games are played in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the LPGA helps the city warm up to the game in an unofficial event.

Brazil’s own Angela Park is in the field of 27 players. It’s just a 36-hole event with play scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

Bunker Shot: Asians have dominated the LPGA this season with Sun Young Yoo’s victory at the Sybase Match Play Championship last weekend extending the Far East’s unbeaten mark to 7-0 in LPGA events. Michelle Wie is the only American to win an LPGA event in the last 12 months. While it wouldn’t be official, it would be encouraging to American fans for an American to win. Morgan Pressel won a Japanese LPGA event three weeks ago. Angela Stanford, Kristy McPherson, Stacy Lewis and Vicky Hurst are among Americans in the field.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Angela Stanford. Contender – Catriona Matthew. Darkhorse – Stacy Prammanasudh.

  • Course: Itanhanga Golf Club, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Par 72, 6,447 yards.
  • Purse: $700,000 (winner’s share, $105,000).
  • TV times: No TV.
  • Last year: Catriona Matthew defeated Kristy McPherson by five shots.


EUROPEAN TOUR

2009 European TourMadrid Masters

Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald aren’t just the biggest names in the field. They’ll be paired together in the first two rounds.

Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Miguel Angel Jimenez also will draw large galleries in their homeland.

Bunker shot: Garcia could use a boost to his 2010 season, and there’s nothing like a little home cooking to help him do it. Garcia is going for his fourth European Tour title on Spanish soil. Garcia has yet to log a top-10 finish this season in the 11-stroke play events he’s played on the PGA Tour and European Tour. His best finish in nine PGA Tour starts this year is a tie for 37th at the CA Championship. He did finish fourth at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Garcia’s putter continues to be a problem. He ranks 133rd on the PGA Tour in putts per green in regulation. His ball striking hasn’t been much better in 2010. He’s 118th in greens in regulation. That combo ranks him 132nd on Tour in scoring average (71.20). Just two years ago, he led the PGA Tour in scoring.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Luke Donald. Contender – Sergio Garcia. Darkhorse – Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

  • Course: Real Sociedad Hipica Espanola Club de Campo, Madrid, Spain. Par 72, 7,162 yards (Designed by Robert Von Hagge and opened in 1997).
  • Purse: $1.5 million euros (winner’s share, $250,000 euros).
  • TV times: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Last year: Ross McGowan won his first European Tour title, shooting 60 in the Saturday round to build a seven-shot lead.
Getty Images

Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take an four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up once to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made XX birdies and just XX bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentianian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.  

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 8-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman, and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year. 

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th. 

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

Getty Images

McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.

Getty Images

Watch: Rose one-arms approach, makes birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 7:25 pm

Justin Rose appears to have taken a course in Hideki Matsuyama-ing.

Already 3 under on his round through five thanks to a birdie-birdie-birdie start, Rose played this approach from 143 yards at the par-4 sixth.

That one-armed approach set up a 6-foot birdie putt he rolled in to move to 4 under on his round and 14 under for the week, five clear of the field.

Getty Images

McIlroy battles back into tie for BMW PGA lead

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

Rory McIlroy got off to a rocky start on Saturday in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, including hitting a spectator and making a double bogey. But after that incident on the sixth hole, he didn't drop another shot, birdieing the final hole to shoot a 1-under 71 and tie for the lead.

McIlroy had gone into Moving Day with a three-shot lead, but Francesco Molinari had the round of the day, a 6-under 66. "It was nice keep a clean scorecard," said Molinari, who hasn't made a bogey since the 10th hole on Friday.


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy and Molinari will be paired in Sunday's final round. They are tied at 13 under par, four shots clear of Ross Fisher, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield and Alexander Noren.

The Wentworth course ends with back-to-back par-5s, and McIlroy birdied both of them. He got a break on the 18th hole as his drive hit a spectator and bounced into light rough.

"It was a struggle out there today," McIlroy said. "I think when you're working on a few things in your swing and the wind is up and you're stuck between trying to play different shots, but also try to play - you know, make good swings at it, I just hit some loose tee balls on the first few holes. But I'm proud of myself. I stayed patient. I actually - I'm feeling a bit better about myself after today than I was even walking off the course yesterday."