Garcia, Woods to put an epic show Saturday at Players

By Randall MellMay 10, 2013, 8:24 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Sergio Garcia marched into the TPC Sawgrass locker room Friday after a particularly satisfying day of work.

Behind him, you could hear the fast approaching click-clack of golf cleats.

Tiger Woods was right on his heels literally and figuratively at The Players Championship.

Woods followed Garcia through the double doors of the locker room after nearly catching him on the leaderboard.

“Nice playing, Sergio,” Woods said with a pat on the back.

“Thanks, Tiger,” Garcia said.

To the delight of so many fans here at the Stadium Course, these old foes will be seeing a lot of each other this weekend.

With a 7-under-par 65, Garcia leaped to the top of the leaderboard in the second round.

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At 11-under 133, Garcia is one shot ahead of Woods through 36 holes. They will play together in the final pairing off Saturday afternoon.

That promises to straighten up the backs of all those folks packed into the grandstand around the first tee.

There is some colorful history between these two, though it so lopsidedly favors Woods. Of course, that puts Garcia in some good company. Woods’ history lopsidedly favors him over everyone.

Garcia was asked if he was eager to measure himself against Woods again.

“We’ll see what happens,” said Garcia. “But, no, no, I don’t have to measure myself against anybody. I know what I want to try to do. Any given day, I can shoot a round like this, and any other day he can shoot a good round and beat me.

“There are going to be good days and not-so good days, so you’ve just got to enjoy the good ones as much as possible.”

As maddening as Pete Dye’s Stadium Course design can be, Garcia looks surprisingly comfortable on it. It’s surprising because nobody seems to get comfortable around all the trouble that lurks here. It’s also surprising because Dye likes to aggravate and infuriate, and we’ve seen how Garcia’s emotions can sometimes get the best of him, for better or worse.

Still, Garcia won here in ’08. He finished second here in ’07. As one of the game’s best ball-strikers, Garcia navigates around the trouble here as well as anyone.

He was asked if it’s one of his favorite PGA Tour courses.

“Probably,” Garcia said. “I like Westchester, too. I’ve always liked those kind of courses, with small greens, not particularly long, but with doglegs and things like that, courses that ask you to maneuver the ball and stuff like that. This is no different than that.”

Garcia’s putter, often a liability, seems to work better here on Dye’s smallish greens.

Back when Garcia won The Players five years ago, he walked off the final green planting a kiss on the face of his putter. Given the fits his flat stick has given him over the years, it was a kiss to remember.

Garcia has his putter working again this week. It’s a Taylormade Ghost Tour model that he has been using for two years. This one was slightly altered two months ago, with the hosel more angular now. With that claw grip of his feeling good, Garcia took just 10 putts Friday on his second nine. He needed just 25 putts for the round.

“If you would have seen me on the front nine, I played better,” Garcia said. “I hit every single green, gave myself birdie chances everywhere.”

On his second nine, the ball started diving into the hole. Garcia, who started his round on the 10th tee, made five consecutive birdies on his second nine, six over seven holes.

“I started rolling the putts in,” Garcia said. “I just got in a good rhythm on the greens. It seemed like I had a good feel for it, and every putt just wanted to drop.”

Woods has his putter working, too. Woods is in the running with a pair of 67s. This is as comfortable as he has looked on the Stadium Course in a long time, but he has an even better history here than Garcia. Woods also has won The Players Championship, back in 2001, but he also won a U.S. Amateur here in ’94.

“Even though I haven’t played well here in the past, I’ve still won here,” Woods said. “I know how to get around this golf course. This course, more than most, really tests every facet of your game.”

If they’re both at their best this weekend, it could be fun.

There was that first spark of promise that these two might be something special together when a 19-year-old Garcia pushed Woods in a strong challenge at the PGA Championship at Medinah back in ’99. A real rivalry didn’t follow because Woods has trumped Garcia on so many big stages.

At the British Open in ’06 at Royal Liverpool, Garcia was in the final Sunday pairing with Woods. Garcia trailed by a shot, but he couldn’t get past Woods.

At the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in '02, Garcia and Woods were in the final Sunday pairing again, with Garcia chasing again. Woods ended up hoisting the trophy again.

While it’s not a major, The Players gives Garcia a chance to trump Woods on a big stage. The challenge escalates Saturday.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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."