Winning Titleholders will be major task

By Randall MellNovember 18, 2012, 12:25 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Titleholders is becoming a back-breaking test.

The leaderboard is also making it look like a major champion’s test.

American Brittany Lincicome is battling through back pain to try to win the LPGA’s season-ending event at TwinEagles Club.

So is South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, thanks to a night in high heels.

Titleholders: Scores | Photos | Highlights

You Oughta Know: A guide to Sunday's final round

At this rate, Sunday’s finish might come down to who can endure the most pain, or who gets the best physiotherapy work.

Lincicome and Ryu, however, have some work to do to catch South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, whose back appears to be holding up just fine with the weight of a 54-hole lead on it.

Choi’s 3-under-par 69 Saturday moved her into sole possession of the lead.

At 12-under 204, Choi is one shot ahead of Japan’s Ai Miyazato (71), two ahead Ryu (68), three ahead of Lincicome (70) and France’s Karine Icher (70) and four in front of China’s Shanshan Feng (69) and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist (69).

TwinEagles may not be set up as a major championship test with hardly any rough and some unusual green complexes, but the leaderboard is dominated by major champions.

Choi won this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, Ryu won it last year. Lincicome won the ’09 Kraft Nabisco, Feng this year’s LPGA Championship and Nordqvist the ’09 LPGA Championship. Seven-time major champion Karrie Webb is just five back. So is another major champion, Suzann Pettersen.

“I think it will be really exciting,” Choi said.

And possibly full of pain.

“Today was better, but, still, the first couple holes, my lower body wouldn’t let me follow through,” Lincicome said. “I’ll go ice [my back] and get it worked on one more time and hopefully it will be better tomorrow.”

Lincicome was in so much pain after four holes in the first round, she had to lie down on the course while an LPGA physiotherapist worked on her back. She believes she hurt herself hauling luggage a couple weeks ago.

The long-hitting Lincicome is looking for her sixth LPGA title.

Ryu, the LPGA’s rookie of the year, hurt her back Saturday hitting a tee shot at the ninth hole.

“It was really painful,” Ryu said.

Ryu dressed up in a gown with high heels Friday night to receive her Rolex Rookie of the Year award. She said she rarely wears high heels, and she wonders if doing so hurt her back.

“I’m not a big fan of high heels,” Ryu said.

Choi took a final-round lead into the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run and held on to win despite a shaky back nine. It was her sixth LPGA title and first major.

“I think I had extra pressure after the major because a lot of people said, `You’re a major champion,’ and a lot of people expect better results,” Choi said. “I can’t control that.”

Choi will be thinking housing prices come Sunday. She has special motivation to win.

“I’m looking for a new house in Orlando,” Choi said. “I want a good result to buy a house.”

A $500,000 first-place check will go a long way to upgrading her plans.

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Watch: Reed races in 40-footer to put away Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 10:19 pm

Three up with three holes to play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Patrick Reed missed an opportunity to close out his match with Jordan Spieth when Spieth won the 16th hole with a birdie.

But Reed wouldn't let the match move to 18. Putting for birdie from the apron, 40 feet from the hole, at the par-3 17th, Reed raced in this putt to end the match.

With the win, Reed moved to 3-0-0 for the week and advanced to the weekend at Austin Country Club.

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Garcia's win-win situation: Move on or baby time

By Rex HoggardMarch 23, 2018, 9:45 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Given his status as one of Europe’s preeminent Ryder Cup players, Sergio Garcia’s record at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is nothing short of inexplicable.

In 15 starts at the event, the Spaniard has played the weekend just once – in 2010 when he lost in the semifinals to Ian Poulter – and since the event pivoted to round-robin play he’s never made it out of the group stages.

His fortunes have changed dramatically this year, with Garcia going undefeated in pool play and cruising to the Sweet 16 following a 3-and-1 victory over Xander Schauffele on Friday.

“I would love to have done a little better than I have,” said Garcia, who will play Kyle Stanley in the Round of 16 early Saturday. “I have had some good weeks here. But not probably as good as I should have. So hopefully this week it will be better.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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Garcia made no secret of the source of his turnaround following the birth of his first child last Wednesday, a girl named Azalea. Even on Friday when he found himself 2 down through 11 holes and in danger of not advancing he kept an upbeat attitude.

“The way I looked at it, when I was 2 down, we're going to try to turn it around, but if we don't, it means that I get to spend more time with [his wife] Angela and Azalea for the weekend,” Garcia said. “I tried to look at it in a good way.”

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DeLaet: WGC's robin-robin format 'sucks'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 23, 2018, 9:20 pm

Graham DeLaet isn't teeing it up at Austin Country Club this week because he didn't qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but that doesn't mean he lacks an opinion on the event's format.

DeLaet hopped on social media Friday during Day 3 of the WGC-Match Play to torch the round-robin format that's been in place for three years, saying he much preferred the single elimination that was in place when he played in 2014.

"Played Match Play in Tucson in 2014. Early group on Wednesday, lost. Threw clubs in my car and was on my couch in Scottsdale by 2:00 pm. Collect 30K and spend the weekend at home, he tweeted. "That’s a good format. This one sucks."

DeLeat's comments may be the strongest to date, but he's not alone in his opposition to pool play. Several players lamented Friday's "meaningless" matches earlier this week, and Henrik Stenson cited the lack of a do-or-die atmosphere as his reason for skipping the event.

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Watch: Kuchar makes ace at WGC-Dell Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 23, 2018, 9:09 pm

In his bid to advance to the weekend at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Matt Kuchar aced the par-3 seventh hole Friday at Austin Country Club.

With an 8-iron from 181 yards, Kuchar landed his ball short of the flag and watched it roll and roll ... and drop.

The hole-in-one moved Kuchar 3 Up in match against Ross Fisher. 

The last hole-in-one at the Match Play came in Sunday's consolation match last year, when Hideto Tanihara aced the same hole before later losing to Bill Haas.