Monday Scramble: Reed joins prestigious club

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 13, 2015, 3:20 am

Patrick Reed rescued the PGA Tour from a worst-case scenario by delivering a knockout punch on the first playoff hole to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. With the Kapalua finale headed into overtime, and the college football championship already underway, Reed’s fourth victory in the past 17 months kept some of the national focus on golf – at least temporarily. 

More on Reed’s brilliance, Walker’s close call and the rest of the week’s happenings in this beat-the-midnight-deadline edition of the Monday Scramble: 


The Takeaway

There’s little room left on the Patrick Reed bandwagon after the 24-year-old’s comeback victory Monday at Kapalua. Ridiculed for months for having the gall to express his inner belief, he’s now viewed as a megastar in this era of parity. He’s aggressive. He’s a closer. He relishes the big moment. That’s the total package. Just a year removed from duking it out in Monday qualifiers, he became a multiple-time winner before rankling some members of the Tour fraternity with his “top-five” comment at Doral. That boast will follow him until he reaches that elite status, but he’s getting closer, rising to No. 14 in the world after his fourth title since August 2013. Perhaps it is Reed – not Jordan Spieth, not Rickie Fowler – who will pose the greatest threat to Rory McIlroy. 


The Scorecard

1. In the past 20 years, there are only four players who earned four or more PGA Tour wins before their 25th birthday:

  • Tiger Woods
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Rory McIlroy 
  • And Patrick Reed, who is 24 years, 5 months. 

2. Jimmy Walker may exude self-confidence and calm on the course, but his last two appearances with a chance to win tell a different story. Last February at Pebble, he had a six-shot lead before closing with 74, making three bogeys in his last seven holes. He hung on to win by one. Here, he had a three-shot lead before playing his last eight holes in 1 over, failing to make birdie on any of the remaining three par 5s (including in the playoff). Walker is among the most consistent players in the game – his 12 top 10s are tied for the most since the start of the 2013-14 season – but it’s apparent the late bloomer is still learning how to win. 

3. Rory McIlroy had a rare swing-and-miss last weekend when he supported Marshawn Lynch’s stiff arm of the media and added that the running back is “paid to play not answer questions.” That was troubling, because the exercise of athletes talking to reporters is part of the job description. Players receive those lofty paychecks because of fan interest, and the media acts as the fans’ representative, offering insights through access. There’s a reason the NFL slapped Lynch with a hefty $100,000 fine – to ensure that he’s not an example for athletes everywhere.

4. No one’s New Year’s Resolution is to pack on pounds, so thankfully Natalie Gulbis is here to help with all of your workout needs:

5. Two of the most fascinating nuggets from Golf Digest writer Jaime Diaz’s deep dive on the Gleneagles Ryder Cup:

• a.) Phil Mickelson found out that Tom Watson had told his fellow playing competitors at the 2013 Greenbrier Classic, “I won’t be afraid to bench one of these prima donnas.” As it turned out, Tiger wasn’t healthy enough to qualify and Phil sat all day Saturday for the first time in his career. Maybe Lefty shouldn’t have been so surprised.  

• b.) After Mickelson informed Watson that he had missed only three fairways in his last five foursomes matches in the Ryder and Presidents Cups – an assertion that seems very unlikely – the captain opted for Phil and partner Keegan Bradley instead of the red-hot Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed on Friday afternoon. When the U.S. team was on the eighth tee, Watson reportedly approached Mickelson and Bradley and woofed, “When are one of you (expletive) going to hit a fairway?”

6. Never again should fans complain that the Rules of Golf is too complicated. Just crack open the NFL rulebook.

7. The Year of Rejoicing was sooo 2014. Here’s Bubba Watson, backing off a shot and snapping at a cellphone-wielding fan at Kapalua: “You got it? Good picture? Got it? Thanks. Hope it looked good.”

8. How does a player with a swing as pure and a short game as sharp as Charl Schwartzel's have only three wins since the 2011 Masters – two in his native South Africa, the other in a limited-field event in Thailand? He seemed a lock for another one Sunday at the South African Open but blew a four-shot lead on the final five holes. Yes, there are plenty of underachievers in golf – Sergio and DJ come to mind – but clearly this is not how we thought Schwartzel’s career would unfold, post-Masters.

9. For years Woods has talked about needing “reps” while rarely deviating from a predictable schedule of favorite Tour stops. Adding Phoenix was a welcome sight, but he needs to go even further in 2015. After a year of injury, inactivity and ineffectiveness, he’d be wise to play as much as possible and get himself back in competitive shape – especially if he’s healthy.

10. Ousted PGA president Ted Bishop tried to make amends by tweeting at Ian Poulter – the target of his infamous “lil girl” remarks – that he selected him in the fourth round of his fantasy draft. Nice try, but everyone knows Poults is a seventh-rounder, at best.  

11. Speaking of fantasy, here are a few guys I’ll have in my lineup this week at the Sony Open: Sang-Moon Bae (four top-six finishes in his last five worldwide starts), Chris Kirk (back-to-back top-five finishes at Waialae), Charles Howell III (top 10s in five of the past six years) and Tim Clark (T-2s in two of his past three starts there). 


The WTH? Moment of the Week

This tan line is VERY disturbing:


Shag Bag

Chris Kirk made all 16 putts he faced inside 15 feet during a course-record-tying 62 on Monday. Jason Day, who also fired a 62, was 16 of 17 from that range. What a slouch. … A sponsorship with Vineyard Vines. A slimmed-down physique. Apparently Jason Dufner isn’t too old to join Auburn’s Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. … The Kordas might rival the Mannings for top athletic family. Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova were professional tennis players, with Petr even rising to No. 2 in the world following his 1998 Australian Open title. One of Petr’s daughters, Jessica, is a 21-year-old stud who has already won three LPGA titles. His other daughter, 16-year-old Nelly, captured the prestigious Harder Hall Invitational amateur tournament last week. A pro career seems likely. No surprise there. … Construction on the Olympic Golf Course is finally complete, after a few years of lawsuits, setbacks and headaches. Poor Gil Hanse probably can’t wait until Aug. 22, 2016 – when the Olympics are over.  


The #AskLav Mailbag

Knew that one was coming. Reed’s victory at Kapalua should be further proof that it’s harder than ever to win on the PGA Tour. There were only two top-10 players in the field in Maui, and yet it took a late hole-out (and some help) to seal the W. Consistency has still been an issue in Reed’s young career, but it’s easy to see him factoring in at least a few Big Ones. 

Nerves, mostly. Over the past two rounds, he played his first 28 holes in 11 under par, with no bogeys and 14 one-putts. In his last eight, he was 1 over, with zero birdies and no one-putts. There are some beastly holes coming down the stretch, of course, but there are also some easy birdie opportunities that Walker couldn’t take capitalize on.  

The dangers of drinking and tweeting.  

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S.Y. Kim leads Kang, A. Jutanugarn in Shanghai

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:24 am

SHANGHAI  -- Sei Young Kim led the LPGA Shanghai by one stroke at the halfway point after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the second round on Friday.

Kim made six birdies, including four straight from the sixth hole, to move to a 10-under 134 total. Her only setback was a bogey on the par-4 15th.

Kim struggled in the first half of the year, but is finishing it strong. She won her seventh career title in July at the Thornberry Creek Classic, was tied for fourth at the Women's British Open, and last month was runner-up at the Evian Championship.

''I made huge big par putts on 10, 11, 12,'' Kim said on Friday. ''I'm very happy with today's play.''

Danielle Kang (68) and overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn (69) were one shot back.


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


''I like attention. I like being in the final group. I like having crowds,'' Kang said. ''It's fun. You work hard to be in the final groups and work hard to be in the hunt and be the leader and chasing the leaders. That's why we play.''

She led into the last round at the Hana Bank Championship last week and finished tied for third.

Brittany Altomare had six birdies in a bogey-free round of 66, and was tied for fourth with Bronte Law (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).

Angel Lin eagled the par-5 17th and finished with the day's lowest score of 65, which also included six birdies and a lone bogey.

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'Caveman golf' puts Koepka one back at CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 19, 2018, 10:12 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Brooks Koepka, recently named the PGA Tour Player of the Year, gave himself the perfect opportunity to become the No. 1 player in the world when he shot a 7-under par 65 to move to within one shot of the lead in the CJ Cup on Friday.

At the Nine Bridges course, the three-time major champion made an eagle on his closing hole to finish on 8-under par 136 after two rounds, just one stroke behind Scott Piercy, who was bogey-free in matching Koepka's 65.

With the wind subsiding and the course playing much easier than on the opening day when the scoring average was 73.26, 44 players – more than half the field of 78 – had under-par rounds.

Overnight leader Chez Reavie added a 70 to his opening-round 68 to sit in third place at 138, three behind Piercy. Sweden's Alex Noren was the other player in with a 65, which moved him into a tie for fourth place alongside Ian Poulter (69), four out of the lead.

The best round of the day was a 64 by Brian Harman, who was tied for sixth and five behind Piercy.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


The 28-year-old Koepka will move to the top of the world rankings when they are announced on Monday if he wins the tournament.

Thomas, playing alongside Koepka, matched Koepka's eagle on the last, but that was only for a 70 and he is tied for 22nd place at 1 under.

Koepka's only bogey was on the par-5 ninth hole, where he hit a wayward tee shot. But he was otherwise pleased with the state of his ''caveman golf.''

''I feel like my game is in a good spot. I feel like the way I played today, if I can carry that momentum into Saturday and Sunday, it will be fun,'' Koepka, winner of the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, said.

''My game is pretty simple. I guess you can call it like caveman golf – you see the ball, hit the ball and go find it again. You're not going to see any emotion just because I'm so focused, but I'm enjoying it.''

Piercy, who has fallen to No. 252 in the world ranking despite winning the Zurich Classic earlier this year with Billy Horschel – there are no world ranking points for a team event – was rarely out of position in a round in which he found 13 of 14 fairways off the tee and reached 16 greens in regulation.

''Obviously, the wind was down a little bit and from a little bit different direction, so 10 miles an hour wind versus 20s is quite a big difference,'' said Piercy, who is looking for his first individual PGA Tour win since the Barbasol Championship in July 2015.

''It was a good day. Hit a couple close and then my putter showed up and made some putts of some pretty good length.''

Australia's Marc Leishman, winner last week at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, shot a 71 and was seven behind. Paul Casey's 73 included a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole and the Englishman is nine behind Piercy.

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Koepka primed for CJ Cup win and world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 6:00 am

Brooks Koepka wants a 2-for-1 at the CJ Cup. If he can collect his second non-major PGA Tour victory he can become world No. 1 for the first time in his career.

He’s in great position to accomplish his goal.

Koepka eagled the par-5 18th en route to a 7-under 65 in the second round at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea. At 8 under par, he is one back of 36-hole leader Scott Piercy (65).

"Obviously the wind didn't blow. It was a different golf course than it was yesterday, you were able to take advantage of these par 5s," said Koepka, who opened in 71 on Day 1. "Felt like it was a lot more gettable. I putted so well, great ball-striking day, great putting day and very pleased with it."

Koepka, currently ranked third in the world, began the day three shots off the lead, but rapidly ascended the leaderboard. He birdied four of his first eight holes before finding trouble at the ninth. Koepka hooked his tee shot out of bounds, but the ninth is a par 5 and he was able to salvage bogey.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Current Official World Golf Ranking


That was his only dropped shot of the day.

The reigning Tour Player of the Year birdied the 12th and 14th holes in his bid to keep pace with Piercy. Koepka was two back as he played his final hole, where he knocked his second shot to 10 feet. He deftly converted the eagle effort to tie Piercy and earn a spot in Saturday’s final twosome. Piercy later pulled a shot ahead with a birdie at the ninth, his final hole of the day.

Koepka has officially won four PGA Tour events, but three of those are majors (2017, ’18 U.S. Open; 2018 PGA). His lone non-major win was the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

"Just keep doing what I'm doing," Koepka said of his plan for the final two rounds. "I'm hitting it well and making putts. I felt like I probably could have shot about 7, 8 under on the front side there, missed a couple. You know, doing everything right and that's what you've got to do and hopefully this wind stays away."

He can still reach world No. 1 with a solo second place, assuming Justin Thomas, currently world No. 4, doesn’t win this week.

That will take a mighty weekend effort by the defending champ.

Thomas also eagled the 18th hole to go from 1 over to 1 under. He shot 2-under 70 in the second round and is seven shots off the lead.

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'Go in'? Yes, JT wants an ace at the par-4 14th

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 19, 2018, 5:11 am

Justin Thomas didn’t hesitate after hitting his tee shot on the 353-yard, par-4 14th in Round 2 of the CJ Cup.

“Go in,” he immediately said.

“Please go in,” he added.



Thomas’ tee shot was on a great line, but it landed just short of the green. Surprisingly, it took three more shots for his ball to "go in." After birdies on Nos. 12 and 13, Thomas parred the 14th.