Ailing Funk Recovers to Maintain Lead

By Sports NetworkFebruary 24, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Mayakoba Golf ClassicPLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico -- Fifty-year-old Fred Funk battled back pain and fired a 6-under 64 Saturday to take a two-shot lead heading into the final round at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Funk had eight birdies and two bogeys for the second-best round of the day and stands at 15-under 195 overall. He has held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds.
'It would be nice to go wire to wire. That's what I would love to do,' Funk admitted. 'I just have to play well.'
Argentina's Jose Coceres shot a 65 and is alone in second place at 13-under 197. Australian Peter Lonard (67) and second round co-leader Cameron Beckman (69) are three shots further back at 200.
Funk will be seeking his eighth PGA TOUR victory and first since the 2005 Players Championship. He is a career 5-6 when holding a 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR.
On Saturday, Funk opened his third round with a birdie at No. 1 despite aggravating a back injury on his tee shot, which drifted right.
'[I] just felt this nerve pain going right down my butt and down my leg and I knew I was in trouble,' Funk said. 'I was favoring it all day, then it got really bad on a couple of holes.'
So bad, in fact, that a trainer had to come out and work on Funk's back after he made a bogey at No. 12 to fall to 12 under par.
It worked.
Battling back problems for the first time, Funk pulled himself off the ground and made consecutive birdies at the 13th and 14th and another at the 16th to secure his two-shot lead.
If he wins, maybe he should share the $630,000 prize with the trainer.
'He did something. He pressed so hard on the one part where it was bothering me and I felt something pop a little bit,' Funk said. 'I don't know if it was my hip or his thumb, but it definitely helped.'
Funk is staring at some history.
He will be 50 years, eight months and 11 days old on Sunday. Only five players have ever won a PGA TOUR title after their 50th birthday: Sam Snead (52); Art Wall (51); Jim Barnes (51); John Barnum (51) and Craig Stadler (50).
If he holds on, Funk would move ahead of Stadler to become the fifth-oldest champion in PGA Tour history (Stadler was 50 years, one month and 18 days old when he won the 2003 B.C. Open).
Stadler is also the only other player who has won an event on the Champions Tour and PGA TOUR in the same season, doing it in back-to-back weeks at the 2003 Ford Senior Players Championship and B.C. Open.
Funk won his second Champions Tour title at Turtle Bay last month. Things will be easier Sunday if the back pain subsides.
'Hopefully it's not going to be a big deal tomorrow. I don't want to dwell on it,' Funk said. 'It's just something we deal with out here.'
Boo Weekley, who shared the overnight lead with Funk and Beckman, had a 70 on Saturday and fell into a tie for fifth place with Skip Kendall at 9-under 201.
Kendall fired the round of the day at El Camaleon, a 7-under 63, to move up from a tie for 49th place overnight.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Mayakoba Golf Classic
  • Full Coverage - Mayakoba Golf Classic
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
    Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”