Anderson Tops Tight Leaderboard

By Sports NetworkApril 21, 2005, 4:00 pm
Canadian Tour-LargeMODESTO, Calif. -- Stuart Anderson of Edmonton fired a 6-under 66 Thursday to grab the early lead at the Canadian Tours Foster Farms California Classic.

The 27-year-old Anderson will try to build on a one-shot edge when he tees it up in the morning wave Friday. Iain Steel of Malaysia and Americans Mike Grob, Josh Habig and Pat McDonald, a former regular on the Champions Tour, are just one back.

Seven others--Alex Rocha, Michael Harris, Rob Johnson,Ryan Miller, Brien Davis, Eugene Smith and Brad Sutterfield--are at minus-4.

McDonald, playing on a sponsors exemption this week, will celebrate his 55th birthday Friday. The oldest player to win a Canadian Tour event is Ray Stewart, who was 45 when he won twice in 1999.

Anderson was even par after six holes before holing out from a greenside bunker on the par-5 7th to get two shots in the red. After turning at 2-under, Anderson reeled off three birdies in four holes to start his back nine. He had the flat stick working on the greens Thursday, a sharp contrast to last weeks event up the road in Stockton when he three-putted three of his final four holes on Friday to miss the cut by one.

That (finish last week) really left a bad taste in my mouth, said Anderson, who switched to a new putter earlier this week. The hole-out really seemed to get the ball rolling today. Ive been hitting it great for the past couple of weeks, it is just a matter of getting more confidence on the green. I felt it was time for a change, so Ive got the new putter. So far, so good.

In 2002, Anderson, one of the longest hitters on Tour, dropped a playoff heartbreaker to fellow Canadian Matt Daniel at the Telus Edmonton Open, with the runner-up finish his best showing on the Canadian Tour. He placed seventh last month at the Barton Creek Austin Canadian Tour Challenge in Texas and feels if he can keep it straight off the tee at Del Rio, he could be in the thick of things come Sunday afternoon.

On the flip side, players who have a tough time hitting the fairway could be on the outside looking in come the weekend.

This is really a ball-striking course, Anderson added. The greens are just fantastic, but you better hit quality shots off the tee and into the green or you are going to get yourself in trouble.

This is great for me to build momentum. To be in this position after day one is where we all want to be.

Beginning his round on the back nine, Habig jarred a 12-footer for birdie on his opening hole of the day and followed that up with a par-saving 50-footer on number 11. The 28-year-old made the turn at 3-under and stayed away from trouble most of the day, thanks in part to birdies on all four par-5 holes at Del Rio.

Finally, I had something going out there, said Habig, a former Academic All-American at Northwestern University. I felt comfortable today and got into a bit of a groove. Anytime you can get a good start you have to be happy. There isnt a player here that would be disappointed with a 67 to start. You just want to be around to give yourself a chance Sunday afternoon.

Now into his third season on the Canadian Tour, Habig is coming off a less than memorable 2004 campaign in which he made seven of 13 cuts and finished 65th on the money list. . In his 2003 rookie season, Habig had five top-20 showings.

I still havent been able to put a full tournament together, added Habig. In my rookie season, I had a few chances to win but just couldnt finish it. Last year, I took a couple of steps backwards. It felt like I was in the dark out there. I just couldnt get any rhythm going. It took a toll on my confidence.

Steel was cruising right along until hitting a wall on the par-4 ninth, his final hole of the day. Hitting a 7-iron into the green, Steels attempt instead found a sand bunker. It took the 33-year-old two attempts to dig himself out and by the time the dust had settled, he had double-bogeyed the hole to fall to 5-under.

It was a good day'at least for 17 holes, said Steel. I fell asleep on the final hole and it cost me. That hole was a nightmare. It made lunch a little bitter.

Steel won the Nationwide Tours Boise Open back in 1997 and still holds status on that circuit. In 2002, he won a thrilling playoff at the Greater Vancouver Classic but hasnt been able to find the winners circle since. Steel says the Del Rio layout suits his iron game and is hoping to build on his start in Modesto.

The greens are perfect here. There are a lot of birdies to be had. I left a few out there, just as you do every round, but a good start is key to get my confidence going. Vancouver was my last win, so I just want to put four good rounds together and see where I am.

Coming off a win at last weeks Northern California Classic, Californian Jim Seki struggled to an opening-round 82.
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    McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 23, 2018, 12:29 am

    ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.

    Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.

    “I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”

    Projected FedExCup standings

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.

    The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.

    McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.

    “I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”

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    Glover trails Straka at Tour Championship

    By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 12:19 am

    ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.

    With the top 25 earners in the four-event Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

    ''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''

    Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.

    ''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''

    Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

    Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.

    ''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''

    Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.

    McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.

    The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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    Woods, McIlroy in Sunday super group in finale

    By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 12:12 am

    ATLANTA – Rory McIlroy has made known his disdain for “super groups” in early tournament rounds.

    Well, he’s now got one on Sunday at the Tour Championship. And it doesn’t get more super than this.

    McIlroy will play alongside Tiger Woods in the final pairing, in the final round at East Lake Golf Club. Woods leads McIlroy – and Justin Rose – by three shots.

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    “All I can do is worry about myself,” McIlroy said. “It doesn't matter who it is I'm playing with. It's obviously exciting for the golf tournament. It's exciting for golf, in general, that he's up there. But for me, all I can do is concentrate on myself. The game is hard enough without having to – without looking at other people. Go out there, take care of my business, and hopefully that's good enough.”

    This is the fifth time that McIlroy and Woods have been grouped this year. They were alongside one another in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open and the first two rounds of the PGA Championship.

    In the four previous rounds, McIlroy finished better twice, Woods once, and they tied once.

    “It's going to be fun. We haven't done that much of late, because I've not been there,” Woods said of going head-to-head with McIlroy for a title. “He has been there, and he's won a bunch of tournaments. So it's nice for us to go back out and play against one another, be in the mix.”

    We know Woods will be wearing his traditional red in the final round. As for McIlroy?

    "I think I'll wear red," McIlroy joked. "No, geez, I've regretted wearing black out here today. It was hot."

    They go out at 2:05 p.m. ET.

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    Stricker, Jobe share lead in Sioux Falls

    By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 11:57 pm

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe topped the Sanford International leaderboard again Saturday after another cool and breezy day in the inaugural PGA Tour Champions event.

    After matching Jerry Smith and David McKenzie with first-round 7-under 63s, Striker and Jobe each shot 67 to get to 10-under 130 at Minnehaha Country Club.

    ''It was a challenge out there today,'' Stricker said. ''It was gusty, the wind came out of the south, where we played yesterday it was out of the north, so it was a totally different golf course.''

    Jobe made an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th, and Stricker missed a 6-footer to leave them tied.

    Full-field scores from the Sanford International

    ''It's pretty straightforward off the tee and the greens are what make it difficult at times and you've just got to be in the right spot to have good birdie putts at it,'' Stricker said. ''If not, then you've got to play pretty defensive at times. ... It's a simple game plan, but try to stay out of trouble and keep trying to put pressure on everybody.''

    Stricker won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. Next week in France, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants.

    Jobe birdied four of the last five holes. He won last year in Iowa for his lone senior title

    ''I think we kind of got used to what the wind was,'' Jobe said. ''Of course, there's some scoring holes on the back. The front played very difficult. It was just kind of try not to screw up for a while there.''

    Smith was a stroke back after a 68.

    Scott McCarron also had a 68 to get to 8 under. Woody Austin was 7 under after a 64.

    McKenzie had a 77 to drop into a tie for 43rd at even par.