Els Extends Lead in Singapore

By Sports NetworkJanuary 25, 2003, 5:00 pm
SINGAPORE -- Ernie Els struggled down the stretch Saturday with a pair of bogeys but still managed to extend his lead after the third round of the Caltex Masters. The three-time major winner carded a 2-under 70 for a two-shot lead at 10-under-par 206 with one round to go at Laguna National Golf and Country Club.
Lian-Wei Zhang is alone in second place at 8-under-par 208, followed by Simon Yates and Prayad Marksaeng, who share third at minus-7.
Els owned a five-shot lead through 13 holes but stammered down the stretch. He scrambled to make pars at 14 and 15 but did not have the same fortune at the 17th and 18th.
Els badly pulled his tee shot at the par-3 17th and failed to save par. He left himself with a four-foot par opportunity at the last but the putt lipped out and Els left the course with only a two-shot lead after Zhang birdied No. 17.
'I started the day with a one-shot lead, now I have a two-shot lead,' said Els. 'It looked good for a while but some of the other guys played really well coming in so tomorrow is going to be a tough day.'
Els, who collected four birdies through his first 11 holes, is clearly the hottest player in golf. He blew away the field in a record-breaking performance two weeks ago at the Mercedes Championships and earned a hard- fought playoff victory over Aaron Baddeley last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Despite being a heavy favorite Sunday, the No. 2 player in the world knows he will have to play well to hold off his closest competitors and win for a third time in as many weeks.
'There are some guys really close to me so I've just got to try and play the way I have been and hope for the best,' said Els. 'You have just got to try and hit fairways and greens and try and make putts and that is what I will try and do tomorrow.
'With a two-shot lead I really have got to knuckle down and play, it is a different ball game now. If you have five shots in hand you can maybe take it a bit easier but this is not really anything of a lead.'
Zhang, a 37-year-old from China, played steady with six pars to open his round but picked up two birdies around the turn to get closer to Els. Zhang notched a pair of birdies around a bogey at 16 to get within striking distance of Els.
Zhang is no stranger to big pressure situations. He owns victories over Nick Price and Colin Montgomerie in the old Alfred Dunhill Cup but Sunday's final-round pairing with Els will represent his toughest challenge in stroke play.
'I am very pleased with where I am in the tournament,' said Zhang, who shot a third-round, 3-under 69. 'I played well today but I will have to do even better tomorrow. I played with Ernie Els some years ago when he played an event on the Asian Tour, but he is a better player now and he will be very difficult to beat. But I will try my best.'
Yates struggled to a front-nine 38 but three birdies and a bogey in his last four holes gave him an even-par 72 for the round.
'Ernie is hitting his drives a bit erratically but he got away with it today,' said Yates. 'He is only three shots ahead of me so there is still a chance.'
Marksaeng rebounded from a pair of three-putts early in his round by draining birdie putts from 14 feet at the 13th and 20 feet at the 17th. He posted a 3-under 69 Saturday but realizes his chances of visiting the winner's circle with Els in front are slim.
'In the final round I will just try and do the same, hit fairways and greens and try and make some putts,' said Marksaeng. 'But the main thing I must do is hit the fairways as the rough is very difficult here. I cannot really see me catching Els, but second place would be great.'
Simon Khan, Maarten Lafeber, Chih-Bing Lam, Per Nyman and Mark Pilkington share fifth place at 5-under par.
Related Links
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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 9:20 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

    Getty Images

    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)