Kite Poised for Another Big Win at Pebble

By Sports NetworkSeptember 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 WalMart First Tee OpenPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Tom Kite fired a 7-under 65 on Saturday to move atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. He stands at 10-under-par 134 and is one ahead after 36 holes.
This event pairs Champions Tour players with junior golfers from The First Tee program, as well as other amateurs. Due to this, the event is using two golf courses -- Pebble Beach Golf Links and Del Monte Golf Course -- for the first two rounds. Pebble Beach will be the site of the final round.
Jay Haas posted a 3-under 69 and is tied for second place with overnight leader D.A. Weibring, who only managed a 1-under 71 on Saturday. The pair is knotted at nine-under-par 135.
Kite played the Del Monte Golf Course on Saturday and began his second round on the back nine. He wasted little time in breaking into red figures as he knocked a sandwedge to 6 feet to set up birdie at the 10th.
He parred his next two, then two-putted from 30 feet for a birdie at the par-5 13th. He tapped in a short birdie putt at the 15th, but dropped a shot at the 16th when he could not save par from a bunker.
Kite more than atoned for the error at 16. He two-putted from 20 feet for another birdie at the 17th, then closed his front nine with an 18-foot birdie putt at 18.
On his second nine, Kite used a solid wedge game to move up the leaderboard. At the second, Kite hit a pitching wedge to 6 feet and made the birdie putt. Another 6-footer for birdie found the bottom of the cup at five, then Kite holed an 8-foot birdie putt at the seventh to move to the top of the leaderboard.
'It was a pretty solid round,' said Kite, a two-time winner this season on the Champions Tour. 'I played well from tee to green. It was very similar to the last few weeks.'
Kite, who is fifth on the money list on the elder circuit, should be at ease come Sunday afternoon. Kite won his only major at Pebble Beach, the 1992 U.S. Open.
'I'm looking forward to coming back over where I've had good memories,' said Kite. 'I'm enjoying playing any course right now. I've got a lot of confidence.'
Haas, who was the runner-up to Craig Stadler here two years ago, also played Del Monte on Saturday. He flew out of the gate with a two-putt birdie at the first, then rattled off three straight birdies from the fourth, with two coming from inside 2 feet.
Haas parred his next four holes, then bogeyed No. 11. He recorded seven consecutive pars the rest of the way for his share of second place.
'I was 4-under after six and didn't convert. I had my chances,' said Haas. 'I haven't had too many opportunities there at Pebble Beach. All in all, I'm one back.'
Weibring had a much more up-and-down round. He started on the back nine at Pebble Beach and bogeyed two of his first five holes. Weibring closed his opening nine with a birdie at the famous 18th.
On his second nine, Weibring recorded five birdies, including a tap-in at his last, two pars, a bogey and a double-bogey.
Dan Pohl (67), Mike McCullough (68), Scott Simpson (69), Tom Purtzer (70) and, last week's winner at The Tradition, Eduardo Romero (67) are tied for fourth place at minus-8.
Wayne Levi fired a 4-under 68 on Saturday and is tied for ninth place with David Edwards, who carded a 2-under 70 in the second round. The pair is knotted at 7-under-par 137.
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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

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    Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

    Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

    Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

    Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

    “I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

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    Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

    Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

    “We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

    Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

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    Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

    By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

    This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

    Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

    “My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

    Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

    “Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”