Late Rally Propels Scott

By Sports NetworkNovember 4, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Adam Scott used a back-nine surge Saturday to move three clear of the field after three rounds of the TOUR Championship.
Scott birdied the 14th and eagled No. 15 en route to a 3-under 67 in round three. That moved him to 7-under-par 203, three clear of second-round leader Joe Durant and Vijay Singh. Scott is the only player with three rounds in the 60s this week.
Adam Scott
Adam Scott is seeking his first PGA TOUR win of the season.
All three of Scott's PGA TOUR wins came when he held at least a share of the 54-hole lead. His last PGA TOUR win, the 2005 Nissan Open, was unofficial because it was cut to 36 holes by rain. His last official win came at the 2004 Booz Allen Classic.
'It's a great position to be in,' Scott said of holding the lead. 'I'm going to need to play another really great round of golf tomorrow.
'I think you can see all the great players making a bit of a move today and creeping up the leaderboard, so I've got a lot of world class players right behind me. I'm sure one of them will get out there and make some birdies and try and chase. I've got to keep moving in the right direction.'
Durant struggled to a 1-over 36 on the back nine to fall to 4-under-par 206. He managed an even-par 70 in round three. Vijay Singh, the 2002 winner here, was 5 under on the back nine as he posted 5-under 65, the low round of the week. He shares second with Durant at minus-4.
A pair of former U.S. Open winners -- Retief Goosen (68) and Jim Furyk (67) -- share fourth place at minus-3 at East Lake Golf Club.
Scott and Durant battled throughout the round. Scott gained the upper hand early with a 2-foot birdie putt on the first. Durant tripped to a bogey on three, when he could not save par from a greenside bunker. That dropped him to minus-3, two behind Scott.
Durant made his charge late on the opening nine. As Scott was in the midst of running off 11 consecutive pars, Durant erased the two-shot deficit.
The 42-year-old Durant kicked in a 3-footer for birdie at the eighth and made it two straight as his 11-foot birdie putt on nine found the bottom of the cup.
Durant briefly took the lead by himself with a 4-foot birdie putt on the 12th. Both Scott and Durant bogeyed the par-4 13th.
Scott regained a share of the lead when he made a 4-footer for birdie on 14. At the par-5 15th, the Australian sank a 2-foot eagle putt to jump to minus-7. That eagle was just the second of the week for the entire field. Luke Donald posted the other eagle on the 15th on Friday.
'That was important for me,' said Scott of the turnaround on 14 and 15. 'It really changed the whole tournament from my end of things. Birdieing 14 was great, but making a three at 15 really pulled me back out in front, in a position I like to be in.'
Durant was only one back as he made birdie from 12 feet on No. 15. However, trouble loomed for the four-time winner on the PGA TOUR. Durant missed the green left on 16 and could not save par. Then he three-putted for bogey on 17 to fall three back.
'I didn't play particularly well today. My swing didn't feel very good,' Durant admitted. 'I was going over the top of a lot of my shots. You need to drive it well here, and I didn't drive it with any kind of conviction today, really. I was more or less just guiding it around.'
Scott two-putted for par on 16 and 17, then got up and down for par at the last to take a three-shot cushion into the final round.
Singh was even-par over the first nine holes with a birdie and a bogey. The Fijian converted a birdie putt on No. 10 to move to even-par for the tournament. Singh ran off four straight birdies from the 12th to jump to minus-4 and into a share of second.
'I played pretty decent,' stated Singh. 'I was just hanging around on the front nine and got it going on the back nine. I hit some really good shots and made some nice putts.'
Tom Pernice, Jr. carded a 3-under 67 Saturday. He was joined in sixth place at 2-under-par 208 by Trevor Immelman, who carded a 69.
Ernie Els used a 4-under 66 to move into a share of eighth at minus-1. He stands alongside Donald, who posted 69 in round three. Lucas Glover is alone in 10th at even-par 210 after shooting 66 in the third round.
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    Casey in line to make Ryder Cup after Travelers T-2

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:30 am

    Despite coughing up a four-shot lead at the Travelers Championship, England's Paul Casey moved into a qualifying position to make his return to the Ryder Cup this fall in Paris.

    Casey struggled Sunday at TPC River Highlands, shooting a 72 as Bubba Watson raced to victory with a 63. But a four-way share of second place was still good enough to lift Casey into fourth place among those not already qualified on the World Points list, with the top four Europeans from that list in August punching their tickets to Le Golf National.

    Casey has played in three Ryder Cups before, but none since 2008. After renouncing his European Tour membership a few years ago, he reinstated it for the 2018 season in order to be eligible to return to the biennial matches.

    Here's a look at the updated standings for Europe, with the top four players from each points list ultimately joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari


    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Paul Casey


    5. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    6. Ian Poulter

    On the American side of the ledger, Watson jumped two spots to fifth with his third win of the year and seemingly locked up his spot on the squad, while Bryson DeChambeau moved inside the top eight with a top-10 finish in Connecticut.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship earning automatic bids:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Bubba Watson

    6. Jordan Spieth

    7. Rickie Fowler

    8. Bryson DeChambeau


    9. Webb Simpson

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

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    Watson cracks top 15 in world with Travelers win

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:15 am

    After his third win in the last five months, Bubba Watson is back on the cusp of the upper echelon in the world rankings.

    Watson started the year ranked No. 89 in the world, but after a three-shot victory at the Travelers Championship the southpaw moved up seven spots to No. 13 in the latest rankings. It marks his best position since a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February 2017.

    Watson stayed one spot behind Paul Casey, who was one of four runners-up in Connecticut and rose one position to 12th as a result. Beau Hossler's T-2 finish helped him jump 24 spots to No. 64, while J.B. Holmes went from 93rd to 75th with the same result. Stewart Cink, who grabbed a share of second with a final-round 62, went from No. 149 to No. 95 and is back inside the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time since September 2011.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    Matt Wallace, who won the BMW International Open on the European Tour, went from 91st to 66th.

    There was only one change among the top 10 in the rankings, as an idle Jon Rahm moved past Jordan Spieth at No. 5 despite Spieth's T-42 finish at TPC River Highlands. At No. 6, Spieth is at his lowest point in the rankings since before last summer's victories at Travelers and The Open.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Rahm. Spieth slid to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Poised to return to competition this week at the Quicken Loans National, Tiger Woods fell three spots to No. 82 in the latest rankings.

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    After Further Review: Spieth needs a break

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 1:11 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Jordan Spieth's much-needed break ...

    Jordan Spieth is heading for a break, and that’s probably a good thing.

    Spieth just wrapped a run of six events in seven weeks that featured largely underwhelming results. A third-place finish at the Masters that stemmed from a nearly-historic final round deflects attention away from the fact that Spieth has yet to enter a final round this year less than six shots off the lead.

    A return to his home state didn’t work, nor did a fight against par at Shinnecock or a title defense outside Hartford where everything went so well a year ago. His putting woes appear to have bottomed out, as Spieth finished 21st in putting at Travelers, but now the alignment issue that plagued his putting appears to have bled into other parts of his game.

    So heading into another title defense next month at Carnoustie, Spieth plans to take some time off and re-evaluate. Given how fast things turned around last summer, that might prove to be just what he needs. - Will Gray

    On the difference between this week and last week ...

    There wasn’t a single outraged tweet, not a lone voice of descent on social media following Bubba Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, a 17-under par masterpiece that included a closing loop of 30.

    Nobody declared that golf was broken, no one proclaimed the royal and ancient game a victim of technology and the age of uber athletes. The only response was appreciation for what Watson, a bomber in the truest form, was able to accomplish.

    At 6,840 yards, TPC River Highlands was built for fun, not speed. Without wild weather or ill-advised hole locations and greens baked to extinction, this is what the best players in the game do, and yet no one seemed outraged. Weird. - Rex Hoggard

    On the emergence of another LPGA phenom ...

    Add another young star to the favorites list heading to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago next week.

    Nasa Hataoka, the 19-year-old Japanese standout who needed her rookie season last year to acclimate to the LPGA, broke through for her first LPGA title Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

    This wasn’t a surprise to LPGA followers. Hataoka won the Japan Women’s Open when she was 17, the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour, and she has been trending up this year.

    Her tie for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks ago was her fourth consecutive top-10 finish. She won going away in Arkansas, beating a deep field that included the top nine in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She outplayed world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson on Sunday. - Randall Mell

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    Bubba waiting for Furyk's text about Ryder Cup

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:39 am

    CROMWELL, Conn. – After winning his third PGA Tour title in the span of five months, Bubba Watson is now waiting by his phone.

    Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, his third at TPC River Highlands since 2010, accompanies recent victories at both the Genesis Open and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from earlier this year. It also moved the southpaw from No. 7 to No. 5 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically.

    After serving as an assistant captain at Hazeltine despite ranking No. 7 in the world at the time, Watson made it clear that he hopes to have removed any doubt about returning to the role of player when the biennial matches head to Paris this fall.

    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “It still says in my phone that (U.S. captain) Jim (Furyk) hasn’t texted me yet. So I’d really like for him to say I’m going to pick you no matter what,” Watson said. “The motivation is I’ve never won a Ryder Cup, so making the Ryder Cup team and trying to win a Ryder Cup as a player would be another tournament victory to me. It would be a major championship to me just because I’ve never done it, been a part of it.”

    Watson turns 40 in November, and while he reiterated that his playing career might not extend too far into the future as he looks to spend more time at home with son Caleb and daughter Dakota, he’s also hoping to make an Olympic return in Tokyo in 2020 after representing the U.S. in Rio two years ago.

    “Talking about the Olympics coming up, that’s motivating me,” he said. “It was the best experience of my life to watch all the other events, and then the golf tournament got in the way. I’d love to do it again. I’d love to watch all the events and then have to play golf as well.”