Leonard Extends FedEx Lead to Eight

By Sports NetworkMay 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Justin Leonard kept on rolling with a 4-under 66 on Saturday, stretching his lead to eight strokes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Leonard, who is seeking his 10th career victory on the PGA Tour, finished at 17-under-par 193.
Heath Slocum used a 67 to move into second place at 9-under-par 201 while Tom Pernice, Jr. took third place at 8-under-par 202. Davis Love III, Fred Funk and Paul Goydos share fourth place at 7-under-par 203.
Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard rolls in a birdie putt that would eventually extend his lead to eight strokes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Leonard was on fire during the first two rounds at the TPC at Southwind and the former British Open champion carried an imposing five-shot lead into the weekend. He picked up where he left off on Saturday with a birdie at the par-5 third and hit his tee shot within 16 feet of the hole for a birdie at the par-3 eighth.
The 32-year-old played his second shot to the back fringe at the par-4 ninth and two-putted for a par. Leonard then dropped his approach inside 12 feet at the par-4 10th, but was unable to convert the birdie try.
At the par-3 11th, Leonard landed his tee shot to the right of the hole and watched as his ball rolled within inches of the cup. He tapped in for a birdie and continued to run off pars on the back nine.
'The wind is so light here that it kind of changes a little bit here and there,' Leonard said of his shot on the 11th. 'When I hit it, the wind was into me a little bit.'
Leonard rolled in a 12-foot putt for a birdie at the par-5 16th and parred his two remaining holes to secure the largest 54-hole lead of the 2005 season on the PGA Tour.
'It is nice to have the lead, certainly a lead this big,' said Leonard, who hoisted the claret jug in 1997. 'I certainly am playing in a nice rhythm right now and playing with confidence.'
Slocum birdied each of his first two holes, but he gave a shot back with a bogey at the fourth. He countered with back-to-back birdies from the sixth to reach 9 under, but found trouble again with a bogey at the eighth.
The 31-year-old got back to minus-9 with a birdie at the 11th, but again he followed up with a bogey at the 12th. Slocum then sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the 16th finish alone in second place.
'It is hard to expect anything less than him playing a good solid round,' Slocum said of the prospects of catching Leonard on Sunday. 'All I can do tomorrow is go out and play the golf course the only way I can play it. I am not going to change strategy or anything. Hopefully I will hit it well enough tomorrow to give myself some chances.'
Pernice had two birdies and a bogey over his first nine holes. A birdie at the 11th lifted him to 8 under and he ran home a long birdie putt at the par-3 14th to move to minus-9. Pernice stumbled down the stretch with a bogey at the 17th, however, and parred the last for a round of 68.
Defending champion David Toms, who had a seven-shot lead heading into the final round of this event last year, fired a 65 to move into a tie for seventh place. He was joined by Fredrik Jacobson, Bob Estes, Richard S. Johnson and Phillip Price at 6-under-par 204.
Billy Andrade, Roland Thatcher and Mathias Gronberg finished knotted at 5- under-par 205.
Related Links:
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    Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

    The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

    Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

    According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

    "My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

    Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

    Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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    Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

    Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

    Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

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    Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

    It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

    While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

    One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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    Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

    By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

    Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

    But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

    Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

    A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

    After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

    He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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    Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

    Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

    A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

    Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

    Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: