Mason Leads Irwin at 3M Championship

By Sports NetworkAugust 9, 2002, 4:00 pm
BLAINE, Minn. -- James Mason fired an 8-under-par 64 to take the lead after the opening round of the 3M Championship Friday. Mason finished two shots ahead of Hale Irwin, a two-time winner of this event.
Hubert Green, who ousted Hale Irwin on the seventh extra hole to win the Long Island Classic last Sunday, was three strokes off the lead after a round of 5-under-par 67.
Mason, who earned his first career victory on the Senior Tour as a Monday qualifier at the NFL Golf Classic in June, picked up four birdies and one bogey on the outward nine at the TPC of Twin Cities. He made the turn at 3-under before torching the back half to take the outright lead.
'After the first couple of holes I was okay,' said Mason, who established a new course record. 'Today there was a fantastic gallery out there. This round reminds me of my first round at the NFL Golf Classic.'
At the par-4 10th, Mason hit his second shot to 15 feet for birdie. He hit a 5-iron to 12 feet for birdie at the 13th and nearly added another birdie at the 14th after he failed to convert from four feet.
Mason picked up where he left off on the following hole. He drained a 12-footer for birdie and knocked his approach to eight feet for birdie at the 16th. Mason made it three in a row with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 17th for his best career round on the Senior Tour.
'It was certainly a great thrill to play with two legends,' said Mason, who was paired with Arnold Palmer and Miller Barber Friday. 'I knew I'd play with Arnold Wednesday morning. He's always been a hero of mine.
'Hopefully, I won't be as nervous tomorrow as I was in the second round at the NFL Golf Classic,' said Mason, who carded a 73 in the second round en route to his first career win at Upper Montclair Country Club.
Irwin played a bogey-free round to finish alone in second. The all-time winner on the Senior Tour collected three birdies on the front side and added another three on the inward nine for a round of 66.
'Good start,' said Irwin, who has two playoff losses in his last three starts. 'Last week was last week. I tried to take some positives from last week.'
Leonard Thompson, who won this event in a playoff over Isao Aoki in 1998, finished as part of a large group at 4-under-par 68. Thompson was joined by Fuzzy Zoeller, Sammy Rachels, Allen Doyle and Rocky Thompson in a tie for fourth.
Defending champion Bruce Lietzke was one shot further back at 3-under-par 69 alongside Wayne Levi, Jerry McGee, Larry Nelson and Hugh Baiocchi.
Full-field scores from the 3M Championship
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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.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

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: