Nirat Still in Command in China

By Sports NetworkMarch 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
European TourHAINAN ISLAND, China -- One day after establishing a new course record of 61 at Yalong Bay Golf Club, Thailand's Chapchai Nirat tied the 36-hole record on Friday at the TCL Classic and owns a commanding lead.
Nirat posted a second-round, 6-under 66 to complete two rounds at 17-under-par 127, and has a six-shot advantage after matching David Howell's 36-hole record from last year.
'I just want to make as few mistakes as possible,' said Nirat, who tied for eighth place at this year's Indonesia Open. 'I'm quite happy with my golf right now. The previous two weeks was not so good, but I feel comfortable this week.'
Rafael Echenique (69), Adam Blyth (66), Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (66), Simon Nash (66) and David Bransdon (66) are knotted in second place at 11-under-par 133.
Nirat started with two birdies in his first three holes, then dropped his first shot of the tournament at the par-4 fourth, a hole he birdied on Thursday.
That would be Nirat's last miscue of the round. He birdied the par-four seventh for the second time in as many days, then parred his last two holes of the front nine to go out in 2-under-par 34.
Nirat parred his first three holes of the back nine, but was still in the lead at 13-under par. He rattled off back-to-back birdies from the 13th, then eagled the par-5 16th to get to minus-17.
Nirat parred his final two holes to put his name next to Howell's in the TCL Classic record book.
'The only thing on my mind was to keep hitting fairways and keep making putts,' said Nirat, who equaled the low 36-hole mark in Asian Tour history, a circuit that co-sanctioned this event with the European Tour. 'I just wanted to ensure I didn't make any mistakes. Today my irons were good, my putting was good. Everything was very good.'
Another thing that should be on Nirat's mind is what happened last year to Howell. The Englishman only went 3 under par the rest of the tournament and lost by five strokes to Johan Edfors.
'I still feel a bit of pressure because I know that on a course like this it's possible for someone to catch me, so tomorrow I still have to score low,' said Nirat.
Unfortunately for Nirat, his closest pursuers are also aware of recent history.
'He's obviously playing tremendous golf, but I played here last year when David Howell was 17 under after two rounds and he didn't win,' said Carl Suneson, who is tied for seventh place at minus-10. 'This game has a habit of bringing you back to your knees pretty quickly.'
Wen-teh Lu (69), Taichi Teshima (65), Brad Kennedy (67) and Carlos Rodiles (66) joined Suneson, who posted a 4-under 68 on Friday, seven shots behind Nirat.
The 36-hole cut fell at a staggering 5-under-par 139 and among the notable players to miss the cut were Joakim Haeggman (140), Ignacio Garrido (142) and former Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam (143).
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    Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

    By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

    We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

    But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

    One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

    It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

    And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

    Hey, whatever works.

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    Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

    By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

    Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

    The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

    “I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

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    Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

    “I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”

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    Curry jokes about Romo's 77: 'Got him by a stroke'

    By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 8:40 pm

    This just in ... professional athletes are competitive. Even when they're playing their secondary sport.

    Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption Thursday, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo started hot with an even-par 36 on his opening nine holes, but faded down the stretch to open with a 5-over 77.

    According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry couldn't help but crack a smile when informed of the score, saying, "I got him by a stroke."

    Curry was referencing his brief foray into pro golf last August, when he shot back-to-back 4-over 74s at the's Ellie Mae Classic.

    So just in case Romo needed another reason to go low tomorrow when he tees off at 1 p.m. in the second round, he's got one.

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    Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 7:20 pm

    Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

    Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
    (1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-1-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
    (32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 2-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
    (38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
    (48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 1-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
    (52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
    (60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-1-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
    Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
    (5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 1-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
    (30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
    (18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
    (46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-1-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
    (53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
    Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
    (9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 2-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-2-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
    (26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 1-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
    (33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-1-0 (35) B. Watson: 2-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
    (58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-1-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
    Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
    (13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 1-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1
    (29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-1-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0
    (39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-2-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0
    (61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 2-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1