Sergio Tough Act to Follow at Quail Hollow

By Sports NetworkMay 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sergio Garcia survived a windy Friday to shoot a 1-under 71 and maintain his lead after the second round of the Wachovia Championship. He stands at 7-under-par 137 and leads by two at Quail Hollow Club.
Vijay Singh (69), defending champion Joey Sindelar (71) and D.J. Trahan (67) share second place at minus-5.
Tiger Woods, playing for the first time since capturing his fourth green jacket three weeks ago, managed an even-par 72. He is tied for 13th place at 2-under-par 142.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is five off the pace after an ever-par 72 on Friday.
Woods collected three birdies in his first four holes, including a near ace at the par-3 third. He struggled on the later part of his front nine with two bogeys and a three-putt par at the par-5 seventh.
The No. 1 player in the world birdied 10 and 11, but dropped a shot at the 12th. Woods' approach at 14 spun back into water and it was another bogey. He bogeyed the 16th to polish off his even-par 72.
'It was a frustrating finish; as well as I drove it all day today, I didn't take advantage of it,' said Woods. 'Hopefully tomorrow I can get off to the same start and just keep it going.'
Heavy wind blustered from every direction on Friday making play extremely difficult.
Garcia struggled out of the gate on Friday. At the second hole, Garcia hit an 8-iron too far left of the flag and the ball bounced in the bunker. He played a poor shot out of the sand to 12 feet and missed the par putt.
The Spaniard parred his next four holes before driving into the right rough on the par-5 seventh. Garcia's 3-iron second shot sailed left into a greenside bunker, but this time he blasted out to 5 feet and rolled in the birdie putt.
Garcia gave himself a good look at birdie from 6 feet at the eighth but missed. At the difficult par-4 ninth, Garcia split the fairway with his drive, but still had 243 yards to the hole. His 3-wood went right of the green, then Garcia hit his chip too hard and went through the green. Garcia had a makeable chip, but just missed left and tapped in for bogey.
On the second nine, Garcia played a solid drive down the 12th fairway. He hit a punch 7-iron into a hill on the green and the ball took the slope toward the hole and stopped 6 feet from the cup. Garcia rolled in the birdie putt to reach 6-under par for the tournament.
Garcia nearly went into the water on 14, but saved par. He found a front bunker with his second at the par-5 15th and blasted out to 12 feet. Garcia converted that birdie putt for his two-stroke lead.
'The course was playing a bit tougher today and it was a lot windier. Some of those fairways are almost impossible to hit,' said Garcia. 'It felt good to go out there and only make two bogeys as tough as it was playing and make a couple birdies here and there. I missed a couple good chances at birdies, but my putter behaved a little bit better, that's for sure, and I made some key par putts to keep my round going a little bit.'
Garcia, ranked ninth in the world, has three top-10s this season on the PGA Tour, but has yet to seriously threaten the top of the leaderboard. He feels his biggest weakness, his short game, is coming around and could put him in position to claim victory, but the winless start is not bothering him.
'I really think that my short game is becoming much, much better every week. So I think I'm on the right track,' said Garcia, who has his first second-round lead on the PGA Tour since 2001. 'I would love to win this week, but if I don't, it's not going to be a problem. At least I'm giving myself chances.'
Singh started quickly with a birdie at the first, then added another at the fifth. He collected his third birdie at the 10th, and sank a 5-footer for birdie at 12.
Singh, No. 2 in the world, missed the green badly at the 13th and made bogey. He traded a birdie and a bogey at 15 and 16, but still posted one of only 12 rounds under 70 on Friday.
'At times you think it's calm and you're going to be making contact with the ball and the wind comes up,' said Singh. 'The ball can go anywhere. There's no one consistent type of wind. It's blowing steady and then all of a sudden there will be nothing there. If you take the right club, you don't know if it's the right one or not.'
Sindelar mixed four birdies and three bogeys in his round on Friday, while Trahan birdied five of his last eight holes in the second round to shoot his 67, which tied for lowest round of the day.
Scott Verplank and Brett Quigley each posted rounds of 3-under 69 and are tied for fifth with Richard Johnson, who shot a 72 on Friday. They are knotted at 4-under-par 140.
Chris DiMarco, who lost in a playoff to Woods at the Masters, also fired a 67 in round two and shares eighth place with Jeff Sluman (70), Jim Furyk (72), Per-Ulrik Johansson (71) and Greg Owen (67). The group is tied at minus-3.
The 36-hole cut fell at 4-over-par 148 and among the notable players who missed the cut were: Mike Weir (149), Davis Love III (150), David Toms (153) and Zach Johnson (160).
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    Garcia bounced in Austin: 'On to Augusta'

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 6:55 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – For the 16th time in his career, Sergio Garcia’s week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ended earlier then he would have hoped, but this time he has plenty of distractions to ease the sting.

    Garcia lost his Saturday morning match to Kyle Stanley, 3 and 1, marking the 15th time in his Match Play career he’s failed to advance to Sunday, but at least he has plenty to keep him busy with a newborn at home and his return to the Masters looming in two weeks.

    “On to Augusta,” said Garcia, who is not playing next week’s Houston Open. “It's exciting. Obviously when we get there, it's going to be interesting to see how we feel and everything. But it is definitely exciting.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Garcia defeated Justin Rose in a playoff to win last year’s Masters, his first major triumph, so his return to Augusta National will be unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

    His duties as defending champion will include hosting Tuesday’s Champions Dinner. No word on Garcia’s menu for the event, but various sources have confirmed it will be something “Spanish.”

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    Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Sweet 16

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

    Here is how things played out in the Round of 16 on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The week began with 64 players taking on Austin Country Club,but the field is dwindling. Click here for Day 3 match results:

    Match 97: Bubba Watson (35) def. Brian Harman (18), 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month. Watson will advance to play Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the quarterfinals.

    Match 98: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Charles Howell III (59), 1 up. Aphibarnrat won in a late comeback, winning the final two holes. He holed a 9-foot putt for birdie at the 17th to square the match and won with an 8-foot birdie at the last. He had not led all day, not until that last birdie putt dropped. The 28-year-old Thai improved to 4-0 on this world stage after sweeping his group in the round-robin play. A four-time European Tour winner, Aphibarnrat is looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He will meet Bubba Watson in the quarterfinals.

    Match 99: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Sergio Garcia (7), 3 and 1. Stanley birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes to go 3 up, and then he held off Garcia’s run at him, eliminating the world No. 10 with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes. With the victory, Stanley has a chance at a nice Texas two-step, a chance to eliminate the two highest ranked players left in the field, the only players left among the top 10 in the world ranking. But, there’s hard work to do in the quarterfinals, where Stanley will meet world No. 2 Justin Thomas.

    Match 100: Justin Thomas (2) def. Si Woo Kim (50), 6 and 5. Thomas remains on fire in this format, steamrolling Kim a day after completing a round-robin sweep of his group by blowing away Francesco Molinari, 7 and 5. The Kim match felt like it was over shortly after it started, with Thomas making the turn 5 up. Thomas will advance to play Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals.

    Match 101: Cameron Smith (46) def. Tyrell Hatton (12), 2 and 1. Smith found himself behind early, falling 2 down after Hatton opened with back-to-back birdies, but Smith quickly rallied to win one of the best matches of the day. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 1 up. Hatton lost despite making seven birdies on the round. He lost despite making birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to the red-hot Smith, who made eight birdies. Smith will meet Alex Noren in the quarterfinals.

    Match 102: Alex Noren (13) def. Patrick Reed (19), 5 and 3. In this Fire vs. Ice match, Ice won, with Noren making easy work of Reed. Really, though, Reed never got a flame going, and Noren wasn’t going to help him the way Jordan Spieth did a day before. Reed was 2-over on his card before finally making his first and only birdie of the day at the 13th. Somewhere, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn must have been smiling, watching Noren easily take down the formidable American match-play dynamo. Noren will meet Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

    Match 103: Ian Poulter (58) def. Louis Oosthuizen (25), 2 and 1. Poulter’s match-play mojo is going strong again, with the Englishman summoning the intensity that has made him so formidable in the Ryder Cup over the years. He was on fire Saturday, making eight birdies over the first 15 holes, if you count the concession he received hitting a wedge to 18 inches at the 13th hole. Poulter put a special putter in the bag this week, using the same flat stick that helped him lead the Euros to their historic comeback victory against the Americans at Medinah in 2012. Though Oosthuizen made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, he still couldn’t make it close. Poulter will meet Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals.

    Match 104: Kevin Kisner (32) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 1 up. Kuchar applied all kinds of pressure on Kisner on the back nine, but he couldn’t get Kisner to fold in the best match of the day. Kuchar was 2 down with four to go but managed to pull all square going to the last. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win. Kisner will meet Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.

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    JT advances to quarters, closing in on No. 1 ranking

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Justin Thomas continued his impressive run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and finds himself another step closer to overtaking Dustin Johnson in the World Golf Ranking.

    Thomas rolled past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the first knockout stage and will face Kyle Stanley in the Elite Eight. He must advance to Sunday’s championship match to overtake Johnson as the new world No. 1.

    “It wasn't anything crazy or special. Just played solid golf tee to green. And it was forcing him to make a lot of putts,” said Thomas, who has played 61 holes this week, won 24, lost six and hasn’t trailed in four matches.

    Stanley, who needed a playoff victory over Paul Casey on Friday to advance to the weekend, defeated Sergio Garcia, 3 and 1.

    Bubba Watson also continued his solid play, rallying from an early deficit to beat Brian Harman, 2 and 1. He will play Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who defeated Charles Howell III, closing with back-to-back birdies for a 1-up victory.

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    But as impressive as Thomas has been, Sweden’s Alex Noren has quietly continued to impress, going undefeated in pool play and closing out Patrick Reed on the 15th hole for a 5-and-3 victory.

    “He's such a tough competitor,” said Noren, who will face Australian Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals. “I managed to hole a few birdie putts. When we both had good chances, he just missed and I managed to make those.”

    Former Match Play champion Ian Poulter also advanced with a 2-and-1 victory over Louis Oosthuizen. He will play Kevin Kisner, who converted a 10-foot putt at the 18th hole to defeat Matt Kuchar, 1 up.

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    Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

    By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

    Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

    She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

    Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

    After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

    “The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

    Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

    It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

    “I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

    Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    “The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

    Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

    It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

    “I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”