Weather Still Troubles BellSouth

By Sports NetworkApril 2, 2005, 5:00 pm
DULUTH, Ga. -- Billy Mayfair was 4 under par through 13 holes of his first round Saturday before play at the BellSouth Classic was suspended for the night due to darkness.
J.L. Lewis, Scott McCarron and Ted Purdy share the clubhouse lead at 3-under-par 69. Brett Quigley also stands at minus-3 through 16 holes, while Ryuji Imada is 3 under through 11 holes.
Rich Beem
Rich Beem put socks under his hat to try and stay warm Saturday.
`After all of play was washed out Thursday and Friday, Saturday's action was delayed for one hour, 39 minutes due to a mixture of snow, sleet and rain. Players also battled windy conditions with wind chills in the 30s.
Tournament officials have officially reduced the tournament to 54 holes with the final round slated for Monday. The first round will resume Sunday at 8:00 a.m. ET, with the second round starting no earlier than 9:00 a.m.
That will make it two straight Monday finishes on the PGA Tour, as last week's Players Championship at Sawgrass was pushed back due to inclement weather.
It marks the second event to be shortened this season, joining the Nissan Open, which was cut to 36 holes.
Mayfair got off to a good start as he rolled in a birdie putt at the first at the TPC at Sugarloaf. The 38-year-old joined the leader at minus-3 thanks to birdies at the fourth and sixth, both par-5s.
Mayfair, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, reeled off six straight pars around the turn before draining a birdie try at the par-4 13th before play ended for the night.
'The hardest part when it's cold and you have delays, it makes it hard to stay warm,' said Mayfair. 'I made four birdies and they all were between 10 and 20 feet. I made some nice putts.'
McCarron got off to a rough start with a bogey at the first after pulling his drive left off the tee. He got back to even par for his round when he sank a 9-foot birdie try at the third.
The two-time winner of this event moved into red figures with a birdie at the fifth. McCarron got to 2 under at the eighth after he dropped his tee shot 2 feet from the hole. His lone back-nine birdie came at the par-4 17th, where he sank a 6-foot putt.
'I think that old saying, 'one shot at a time,' is all I was doing, because all you're thinking about is staying warm,' McCarron said. 'I hit a shot, put on some more clothes, put a ski cap on, gloves on, walk down the fairway, take it all off and hit that shot. So it really keeps you Point A to Point B and hit that shot from Point A to Point B. I play my best when I'm doing that.'
Lewis began on the back nine and birdied the 11th before tripping to a bogey at the next. He converted back-to-back birdie tries from the 14th. The two-time winner bogeyed the third, but came right back with a birdie at four. He closed with a birdie at the ninth to end at minus-3.
Purdy also played the back side first and opened with a birdie on the 10th. He later wrapped bogeys at the 16th and 18th around a birdie at 17. The 31-year-old dropped in consecutive birdies from the fourth. Like Lewis, Purdy birdied the par-4 ninth, his last.
Quigley posted one birdie and one bogey on the front nine. He turned it on around the turn. He birdied the 10th, then sank back-to-back birdie tries from the 13th to get to 3 under. He parred his next two holes before play was halted.
Imada started on the 10th tee and birdied two of his first three holes. After seven pars in a row, he birdied No. 2, his 11th, before play ended for the day.
Bo Van Pelt shares seventh place with 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem at 2-under 70. Also at minus-2 are two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, John Huston, Tag Ridings and Hideto Tanihara, who all have several holes to play in their opening round.
Zach Johnson, the defending champion, opened with a 3-over-par 75.
Nine players withdrew prior to the event starting, while Paul Gow (85), Brett Wetterich (81) and D.J. Trahan (80) withdrew after their rounds.
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    Kerr blows big lead, heads into Kia Sunday one back

    By Associated PressMarch 25, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr blew a five-stroke lead Saturday in the Kia Classic to set up a final-round showdown at Aviara Golf Club.

    A day after shooting an 8-under 64 to open the big lead, Kerr had a 75 to drop a stroke behind playing partner Lizette Salas, Eun-Hee Ji and In-Kyung Kim. Kerr was tied with Caroline Hedwall, Wei-Ling Hsu and Cindy LaCrosse, and four players were another shot back.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had a double bogey on the par-4 15th after snap-hooking a drive into the trees. The 2015 winner at Aviara, she also had two bogeys and two birdies.

    Ji had a 67 to match Salas (69) and Kim (69) at 11-under 205. Salas had a chance to pull away, but missed birdie putts of 1 1/2 feet on the short par-4 16th and 2 1/2 feet on the par-5 17th.

    Anna Nordqvist had a 66 to top the group at 9 under.

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    Match Play Final Four set to bring the excitement

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:55 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Sunday’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play will include a pair of Georgia Bulldogs, a two-and-done phenom from Alabama and a Swede from Stockholm via Stillwater, that would be Oklahoma.

    Just like that other tournament, right?

    Actually, for all the volatility in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it’s not even in the same league as this year’s Match Play, where just a single player who began the week seeded inside the top 10 is still playing.

    But what the event may lack in star power it’s certainly made up for with stellar performances, starting with Justin Thomas who is the PGA Tour’s most avid Alabama fan and the tournament’s second-seeded player.

    After not losing a match in three days of pool play, Thomas again cruised through his morning Round-of-16 bout with Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5; but found himself in an unfamiliar position early in his quarterfinal match against Kyle Stanley.

    Having not trailed during any point in his matches this week, Thomas bogeyed the second hole to fall behind.

    “I was hoping to never trail this whole week. I thought that was unbelievable that [2017 champion Dustin Johnson] did it last year,” Thomas said. “I'm going out there this afternoon, and I was like, ‘Man, I have got a chance of doing this, too.’ Then I missed a 3-footer on 2 and shot that out the window.”

    The world’s second-ranked player was nearly perfect the rest of the way, regaining the lead with three birdies in four holes starting at No. 5 and closing Stanley out with a bogey-free finish.

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

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

    It’s all part of an impressive turnaround for Thomas, who had been slowed in recent weeks by dental surgery followed by a bout with the flu, which nearly prompted him to miss the Match Play.

    “I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” said Thomas, who can unseat Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking if he advances to the championship match. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

    His improved health has dovetailed with his increasingly better play at Austin Country Club and he’s now two matches away from winning his first World Golf Championship.

    Like the NCAA tournament, however, being one of the last four standing only means more work, and Thomas will have plenty to keep him busy when he sets out early Sunday in a semifinal match against Bubba Watson.

    Although Watson hasn’t been as dominant as Thomas, his ability to overpower any course, any time, has been evident this week following victories over Brian Harman, 2 and 1, and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 5 and 3, on his way to the Final Four.

    “When you're hitting an 8-iron and another guy is hitting a 7- or another guy is hitting a 6-iron, obviously that's going to change everything,” said Watson, who played his college golf at Georgia. “It's like LeBron James, when he jumps, he jumps higher than I do, so it's an advantage. When you're hitting the driver good and those guys you're naming, they're known for hitting the driver pretty well, just like Thomas is doing right now, he's been hammering it. Anytime that you're hitting the driver somewhat straight, it's an advantage.”

    But if Bubba is a familiar foe for Thomas, he may want to do a quick Google search to fill in the blanks on one of his potential final opponents.

    While Alex Noren is still a relatively unknown player to many American fans (and that’s certain to change in September at the Ryder Cup), it’s only because they haven’t been paying attention. The Swede, who attended Oklahoma State, has been dominant this week, sweeping the group stage followed by a 5-and-3 victory over Patrick Reed in the Sweet 16 and a 4-and-2 triumph over Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

    “I've always liked match play because the outcome is quite direct,” said Noren, who will face Kevin Kisner in the semifinals. “In match play, you've just got to be really focused all the time and anything can happen. And then you have to play good each round. You can't just give up a round and then think you've got three more.”

    But if a JT vs. Noren final would be the perfect Ryder Cup primer, the dream match up for Thomas in the championship tilt might be Kisner.

    Kisner lost a friendly wager to Thomas earlier this year at the Sony Open when Alabama defeated Georgia in the NCAA National Championship football game and he had to wear an Alabama jersey while he played the 17th hole on Thursday.

    Kisner would certainly appreciate the chance at a mulligan. And the way the duo have been rolling in birdie putts this week, it has the potential to be just as entertaining as that other tournament.

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    Up one, Stricker hunting second Champions title

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 11:48 pm

    BILOXI, Miss. - Steve Stricker moved into position for his second straight PGA Tour Champions victory, shooting a 3-under 69 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Stricker won the Cologuard Classic three weeks ago in Tucson, Arizona, for his first victory on the 50-and-over tour. He tied for 12th the following week in the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    Stricker had a 7-under 137 total at Fallen Oak, the Tom Fazio-designed layout with big, speedy greens.

    The 51-year-old Wisconsin player bogeyed Nos. 2-3, rebounded with birdies on Nos. 6-7, birdied the par-4 12th and eagled the par-5 13th. He has six top-three finishes in eight career senior starts.

    First-round leader Joe Durant followed his opening 66 with a 72 to drop into a tie for second with Jeff Sluman (67).

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    Thomas can take world No. 1 with win over Watson

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.

    In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.

    “I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

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

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

    Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.

    After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

    “I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”