Woods Furyk Fall at Match Play

By Sports NetworkSeptember 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
HSBC World Mach Play ChampionshipsVIRGINIA WATER, England -- Tiger Woods had his winning streak snapped at five tournaments on Thursday when he was ousted by Shaun Micheel in the first round at the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Woods fell 3-down after the first 18 holes, then could only trim his deficit to 1-down on the way to a 4-and-3 loss to the 2003 PGA champion.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' five-tournament winning streak ended in his loss Thursday to Shaun Micheel.
'Sometimes it's easier to play as the underdog,' said Micheel, who went 5 under through 33 holes. 'Tiger is so strong mentally, which makes him difficult to play in match play.'
Looking nothing like the dominant player who has had fields battling for second place, Woods led for the first two holes of the match after Micheel bogeyed No. 1.
Micheel, who finished as runner-up to Woods at this year's PGA Championship, birdied the third hole to square the match, and Woods never led again.
'He did what he had to do today,' said Woods, who was 2 under. 'He kept the ball in play and kept putting the pressure on me. I didn't make any putts today and it was very frustrating and I couldn't put the pressure back on him.'
Micheel won three more holes in a row after No. 3, taking a 3-up lead when Woods missed a 5-foot par putt at the sixth.
Woods got within 2-down when Micheel bogeyed the seventh, but fell back to 3-down with a three-putt bogey at the ninth. He dropped as many as 4-down, but was able to keep it within three when he birdied the 18th and Micheel made bogey from a pair of bunkers.
A par at the 19th hole and a birdie at the 20th -- on a 15-foot putt at the Wentworth Club's par-3 second -- got Woods within 1-down. But Micheel made two birdies in a four-hole stretch to go 3-up.
Woods was still 3-down headed to the 30th hole -- the par-5 12th. He made his first birdie in 10 holes, but Micheel went 4-up when he made eagle.
Both players parred the next three to give Micheel the win.
'He beats most of us more times than we get a chance to beat him,' Micheel said. 'I finish second to him more times than he finishes second to me, but he didn't play his best today.'
Micheel was able to do what the rest of the field needed him to do -- knock off the player who was favored to walk away with the $1.86 million first-place prize.
The player who, in a six-week span, had won the British Open, the Buick Open, the PGA Championship, the Bridgestone Invitational and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
'This certainly wasn't expected,' Micheel said. 'I just was out trying to have a good day, play my game, hit the ball in the fairway and make my putts.
'We each had our share of bogeys and mishaps, but it feels really special to beat him. He played pretty well but did not make the putts he usually does.'
Also a surprise loser, Jim Furyk was knocked out when he dropped a 4-and-3 decision to European Ryder Cup rookie Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
Expected to anchor the U.S. Ryder Cup team with Woods and Phil Mickelson, Furyk entered the tournament ranked No. 2 in the world -- his highest ranking ever -- after winning the Canadian Open last week.
He didn't have a bogey until the 25th hole, but his steadiness wasn't enough. Karlsson shot a 64 to go 5-up after the first 18 holes and was never ahead by less than 3-up the rest of the way.
'This is just a fantastic bonus,' said Karlsson. 'Going against the second player in the world, you expect a pretty rapid exit.'
In three other matches involving players who will be at the K Club next week, Colin Montgomerie defeated David Howell, 1-up, in a match between Ryder Cup teammates; Paul Casey routed Retief Goosen, 6 and 4; and Luke Donald made it four victories for European Ryder Cuppers with a 1-up win over Tim Clark.
The European side was also encouraged by the news that teammate Darren Clarke, playing for the first time since the death of his wife, Heather, from cancer last month, shot a 4 under in the Madrid Open.
'It's nice to see him doing well. I wish him all the best this week,' Donald said. 'To play well this week and get a few competitive rounds under his belt, especially some rounds under par, will do him a lot of good.'
Not that all the players saw this week as a precursor to the Ryder Cup.
'This is one of the biggest tournaments I've ever played in, but it's definitely not a rehearsal for next week's Ryder Cup,' said Karlsson. 'It is a fantastic opportunity to practice some match play and an extra bonus that I get more than one game here.'
In the other matches Thursday, defending champion Michael Campbell opened with a 3-and-1 victory over Simon Khan; Mike Weir was a 3-and-2 winner over Adam Scott; and six-time Match Play champion Ernie Els was ousted by Angel Cabrera, 2 and 1.
Cabrera clinched that match when Els hooked his drive badly at the 35th hole, knocking into some trees and out of bounds.
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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.”

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    Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

    CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

    The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

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

    She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

    ''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

    Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

    ''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

    Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

    Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

    Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

    Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

    Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

    ''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

    She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

    ''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

    Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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    DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

    By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

    Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

    “He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

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

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

    Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

    The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

    It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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    Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

    By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

    BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

    Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

    ''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

    He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

    Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

    ''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

    Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

    ''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

    Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

    ''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

    Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

    Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

    Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.