Golf

Saturday, September 19, 2020
Only 6 players are under par . . .

    On Thursday, except for a few cases, Winged Foot confounded the U. S. Open competitors to a point where the projected cut line was up around +4 or +5 all day. Yesterday, it got worse, and 62 players who shot +6 or better advanced to today's third round.

    Patrick Reed's 66-70-136, 4 under par, leads the way after 36 holes, with Bryson DeChambeau alone in second with 69-68-137. Bryson is one of just three players to shoot under the par of 70 in round 2.

    There's a deadlock for third at 2 under 138 among Rafa Cabrera Bello, Harris English and Justin Thomas, and Jason Kokrak is in sixth at 1 under. A fivesome at even par includes Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama. 

    Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were among those who didn't come close to playing the weekend. Tiger had to birdie two of his last three holes to finish at 10 over (73-77), while Phil, who won his Champions Tour debut two weeks ago, shot 79-74-153, 13 over. 

    Gator Billy Horschel is tied for 17th with 72-70-142, 2 over, and Seminole Daniel Berger is tied for 22nd with 73-70-143, 3 over.

    Jon Rahm is five off the pace at +1, and Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are still in the hunt, both at 3 over.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Final-round 65 wins by two over Harry Higgs . . .

    At the age of 47, Stewart Cink on Sunday won the Safeway Open for his seventh PGA Tour victory, and first since defeating Tom Watson on the final hole in the memorable British Open of 2009. It continued the skein of 54-hole leaders (other than Dustin Johnson) tanking on Sunday and allowing someone to come from back in the pack to steal the title with a solid final-round performance.

   Cink came from seventh place with a 7-under-par 65 that lifted him to 21-under-par 267, good for a two-stroke victory over Harry Higgs, who closed with 68. For his first PGA Tour victory in 11 years, Cink profited to the tune of $1,188,000. His last victory on U. S. soil came in the 2008 Traveler's Championship in Connecticut.  

    Brian Stuard, the 54-hole leader, was the culprit in this one, shooting a final 2-under 70 and dropping into a tie for fourth at 18 under along with Kevin Streelman, Doc Redman, who closed with a 62, and Chez Reavie. 

     

         

Sunday, September 13, 2020
Sam Burns, the halfway leader, shoots 72, drops to fourth . . .

    It seems as though whomever is leading at the halfway mark in PGA Tour events recently hasn't been able to hold on to that lead heading into the Sunday finale. Unless it's Dustin Johnson.

   However, Dustin isn't playing this week at the Safeway Open in California, and Friday's leaders again tanked on Saturday and dropped back several spots. There's a three-way tie for the top at 16 under par among Brian Stuard, who shot 66 yesterday, James Hahn, who shot 67, and Cameron Percy, who was tied for third after 36 holes at 12 under and shot 68. 

    The leader going in was Sam Burns at 15 under, but all he could muster up was an even-par 72 and he's now tied for fourth at that number. Harry Higgs, who was second at 13 under after a Friday 62 that included a double eagle, tacked on a 2-under 70, and is in the fourth-place deadlock. Kristoffer Ventura turned in a 6-under 66 and is also involved in the deadlock at 15 under, looking for his first victory. 

    Phil Mickelson is tied for 43rd at 8 under, and all the Gators (Camilo Villegas, -3), Matt Every (+3) and Brian Gay (+8), and Seminole Hank Lebioda (-3) missed the cut. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020
Si - Silver Seniors; Su - Super Seniors; G - Golden Seniors @Stone Creek GC

1 - Randy Briggs Si . 70

2 - Berger Warner Si . 71

3 - Denis Monzon Su . 72
     Smyke Ells Su . 72


5 - Robert Caron Su . 74
6 - Tom Gaver Su . 75
     Frank Puckett Si . 75
     Dan Cole Su . 75
9 - Steve Gordon Su . 76
10 - Phillip Yancey Su . 77
       Steve Eatmon G . 77
       David McLeod Su . 77
13 - Dick McDonough Si . 78
       Greg Mirable G . 78
       Pat Van Aman Si . 78
16 - Paul Miranda G . 79
       Don Gratzer Si . 79
18 - Mike Roth G . 80
       Michael Hall Si . 80
20 - Ed Cambias Su . 81
       Bill Nolan Su . 81
       Robert Prohaska G . 81
23 - Bo Craig Su . 82
       Craig Oliver G . 82
       Harry Jennings G . 82
26 - Ron Russo G . 83
       Tom Hopkins Si . 83
28 - Ronnie Cole Su . 86
29 - Bill Johnson Si . 87
       Jimmy Robertson Su . 87
31 - James Connelly G . 88
       Tom Villella G . 88
33 - Jim Wilkerson G . 99
34 - Bruce Hutchinson G . 102

Saturday, September 12, 2020
Ted misses short birdie putts on last two holes to bow out . . .

    Ted Potter shot out of the gate at the Safeway Open on Friday as though he was soon going to be battling for the lead even though he only began the day at even par. Starting on the back nine, Ted quickly birdied No. 10, and made it two straight by canning a putt of 15 feet, four inches on No. 11. Right off the bat, he had reached the early projected cut line of 2 under. 

    Ted parred the next three holes, then went 3 under with a birdie at the par-3 15th. On No. 16, a par 5, he hit the green in two and his eagle putt pulled up a foot short, but the birdie got him to 4 under. He then added a birdie on No. 17 before making par on 18 to wind up with a solid 5-under 31.

    Moving to the front nine, Ted began with a bogey to drop back to 4 under, then parred the next four holes as the cut line was moving up. He hit a fairway bunker off the tee on No. 6 and made bogey to go to 3 under, and was now one stroke short of the cut line.

    Needing a birdie on the last three holes to reach the line again, Ted did the improbable. On the par-3 seventh, he put his tee shot in the left rough, 97 feet, 11 inches from the hole, and promptly sank the pitch shot to get it back to 4 under. Another birdie on the last two holes would be insurance in case the line moved up again, which it eventually did.

    On the par-4 8th, Ted hit his 83-yard second to within 6 feet, 9 inches of the hole, but missed the important putt that could have cemented his position. The line had moved to 5 under. On the par-5 9th, just as the ever-changing line dropped back to 4 under, Ted's third stopped 6 feet, 11 inches from the hole. With all the marbles possibly on the line, he missed the putt and wound up with 4-under 68. 

    Now, all Ted could do was wait around and see if any of the players still on the course got it to 5 under to change the line again. And they did. Twenty players wound up at 5 under as a total of 73 made the cut. And a long line of 4-unders packed up and went home. 

    Sam Burns closed out the day at 15 under (64-65-129) to take the halfway lead, followed by Harry Higgs at 13 under (69-62). Higgs added the rare distinction of making a double-eagle, sinking a fairway shot for a 3-under deuce on a par 5. Cameron Percy, first-round leader Russell Knox and D. J. Trahan were next at 12 under. 

       

Friday, September 11, 2020
Ted's putting leaves him two short of cut line . . .

    Ted Potter's return to PGA Tour action in the Safeway Open yesterday left him in a position - again - to have to improve by a couple of strokes in order to make the 36-hole cut. Ted made two birdies and two bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 in Napa, California. The early projected cut at the Silverado Resort and Spa (North) is 2 under.

    Ted hit 9 of 14 fairways and a respectable 14 of 18 greens, but his putting left something to be desired. His putts per greens-in-regulation totaled 1.857, way down the list in 121st place out of 156 players. 

    Russell Knox took the first-round lead with a smart 9-under-par 63 and leads Bo Hoag by one stroke. Tied for third at 7 under are Cameron Percy, Sam Burns, Brendan Steele and Pat Perez, and there are four tied at 6 under.

    Among those who have to rev it up today are Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, both 1 under; Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth, both even par; Brandt Snedeker, 1 over, and K. J. Choi, 2 over.

    Seminole Hank Lebioda and Gator Camilo Villegas are both at even par, followed by Gators Matt Evey (2 over) and Brian Gay (5 over). 


 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Schauffele shot 15 under; he finishes tied for 2nd . . .

    If the Tour Championship had been decided under normal PGA Tour conditions, Xander Schauffele would be the champion today. Under the dopey format they played it in at the East Lake Golf Club near Atlanta, poor Xander came in tied for second with Justin Thomas. Big difference in monetary considerations.     

    Xander shot 67-65-67-66-265, 15 under par, which would have given him a three-stroke decision over Scottie Scheffler's 12-under 268. Dustin Johnson and Justin would have tied for third at 11 under. However, using the handicap system that somebody with nothing better to do came up with last year, Dustin was an easy winner with 21 points. I say points because he was not 21 under par as the announcers were saying, the 21 was with his 10 handicap added

    So the final official count was Dustin 21, Xander and Justin 18, and Jon Rahm 17. 

    Seminole Daniel Berger closed with 73 and tied for 15th with minus 7 points, and Gator Billy Horschel finished 30th and last with plus four points. 

    The real golf kicks off this week at the Safeway Open. 

    

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Ted looking to rebound from sub-par 2019-2020 season . . .

    There will be no break in the PGA Tour schedule, with the Tour Championship winding up the 2019-2020 portion tomorrow, and the Safeway Open kicking off the 2020-2021 wrap-around season on Thursday. 

    Ted Potter will take part in the opening at the Silverado Resort & Spa North in Napa, California, hoping to revert to the form that brought him two victories a while back, in the 2012 Greenbrier Classic and the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The second victory gave him an exemption through the upcoming season.

    Ted just suffered through his worst recent year, falling short of the $400,000 mark ($361,540) and missing the cut many more times (15) than making it (4). He did have two top 10s. Ted has been home since bowing out of the Wyndham Championship in mid-August and should be fresh and ready for the new season. 

    Most of the players from the Tour Championship in Atlanta won't be making the trek west and among the marquee names for the Safeway will be K. J. Choi, Keegan Bradley, Sergio Garcia, Charley Hoffman, J. B. Holmes, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, fresh off his debut victory on the Champions Tour, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth, Jimmy Walker and Charl Schwartzel.

    Lone Seminole in the field is Hank Lebioda, while the Gators will be represented by Matt Every, Brian Gay and Camilo Villegas. Last year's winner, Cameron Champ, is in Atlanta and will not defend his title. 

    In the awful-format Tour Championship, Dustin Johnson is still on top at minus 13 after a Saturday 70. Sungjae Im made a big move with a 64 and is minus 12, with Xander Schauffele next at minus 11 after a 65. Jon Rahm's 74 dropped him back to minus 9 and a tie for fifth, and Justin Thomas dropped to a tie for fourth at minus 10 after a 71.

    Seminole Daniel Berger is minus 4 after a 71 and Gator Billy Horschel is tied for 29th (and last) at plus 3 after a 73.  

Saturday, September 5, 2020
It's now more like one of the events in the former silly season . . .

    Here are two words that I think neatly describe the new format for deciding the FedEx Cup: it stinks. 

    Whomever came up with this horror story and convinced the other bigwigs on the PGA Tour to go along with him (or her) must be patting him/her self on the back. I'm sure others who feel like I do would like to bop them on the bean. 

    At courses all over the U. S. a handicap system is used to make it even when a scratch player goes up against a 10-handicapper so the lesser guy has a chance to win a bet. It's not supposed to be that way in the big leagues.

    After round 1 yesterday at East Lake Golf Club, Jon Rahm shot a 5-under-65 and should be two strokes ahead of Dustin Johnson,who shit 3-under-67. But Rahm should be one stroke behind Rory McIlroy and Abraham Ancer, who both shot6-under-64. But under the handicap system for Tour Championship that rewards the players who are higher up on the points list, Rahmand Johnsonare tied ay minus 13, followed by Justin Thomas at minus 11, Rory at minus 9 and Ancer at minus 7. 

    If you want to inflict this type of event on the unwitting public, that's fine. But do it as a stand-alone event; don't call it the Tour Championship, because it isn't. Let the Tour Championship be a real Tour Championship. 

    Behind this group of five are four players who are tied at minus 6. Two shot 67, one 68 and one 70. It just ain't fair.  

    The one Gator left in the mix is Billy Horschel: he shot 70 and is tied for 26th. The lone Seminole is Daniel Berger who shot 69 and is tied for 10th at minus 5.

     

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Tiger and Koepka among the missing . . .

    This is the week that the field dwindles down to a precious few - 30 to be exact - and the few don't include Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka.

    The Tour Championship does include Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson, who tied for first at the BMW Sunday before Rahm went on to win it in a one-hole playoff on No. 18 by giving Dustin back just what Dustin had given him on the same hole just a few minutes earlier.

    Rahm was in at 4 under par after 72 holes when Dustin came to the 18th green needing a birdie to tie. He had a long, twisting, uphill-downhill putt and, visually, it appeared to be an impossible task. But Dustin canned it with a putt that seemingly took minutes to reach the hole, and Rahm could hear the cheers over on the practice tee.

    They went back to 18 and Rahm duplicated Dustin's heroics, making a long, difficult putt for birdie 3 to take home the check for $1,710,000. They're among just a handful who appear capable of winning this week in the season finale at the par-70 East Lake Golf Club, which checks in at 7,346 yards.

    There is one Gator still standing - Billy Horschel - and one Seminole - Daniel Berger. 

       


Friday, August 28, 2020
Hideki shoots 3 under par; Tiger falters late, is 6 back . . .

    A new face emerged at the top of the leader board yesterday in the BMW Championship in Olympia Fields, Illinois. Only 70 players remain in the FedEx playoffs, and Hideki Matsuyama, who has been in a state of hibernation as of late, took a precarious one-stroke lead with a 3-under-par 67, one stroke better than Tyler Duncan. Mackenzie Hughes is third by himself at 1 under, and they are the only three under par; but a host of challengers are far from out of it with 54 holes to play over the par-70 Olympia Fields Country Club North course.

    There are 10 tied for fourth at even par, including Tony Finau, Gator Billy Horschel, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson. There's a pretty notable group tied at 3-over-73, including Tiger Woods, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele. 

    Tiger began on the back nine and made one birdie and two bogeys. On the front, he birdied No. 2 to get back to even par, and not in bad shape, then made pars on the next four holes. But he fell apart by bogeying the last three holes to drop six strokes off the pace. Hardly insurmountable, but not promising based on his performance.   

    

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Phil's Champions Tour debut is a blockbuster . . .

    Phil Mickelson shot a nifty 5-under-par 66 in the final round of the Charles Schwab Series Ozarks National, and it was the worst round he posted in three days in Ridgedale, Missouri. Phil wound up 22 under par for three rounds over the par-71 course and won the $3 million Champions Tour event by four strokes over Tim Petrovic, who was the only one who stayed even close to Lefty for 54 holes.

    If Phil's runaway victory in his first event as a senior is any indication, Bernhard Langer's domination of the over-50 group is over. The perennial king finished tied for 20th, 13 strokes behind Phil. Phil's first paycheck is $450,000 and he jumped onto the money list at No. 15. Langer leads after nine events at $914,737, so Phil is just $464,737 behind. 

    To show just how dominating Phil's performance was, in the finale he made five birdies, two bogeys, and an eagle on the par-4 fifth hole where he drove the green and canned a 25-footer.  Over three rounds he banged in 24 birdies and the eagle, with just four bogeys. In addition, he hit 29 of 39 fairways, which has been his biggest bugaboo, and an eye-opening 47 of 54 greens (17-14-16), for an 87.4 percentage.  

    The only player who made a move toward the lead on Wednesday was Kevin Sutherland, who shot 8-under-par 63, but he had gone in at 8-under, so he never got close.  

    Two of the other three tour rookies fared well: K. J. Choi tieing for seventh at 13 under, and Mike Weir tieing for 13th at 11 under. Former PGA champion Rich Beem had some trouble, finishing at even par in a tie for 70th. 

    The Gators: ageless Mark Calcavecchia - 10 under, tied for 15th; Chris DiMarco - 9 under, tied for 20th; Dudley Hart - 5 under, tied for 36th, and Scott Dunlap - 2 under, tied for 59th.  

     

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Phil has made 19 birdies . . .

    Phil Mickelson is no doubt appreciating the wider fairways in his first Champions Tour outing, and he added a 7-under-par 64 to his opening-round 61 at the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National in Ridgedale, Missouri.  

    After making an eagle and 11 birdies on Monday, Phil made eight birdies Tuesday and he's 17 under par after 36 holes, four strokes better than Tim Petrovic and Rod Pampling, who both shot 64-65-129. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Phil makes 11 3's en route to 10-under-61 . . .

    Phil Mickelson wasted little time showing his elders no respect in his Champions Tour debut yesterday at Ozarks National in Ridgedale, Missouri. Phil and Rich Beem (on his 50th birthday) were both out to parade their best on the new stage -Phil was sensational, shooting a 10-under-par 61 to take the lead; Beem posted a disappointing 1-over-par 72 and is tied for 67th in the $3 million, 54-hole event.

    Phil putted the lights out and finished with 11 3's and one deuce on his card, along with five 4s and a lone six on a par five, his only bogey of the day. He put up nines of 32-29, and takes a one-stroke lead into round 2 over David McKenzie, who posted a 62 earlier in the day.

    Tim Petrovic, Rod Pampling, rookie K. J. Choi and Rocco Mediate are tied for third at 7-under-64. 

    Mark Calcavecchia and Dudley Hart both shot 5-under 66s to lead the ex-Gator quartet. Scott Dunlop is another stroke back, and Chris DiMarco shot 1-under-70.   

Monday, August 24, 2020
Phil misses FedEx playoffs . . .

    A rare Monday beginning on the Champions Tour will have a little extra going for it today. Everybody's favorite, Phil Mickelson, missed the cut at the Northern Trust Friday and fell out of the top 70 so he won't get a chance to advance to the BMW Championship on Thursday. So Phil, who recently turned 50, will make his debut against the older guys in the $3 million Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National in Ridgedale, Missouri. 

    Also making his debut is Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA Championship winner, whose birthday today came right on time. It's been a good year for the senior circuit, with debuts by Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and K. J. Choi already having preceded Mickelson and Beem.

    The Ozarks National course is pretty new, opening in the fall of 2018 after being developed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. It's a par 71 with three par 5s, and it measures 7,036 yards. 

    The field is also littered with ex-Gators, including Chris DiMarco, Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Dunlap and Dudley Hart. 

    

    

    

Monday, August 24, 2020
Tiger closes with 5-under 66 . . .

    In an event that should have produced an exciting weekend, Dustin Johnson eclipsed the field in the Northern Trust by so many strokes there wasn't an ounce of anticipation except for players trying to make the top 70 on the Fed Ex points list so they can continue to play this week

    The playoffs move to Olympia Fields, Illinois on Thursday and there are 69 listed to play, with one alternate, after Johnson posted an incredible 30-under-par 254 over the TPC Boston course to defeat Harris English by 11 strokes. Seminole Daniel Berger's recent stellar play showed no let-up, and he finished third by himself at 18 under. 

    Scottie Scheffler couldn't come close to repeating his Friday 59, shooting 67-71 on the weekend to wind up tied for fourth at 17 under, 12 of that achieved in the second round.  

    Tiger Woods barely made the cut Friday at 3 under par, and added rounds of 73 and 66 to finish at 6 under, tied for 58th. The 66, 5 under, was his best round of the season. 

    The defending champ in the $9.5 million BMW is Justin Thomas, and he'll be joined by Johnson, Tiger, Berger and Gator Billy Horschel, among a loaded field. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020
Dustin shoots 60, Scottie 59 , , ,

    Dustin Johnson made par on the last seven holes at the Northern Trust near Boston yesterday which wouldn't normally be worthy of a story. But on this day it was more than worthy because it prevented Aug. 21 of 2020 from becoming the first day in PGA Tour history in which two players broke 60 in the same round. 

    Rounds of 59 are a rarity in golf and just one late birdie by Dustin would have made the improbable come true. In the end, he shot an 11-under-par 60 and was overshadowed by Scottie Scheffler's 12-under 59. And the two are headed into today's third round at the TPC Boston in the top two spots, Dustin at 15 under with 67-60-127 and Scottie at 13 under with 70-59-129. 

    Dustin began his round like no other; beginning with a birdie on No. 1 followed by eagle, birdie, eagle, birdie, par, birdie, birdie, par. That translates into 9-under 27 in anybody's book. The incredible run carried over to the back when Dustin birdied 10 and 11, moving to 11 under with seven to play. But he couldn't get even one more the rest of the way.

    Scheffler was no ball of fire in round 1, making four birdies and three bogeys. But he was ablaze yesterday, making birdies on 2, 4 thru 7, and nine for a front-nine 30. He added birdies at 10 and 11, then 14 thru 16, and, needing one more for 59, he made it on 18. 

    Tiger Woods made the cut by the skin of his teeth with an even-par 71 after Thursday' 3-under 68. He made three birdies and three bogeys and is down the list, tied for 66th. Seminole Daniel Berger continued his solid play with a pair of 66s and is tied for ninth. 

       

Monday, August 17, 2020
42-year-old is 21 under par, closing with 63 . . .

    Gator Billy Horschel looked like he was home free heading into the stretch of the Wyndham Championship yesterday until 42-year-old Jim Herman pulled a Silky Sullivan. Herman had opened with 66 and 69 in the $6.4 million event at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N. C., but with a Saturday 61 and a Sunday 63 he caught and passed Horschel 'in the shadow of the wire,' winning by one stroke.

    Horschel was consistent with rounds of 66-64-65-65-260, 20 under, and players don't lose too many events with that kind of performance. 

    Herman, who was barely inside the top 200 in FedEx Cup points going in, is now headed for the playoffs that begin with the $9.5 million Northern Trust at the TPC Boston this week. His weekend total of 124 tied Stuart Appleby's (Greenbrier, 2010) record for the lowest final two rounds ever on the PGA Tour. He was four behind with 18 holes to play, but when the smoke had cleared, he had made an unbelievable 15 birdies, an eagle, and one bogey over the final 32 holes. 

    Seminole Hank Lebioda tied for 42nd at 7 under and Gator Matt Every tied for 59th at 5 under. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020
It's her first victory since becoming a mom . . .

    Congratulations to Stacy Lewis, who won the Ladies Scottish Open in a four-lady playoff yesterday at The Renaissance Club in Berwick, Scotland. Victory in the $1.5 million event is her first since becoming a mom, and the announcers let the TV audience know it many times over four days. 

    Stacy's coach is none other than Joe Hallett, a former long-time instructor in Ocala, and he's been teaching Stacy for many years. She's eighth on the LPGA career money list with earnings of $12,963,704. Second on that list is Australian Karrie Webb, who kicked off her career with a victory in the Women's British Open in 1993, one week after winning a Futures Tour event at Golden Ocala.

    Stacy was deadlocked with Azahara Munoz, Cheyenne Knight and Emily Pedersen at 5-under 279 after 72 holes and the quartet went back to play the par-4 18th. While the other three made par, Stacy rammed in about an 18-footer for birdie to win it.      

     

Saturday, August 15, 2020
Horschel tied for lead at 10 under par . . .

    Ted Potter shot a second straight even-par 70 at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N. C. yesterday and missed the 36-hole cut by three strokes. Ted made two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine, and one bogey and one birdie on the back for a pair of 35s. 

    Former champ Si Woo Kim (2016) solved the Sedgefield Country Club to the tune of 65-65-130, 10 under par, and shares the halfway lead with Gator Billy Horschel (66-64) and Talor Gooch (65-65). There are a host of players within one, two and three strokes of the lead so the issue is far from being settled.

    Gator Matt Every is still alive after rounds of 68-67-135, 5 under, and is tied for 36th, and Seminole Hank Lebioda made it to the weekend with 65-71-136, 4 under, tied for 48th. Gator Brian Gay (73-67-140) missed the cut of 3 under, as did Seminole Brooks Koepka (72-70-142).