Friday, October 14, 2011


St SIMONS ISLAND, Georgia (AP) — Webb Simpson kept his name near the top of the leaderboard Friday at Sea Island and his eyes on a showdown with Luke Donald next week at Disney.
Simpson, in a chase to try to win the US PGA Tour money title, made a pair of late birdies for a 3-under 67 at the McGladrey Classic. That left him two shots behind Billy Horschel, who picked up four shots over his last four holes on the Seaside course for a 64.
After finishing his second round, Simpson said he would play the US Tour's final tournament next week at Disney in his bid to capture the money title. Donald, currently atop the money list by $68,971 over Simpson, had said earlier Friday that he would add Disney to his schedule.
Donald, who was in England for his caddie's wedding, said on Twitter: "There was never really a decision to be made. I have a chance of making history. See you all at Disney next week." That was followed by a hash tag that said, "Bring it on."
Simpson continued to do just that.
After opening with a 63 and facing stronger wind off the coastal waters, he survived a shaky start and poured in enough birdies to get into the lead with Michael Thompson, who had a 64 earlier in the day. They stayed there until Horschel made his late burst with an eagle-birdie-par-birdie finish to take the lead at 12-under 130.
"I figured Luke was going to play," Simpson said. "I think he's kind of thinking the same thing I'm thinking, that if one of us was going to play, the other one really needed to. It's going to be fun. He's one of the most competitive guys on tour, and so I'm sure he's going to come guns loaded, and he's going to play great like he has all year."
It's the first time since 2003, when Vijay Singh held off Tiger Woods in the Tour Championship, that the US PGA Tour money title will come down to the final tournament of the year.
Simpson is not entirely focused on next week. He was only two shots behind going into the weekend, poised to make a run at a tour-leading third win this year. That might be enough to make him the favourite for PGA Tour player of the year, and the money list could help sway the players' vote. Donald has a large lead in the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average.
Louis Oosthuizen also had little trouble handling the stiff breeze, having grown up in the wind along the South African shore and winning the British Open by seven shots at St. Andrews last year. Oosthuizen, playing his last event on the U.S. tour, had a 67 and was in the group four shots back.
Bud Cauley, the 21-year-old who left Alabama University this summer after his junior (third) year, took another step toward becoming only the sixth player to get his US Tour card without going to Q-school. Cauley was among the top 10 until running into trouble on the 14th, one of the more exposed holes on the Seaside course, and making double bogey. He still had a 68 and was tied for 17th going into the weekend. In eight tournaments since turning pro, Cauley has missed only one cut.
Horschel, meanwhile, is No. 139 on the money list and says he's not worried - not as he tries to finish among the top 125 to keep his card, or tries to stay in the top 150 to avoid two stages of Q-school.
"I'm not worried about No. 139," Horschel said. "I'm worried about playing well."
Horschel played with Cauley and William McGirt, the long shot of the FedEx Cup playoffs who now is trying to get his card. McGirt took a triple bogey early in his round to fall three shots over the cut line, and then rallied with five birdies to make it to the weekend and keep his hopes alive.
The McGladrey Classic did lose its tournament host, however, when Davis Love III took bogey on the last hole and wound up missing the cut by one shot. Seventy-two players made the cut at 1-under 139. Among those knocked out was Matt Jones, who is No. 125 on the money list. He opened with a 65, but followed with a 75 to miss by one shot.
Simpson also is interested in money, but on the high end of the food chain.
This race was set up a month ago at the Tour Championship, when Donald made a birdie on the final hole at East Lake that put him in a three-way tie for third and earned him enough money to move past Simpson to the top of the money list.
Donald has a commanding lead on the European Tour money list as he tries to become the first player in history to win money titles on both the European and US PGA Tours in the same year.
"His birdie on 18 at the Tour Championship turned out to be the biggest putt of the year for him, in my opinion," Simpson said. "It just kind of turned around our schedules a little bit."
Because the tour tweaks groupings, Simpson expects to be paired with Donald for the first two rounds at Disney.
"A lot is going to happen next week," Simpson said. "And a lot can happen this weekend. I'm just going to try and win the golf tournament. If I can play well this weekend - even if I don't win - a great chunk will be added to the money list."




By Joe Chemycz, Nationwide Tour staff
MIAMI, Florida -- Jason Kokrak likes to know how everybody is doing on the golf course, so the big-hitting 26 year old watches the leaderboard during his rounds. What he's seen this week is his name established clearly at the top.
Kokrak added a 5-under 66 to a first-day 63 at the Miccosukee Championship and moved into sole possession of the 36-hole lead. Kokrak's 13-under 129 total is not only a tournament record at the halfway point, but it's three shots better Luke List (66) and Jonas Blixt (65), his nearest challengers.
"I'm a watcher, I like to know," said Kokrak, winner of the Albertsons Boise Open last month. "I like to put that pressure on myself because I want to know if I should play out to the middle of the green or take dead aim and hit it."
Kokrak has been using his length off the tee -- he's No. 1 in Average Driving Distance on Tour this year -- to his advantage this week at the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club.
"The par-5s are all reachable in two shots and on the long par-4s I'm still hitting 8-, 9-iron or wedge into the greens where some of the guys have to use 5- and 6-irons," said the leader.
"I think length is a huge advantage at this course. There are some holes out here where we can play aggressive."
Kokrak, who started the year with conditional status, has been hammering his way around the Nationwide Tour since early summer when he finally started getting into tournaments. He made the cut in nine of his previous 13 starts and has a pair of top-10 finishes to go along with his first career win.
"I've only had half a season out here so I'm still proving myself a little bit," he said. "I want to finish off strong and hopefully win again before we're done. Hopefully we'll throw up another 63 and put this thing away."
Kokrak relied on his putting to grab a share of Thursday's lead with Daniel Chopra (72), but was a little more solid on Friday while moving into first place. He hit more fairways and more greens while creating some distance on the field.
Chasing him are former college standouts List (Vanderbilt) and Blixt (Florida State).
Brett Wetterich, who became a father for the second time on Thursday, is four shots back heading into the weekend. Jin Park, Brad Elder, Carl Paulson, Rahil Gangjee, Tyrone Van Aswegen and Matt Every are five off the pace.
• Kokrak's 13-under 129 total is the best start in tournament history. Marc Turnesa was 12-under and led by four strkes at the halfway point in 2007 and went on to finish at minus-15 and win by one.
• Kokrak, No. 15 on the money list, could move to as high as No. 4 on the money list with a win this week. First place is worth $90,000.
• England's Greg Owen had a pair of eagles on the par-5 5th and 10th holes. Owen is only the fifth player in tournament history to register two eagles during a single round. Owen shot a 3-under 68 and is minus-5 and T23.
• Coincidentally, another Englishman, Mylan Classic winner Gary Christian, also had a pair of eagles at Nos. 5 and 10. Christian is also at 5-under and T23
• Leading Nationwide Tour money winner J.J. Killeen (70-70) missed the cut this week by one shot. This is only the third missed cut of the year in 23 starts for Killeen, who won back-to-back events this summer at the Utah Championship and the Cox Classic.
Killeen is assured of being No. 1 on the money list come Sunday because the only two players who could have passed him -- No. 2 Mathew Goggin (73-69) and No. 3 Ted Potter, Jr. (72-69) -- both missed the cut as well.
• Twenty-three of the top-25 money winners were entered this week and seven of them did not make it to the weekend. Among those missing the cut were: J.J. Killeen (No. 1), Mathew Goggin (No. 2), Ted Potter, Jr. (No. 3), Kyle Reifers (No. 13) Steve Wheatcroft (No. 14), Scott Brown (No. 17) and Josh Broadaway (No. 23).
• There is also a good deal of attention being paid to the top-60 on the money list. Only the top-60 money winners following next week's Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open will advance to the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island the following week and have a chance to earn their US PGA Tour cards for the 2012 season.
are missing are Danny Lee (No. 4) and John Malliner (No. 9). This week's field also includes 46 of the top 50 and 93 of the top 100 money winners.




SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) -- Fred Couples shot a 7-under 65 to take a share of the first-round lead with Steve Lowery at the US Champions (Seniors) Tour's AT and T Championship on Friday.
Lowery settled for a birdie at the 190-yard 13th after his 6-iron lipped out, then holed out from the fairway from 168 yards with an 8-iron for an eagle on the next hole.
Hal Sutton and Nick Price were a stroke behind, and Tommy Armour III and Chien Soon Lu had 67s.
Ten players were 4 under: Phil Blackmar, Mark Calcavecchia, Bobby Clampett, Russ Cochran, Scott Hoch, John Huston, Gil Morgan, Steve Pate, Loren Roberts and Eduardo Romero.
This is the first year the event has been played at TPC San Antonio's Canyon Course, and more than half the field shot under par. There was hardly a breeze on a nearly cloudless day over a Pete Dye-designed course that doesn't look anything as demanding as his lay-outs in places such as Whistling Straits or Kiawah Island.
"I think this had to be the prettiest day we've played golf all year long," said Sutton, who hit all 18 greens in regulation. "If you hadn't have told me Pete Dye (designed the course), I wouldn't have really guessed that."
Defending champion Rod Spittle (74) was among the 31 players over par.
Couples is playing for the third straight week and is looking for his third-straight top-10 finish despite back problems that have been eased by protein injections he received this summer in Germany. He won the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship in August and tied for 15th at the Masters.
"I feel pretty good right now," Couples said. "But I'm not going to overdo it."
Though he birdied his first three holes and had eight for the day, he got big breaks with a 30-foot putt for par on the No. 8 and then saw his errant drive at No. 12 hit a rock and bounce back into the middle of the fairway. He birdied.
"Little jumps like that are big moves," Couples said.
Lowery, whose victory at the AT and T Pebble Beach Pro-Am three years ago is one of his three victories on the US PGA Tour, is looking for his first trophy on the Champions Tour. He would have come in with the lead if not for a bunker shot at No. 17 that clipped the lip of the trap and barely dribbled onto the green. That left him 90 feet from the cup, and he three-putted.
It's the last full-field tournament for the Champions Tour before the top 30 on the money list head to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco in three weeks.





Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google