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Tour Mash: DJ blows a six-stroke lead on Sunday, Rose capitalizes



Remember when September through November was the Silly Season? Skins Game and other made-for-television events were all that golf fans had to watch. Weren’t terrible, weren’t great. All is different in the realm of 2K17, where WGC in China, Schwab Cub on the Champions, CME on the LPGA and the Race To Dubai on the European Tour give us quality, meaningful golf nearly up to Thanksgiving. Time to mash some Halloween candy, pro-golf style.

Justin Rose wins World Golf HSBC Champions

No lie, the engraver was practicing “Dustin Johnson” on Saturday evening. The tall man they call DJ had a 6-stroke lead over Brooks Koepka, looking solid and unbeatable. The wind had something to say about things, and turned Johnson’s massive advantage into a gentle zephyr, floating away. In the end, Justin Rose took advantage and walked away with his second WGC title.

How the Rose bloomed

Want to know the secret to overcoming a large lead?


Do what Rose did; beat all the other competitors and, if the golfer with the big lead falters, you have a chance. Rose wasn’t flawless on Sunday; he struggled like everyone else on the outward half, balancing three pars, birdies and bogeys. Still, he made two strokes up on the leader. On the inward half, the 2013 U.S. Open and 2016 Olympic champ was fire, with five birdies. In the end, Rose had a two-shot edge on Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson.

How the field wilted

Shoot in the 60s and win, might nearly have been the mantra for the leaders on Sunday. Stenson would need 68 to tie, and he posted 70, with a critical, late bogey at 17. Koepka needed 69 to tie, and looked as though he would get it, until a crushing double-bogey on the 16th. And Johnson? All he needed was a putt or two. The Myrtle Beach Man could not buy a break in round four. He wasn’t lousy (13 pars, 5 bogeys) he just wasn’t Johnson. By the way, Rose was the only guy in the top 15 after round 3 to shoot in the 60s on Sunday.

Cristie Kerr Continues Komeback at Sime Darby

See what we did up there? CK-CK? Yup, Halloween cheese. Back to Kerr. Her third win of the year was a battle, but she made just enough shots to notch the belt in Malaysia. After wins in Hawaii and France, Kerr’s Key might be to leave the continental U.S. in search of glory. Alliteration fun is not done. Kerr kept her komposure each time her swing betrayed her. Two holes after a double at the seventh, she made birdie. On the inward half, she bogeyed the 15th and 17th holes … and birdied 16 and 18, the latter for a walk-off win.

How Kerr closed the deal

There were low numbers (64 from Brooke Henderson, 65 from Nelly Korda) on the board on Sunday, but Kerr couldn’t find one. Fortunately, playing partner Shanshan Feng couldn’t take advantage of Kerr’s malaise. Want to know how good pro golfers are? They plan to mic-drop 35-foot putts on the final hole.


How the others lost

Jacqui Concolino and Danielle Kang did what was necessary. Both golfers shot low rounds (67 and 66, respectively) to enter the chase. Both came up one shot short, as did Feng, thanks to Kerr’s 72nd hole bottle rocket. Kang had nothing but pars through 11 holes, then close with an eagle and three birdies to come oh-so-close. Concolino played the first 12 holes in 4-under par, but a costly bogey at 15 was her undoing. As for Feng, two bogeys on the opening nine and two birdies on the inward side. Meh.

Sanderson Farms Championship is Armour’s First Tour Win

In pre-internet 1993, Ryan Armour lost the USGA Junior final match to Tiger Woods. Armour went on to Ohio State as a student-athlete, then bounced around every tour imaginable for 20 years. He won on the Web.Com tour in 2016, and now has his first PGA Tour victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

How Armour stayed in the moment

Can you want to win too much, for those around you and for yourself? Yes, you can. Ryan Armour may have wanted it more than words can say, but he kept matters simple: hit it in the middle of the fairway, hit it in the middle of the green, put the putter on it and see what happens. All week long, he was one or two better than his closest pursuers, which adds up to a five-shot cushion at 19-under par, five strokes clear of the resurgent Chesson Hadley. Jonathon Randolph had his low round of the week (67) on Sunday to jump up to solo third spot.

How the others tried, but didn’t quite make it

It’s hard to blame the pursuers when the leader gives them no room. In this event, the field was truly playing for second position. Hadley needed 63 in a week when no one went lower than 65. Everyone else needed a monumental Armour collapse, and it did not happen. Scott Strohmeyer won a playoff for the final tournament spot in Monday’s open qualifier, then caught lightning in a bottle with rounds of 72-67-68-71. His T4 finish means the man with no status whatsoever will play next week in Las Vegas.

PowerShares QQQ Championship to Langer in extra holes

So sturdy was the play of both, as others around them faltered, that the gods of golf decreed that Bernhard Langer’s putt for the win, on the 54th green, would 360-degree lip out, and that he and Miguel Angel Jimenez would play overtime for the spoils of victory.

How Langer ground this one out

After 9 holes on day 3, Langer was behind David Toms and Scott McCarron, and didn’t have his usual, daunting game. On the inward half, he was perfect. The now seven-time champion in 2017 birdied four-of-the-first-five inward holes to assume the lead. Four closing pars nearly cost him the title, as Jimenez made his run. Even with the power lip-out on 18, Langer still had life and when given a second opportunity in the extra period, the German took advantage.

How Jimenez and company let this one slip away

Langer was beatable this week, but no one put him away. McCarron had a chance to do so, and came home in 1-over. Toms also had opportunity, but made only one par on a sloppy/brilliant back nine (5 birdies, 2 bogeys, 1 double.) It was Jimenez, after eagle three on the 16th brought him into a tie at the top, who had multiple, late opportunities. First, he missed a 10-feet putt for birdie on 17 to take the lead. Next, he missed a 15-feet putt for birdie at the last, which would have forced Langer to make for a half. Finally, the Spaniard missed a long but makeable birdie putt on the first extra hole. Note to future challengers: Langer doesn’t give anyone that many chances.

Indonesia Open to @ProCoconut

Twitter handle is @ProCoconut, ’nuff said. Panuphol Pittayarat held off a spate of longer last names to claim his first Asian Tour win, by five strokes. Think we’re kidding? Read on.

How @ProCoconut got the job done

Pittayarat had the low daily round (65) on two of the four tournament days. The other two 18s were 68 and 67. That totals 23-under and is tough to beat. The 24-year old Thai hit 62 greens in regulation and kept his putts under 30 in 3-of-4 rounds. Count 28 birdies on the week, and you have the recipe for winning stew.

How the others fell short

Certainly not in letters, they didn’t. Kaewsiribandit was five behind the winner in 2nd spot, while Janewattanond tied Tantipokhakul for third, at 15-under. For fun, Wannasrichan was one back, in the fifth spot. Now you know why Thais love nicknames. Great golf was played, but none could approach the efficiency of the winner.

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Ronald Montesano writes for from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.



  1. DaveFromAccounting

    Oct 31, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    It could if the successful rounds were first and the least successful round was the one with the most pressure. It certainly looked like he had a hard time trusting his equipment when the pressure grew. Although, this isn’t totally out of character for DJ with, or without, new equipment.

  2. Wonder Why

    Oct 30, 2017 at 2:54 pm

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Tiger Woods fires third-round 65, takes a three-shot lead into final round



Tiger Woods walked to the first tee at East Lake today like a gladiator entering an amphitheatre. Beginning the third round of the Tour Championship with a share of the lead, a sea of supporters were there to hoot and holler as he strode purposefully towards the opening tee. Expectancy was in the air, as after all Tiger Woods has converted a 36 hole share or solo lead into a win a remarkable 77 percent of the time throughout his career.

Both at Valspar and the Open Championship, Woods was unable to find that extra gear when he found himself atop the leaderboard. Today, however, was a different story, and Woods delivered the performance that came so natural to him when he was in his pomp.

Woods began his round with a piped drive down the first fairway, and after his approach shot landed just outside 20 feet on the first green, it appeared that the 14-time major champion was on his way to a steady start. However, when he rolled that birdie putt into the center of the cup, the galleries of East Lake responded with a cacophony of noise. Tiger Woods was on the march.

After a two-putt par at the second hole, Woods began a charge that turned into the performance he had been searching for all year when he’s found himself in contention. Woods birdied the third hole after stuffing a wedge to eight feet and burying the putt, and when he then birdied the par-4 fourth hole measuring 479 yards after nailing another putt from outside 20 feet, the crowd and Woods began to believe that today could be special.

To say Woods fed off that sublime birdie and the energy of the crowd would be an understatement. The 79-time PGA Tour champion put on a clinic over his next couple of holes, draining consecutive birdie putts from inside 10 feet, The great man then produced a scintillating approach shot from the fairway bunker on seven which just crept over the greenside trap and settled five feet away from the hole for an opportunity for Woods’ fifth straight birdie. Woods slammed the putt right in the middle to take him to six-under par for the day and 13-under par for the event.

Woods’ one blemish on the opening nine came on the tricky par-3 ninth hole, double-crossing his tee shot and failing to get up and down from off the green. Despite the error, Woods’ opening nine scorecard made for an imposing sight. 30 strokes that included six birdies and gave him a four-shot lead.

A clutch seven-foot par save on 11 kept the momentum rolling and it didn’t take long for the American to capitalise on that impetus, cutting his iron approach into the par-4 12th to seven feet. He then walked that birdie putt in to take him back to 13-under par.

Woods then parred his way to the 16th hole, a hole which he took a six on in round two, and it looked set to be another big number on the cards for Woods after he missed the green with his approach and then saw his ambitious flop shot run back to his feet. But Woods executed a nerveless bump into the hill with his next shot that took all the sting out of the ball and trickled out to tap in range for a superb bogey save.

On Woods’ penultimate hole, he barely missed his birdie putt, and after popping in his par putt, he approached the 18th tee with a three-shot lead. Woods striped his driver down the middle of the fairway, but a pulled approach into the back greenside bunker and a disappointing splash out meant Woods had to settle for a par to finish a thrilling round of 65, giving him a three-shot lead entering tomorrows final round.

Ask any Woods supporter, and they’ll tell you the one element missing from the great man returning to the winner’s circle in 2018 has been his inconsistent driving. Well, the decision to change recently from the Mitsubishi Tensei Orange shaft that he had been using for most of the year, to the Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Whiteboard shaft may well be the final piece of the complicated Tiger Woods puzzle. Woods looked as good as ever off the tee with the chief in hand on Saturday afternoon, finding 10 of 14 fairways on day three.

A victory tomorrow would be Woods’ first since 2013. His first win since four back surgeries that threatened to end his career. His first win since the majority of golf’s talking heads declared he had the chipping yips. His first victory since he suffered public derision after he received a DUI which turned out to be the cause of a toxic mix of prescription drugs. There is no way to downplay it, a win for Woods tomorrow would be one of the most memorable of his career. He has pulled himself off the canvas to within touching distance of his third Tour Championship victory. Should he claim that victory tomorrow, it may well be Woods’ finest hour outside of his 14-major championship wins.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Driver now a weapon, Tiger leads | What makes Bryson so good | Paulinagram



By Ben Alberstadt (

September 21, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Tiger in front again
Another FedEx Cup playoff event, another Tiger Woods first-round lead.
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Woods finished his day at the finale with a closing nine of 31 after a slow start and was tied with Fowler atop the season-ending leaderboard at 5 under par. He’s been in this position before from Tampa to St. Louis and was equally impressive two weeks ago at the BMW Championship when he opened with a first-round 62 for a share of the lead….But Thursday at East Lake felt different. It felt better.”
  • “This was by far better than the 62 at [the BMW Championship],” said Woods, who is playing at East Lake for the first time since 2013. “Conditions were soft there. It’s hard to get the ball close here. There’s so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can’t get the ball close.”
  • “On Thursday he had the look of a complete golfer, a five-tool player whose only limitation was running out of holes. Statistically he finished inside the top 10 in strokes gained: off the tee (eighth), tee to green (third), fairways hit (fourth), driving distance (eighth), greens in regulation (fifth), proximity to the hole (sixth), scrambling (first) and strokes gained: putting (eighth).
  • “I felt in control today,” Woods said without even trying to hide the knowing smile that inched across his face. “I had a lot of control over my shots.”
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall noted Woods’ warmup didn’t suggest a low number was forthcoming…”It was not an auspicious start. The warm-up wasn’t smooth, a fair share of drivers sailing over the left-field fence that separates the East Lake range from the 16th hole. The irons were a little thin, and he wasn’t dropping many putts on the practice green. There were a few grabs towards his back, the infamous part of his frame that kept him sidelined for so long. That someone forgot to tell the golf gods to turn on the A/C-a couple degrees from an Atlanta record high, apparently-wasn’t helping matters, the print of his shirt already unrecognizable from sweat when he arrived to the tee.”
“So when Tiger Woods three-jacked from 30 feet on the first hole, it felt like the opening salvo to a song-and-dance we’ve seen too many times before.But not on the only face that mattered.”
2. Also, Rickie
A PGA report notes that Fowler (who co-leads the Tour Championship with El Tigre) is feeling good”Now he’s tied for the lead in the season-ending TOUR Championship at East Lake, his 5-under 65 holding up for the best score of day one with Tiger Woods.”
  • “I haven’t been on any type of painkillers,” Fowler said of his strained right oblique, which kept him out of the first two Playoffs events, THE NORTHERN TRUST and Dell Technologies Championship. “Like just standard Advil. And the big thing and reason why, I didn’t want to mask anything, just because if something did come up, I wanted to get the real response from my body.”
  • “Fowler’s body responded most especially on the greens, where he made nearly 92 feet of putts and ranked second in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting.”
3. The big stick delivereth
Golf Channel’s Mercer Baggs…”Ever since making adjustments to his driver – which included adding loft and changing the shaft – at The Northern Trust, Woods’ long game has become one of his greatest assets.”
  • “Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways in the first round at East Lake Golf Club, which led to hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation.”
  • “It’s not as though Woods has completely traded distance for accuracy. He hit his drive on the par-5 18th 320 yards and hat helped produce an eagle.”
  • “It’s more like he now has the ability to control his driver. Those wayward tee shots we had become accustomed to seeing aren’t so offline. That means sometimes he’ll send one 296 yards – like he did on the first hole – and sometimes he’ll gear up and knock one 328 yards – like he did at the fifth.”
  • Woods had this to say…“[I]f I hit it normal, I hit it just as far. And so that’s to me like 300 yards in the air,” he said. “But … the neat thing about this one is that if I miss it and spin it a little bit, those spinners stay in play instead of chasing off on me, and I can turn this ball.
  • “And so, yeah, if I hit controlled shots, they’re in play and they’re shorter. But if I go ahead and step up and launch one, I’m just as far. The neat thing is I don’t have to swing it as hard to hit the ball as far. And so it puts a little less toll on my body. I don’t have to have my speed up there at 120, 121, 122 miles an hour to carry it 305, 310 like I did before.”
4. Paisley
Meanwhile, on the Tour…AP Report…”Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Tour Championship.”
  • “The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.”
  • “I think just all around was really good,” Paisley said. “I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.”
5. What makes Bryson so good?
Our Peter Sanders takes a headfirst dive into the data.
A few morsels…
  • “He averaged over 300 yards, 15 yards longer than the field, and hit more fairways than the 2017 winners.  Further, Bryson (Blue arrows below) had 35% fewer driving errors than those made by the 2017 winners.”
  • “Bryson did hit more greens-in-regulation (blue arrows below). BUT remember he hit more fairways and made fewer errors. Finally, Bryson’s proximity when he hits the greens* is closer to the 2017 Tour average than it is to the 2017 winners”.
6. Rory PACIlroy?
A Golf Channel report indicates Mr. McIlroy may have a seat at the Player Advisory Council table…”I’m not on the PAC. I’m probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what’s going on and give your input and whatever.”
  • Input and whatever! McIlroy also said he likes the new Tour Championship format, sort of.
  • “I like it for the FedExCup. I don’t necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don’t know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There’s a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it’s good.”
7. New schedule
Golfweek’s Brentley Romine with the details...”The 2019 Tour season will now end on Labor Day, the PGA Tour announced on Thursday.”
  • “The new schedule features 27 events, including three new events and a three-event Finals (down from four). The three new events are the Suncoast Classic Feb. 14-17 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., Evans Scholars Invitational May 23-26 in Chicago and TPC Colorado Championship July 11-14 in Berthoud, Colo. The Finals will consist of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (Aug. 15-18), Albertsons Boise Open Aug. 22-25) and Tour Championship (Aug. 30-Sept. 2).”
  • “The Tour has enjoyed tremendous momentum in recent years and has created a platform from which graduates are enjoying immediate success on the PGA Tour,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. “The revamped schedule will allow for a more natural cadence to the season for our fans, while providing an earlier finish that enhances the visibility of the Tour Finals.”
8. JT pain free
Golf Channel report...”After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.”
  • “Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.”
  • “If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn’t have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don’t want to do anything that’s going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I’m going to get as many points for the team as possible.”
9. Interpreting Paulinagram
Charles Curtis of For The Win on an Instagram story Paulina Gretzky posted that features the Great One’s daughter listening to a song.
  • “As some people have noted, these are the lyrics to the Dustin Lynch song attached to that photo:..I’d be jealous too, if she was with you…I’d be out of my mind, watching her move…If I was just a guy with across the room view….I’d be jealous too, if she was with you, with you.”
What does it mean? Who knows? Who cares? Some combination of the two?


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Tour News

Tiger Woods catches fire after a slow start, shoots 5-under 65 at Tour Championship to tie lead



Tiger Woods, who came to the Tour Championship 20th on the FedExCup points list, is making early moves at the Tour Championship at East Lake. After an opening-hole 3-putt from 25 feet for a bogey, and then three straight pars, Tiger played the rest of his round 6-under par (birdies at 5, 6, 12 and 14), capping it with a 27-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole. In the end, it was a 5-under 65 for Tiger, who currently sits tied for the lead with Rickie Fowler.

Here’s his approach to the par-5 18th hole, which measures 590 yards in total:

And here’s the eagle putt, to which he reacted with a few casual fist pumps and a putter raise.

As we’ve reported, Tiger recently switched back to his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter with which he’s one 13-of-14 majors throughout his career. He may have found the spark of old on the greens.

The only problem is, even if Tiger wins this week’s Tour Championship, he’s going to need some help winning the FedExCup and $10 million payout. Here are the scenarios he needs to happen:

But hey…

Here’s where the top-5 players on the FedExCup points list sit currently on Day 1:

  1. Bryson DeCheambeau (+3 thru 15, T27)
  2. Justin Rose (-2 thru 15, T6)
  3. Tony Finau (-2 thru 16, T6)
  4. Dustin Johnson (+2 thru 16, T23)
  5. Justin Thomas (-3 thru 16, T4)

Who do you think is going to win the Tour Championship and the FedExCup?

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19th Hole