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Watney posts final-round 61, grabs title in Malaysia

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This week, the world’s best players found themselves at the Mines Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the CIMB Classic.  The strong field of American players included Tiger Woods, Robert Garrigus, Bo Van Pelt, Ben Crane and Nick Watney, who shot a final-round 61 to take the title.

Going into the weekend, Woods was five shots back from leader Garrigus, who shot back-to-back 64s in Rounds 1 and 2.  On Saturday, Woods appeared to be in position to jump to the top of the leaderboard, going into the back nine with a six-under 30.  However, faulty shots led him to a total 69; yet again five back from the leaders.  Meanwhile, Garrigus kept his foot on the gas, shooting a two under 69 to hold the lead. Bo Van Pelt, the winner of last year’s CIMB Classic as well as the ISPS Handa Perth International Melbourne, played a nearly perfect round of 62 to tie the lead at 16-under.

Before Sunday’s round, with a supposedly soft and receptive course, players knew that they would have to go low to win.

“My goal was to get to 20-plus [under],” Woods said. “That’s the only chance I had. I had to post that. That was the goal starting yesterday because that means I had to shoot 9 under today just to have any kind of chance.”

Tiger, as well as fellow American headliner Ben Crane, started the day off hot, with Woods going 5-under through seven holes, and Crane going 4-under through five.  As the day progressed, other players began to join the mix, including Brendon de Jonge, South African Jbe’ Kruger and Watney.  Not being in the last group, Watney finished well before previous leaders Garrigus and Van Pelt, giving them some room to catch him.  Garrigus was unable to match the pace of his playing partner Van Pelt, who with two holes to go, found himself in a do-or-die situation. Needing a birdie on both Nos. 17 and 18 to force a playoff with Watney, Van Pelt managed to get up and down for birdie on the par five 17th. After a blocked drive on No. 18, however, he made par to finish in second place behind Watney.  In regards to Watney’s performance, Van Pelt said,

“You’ve just got to tip your cap. Every once in a while a guy comes from the pack and shoots a low number and wins the golf tournament, and that’s what happened today.”

With a career low performance of 61, Watney finds himself in the winner’s circle for the second time in two months, his last victory coming at the  first round of the PGA Tour’s Race for the FedExCup, The Barclays.

“Today I putted as good as I have since the Barclays tournament in the States a while back,” Watney said. “That was definitely the difference between the first round and the last three.”

This marks the third time in the history of the tournament that an American has won at the CIMB Classic.  The international swing continues next week with the WGC HSBC Champions in Hong Kong, with a star-studded field of Phil Mickleson, Luke Donald, Bubba Watson and others.

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Brody has proudly been with GolfWRX since July 2012. He is a full time student, but enjoys getting around to writing whenever he has the chance. His interests include Tour coverage, equipment reviews, as well as interviewing figures from within the golf world. Most recently, he spoke with the founder of AimPoint Technologies and coach of Adam Scott and Stacy Lewis, Mark Sweeney.

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles

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Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per PGATour.com, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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