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Landry, Scheffler share lead

It’s a tough course.

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American Scottie Scheffler shared a four-stroke lead with countryman Andrew Landry after Saturday's third round of the US PGA American Express tournament (AFP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Americans Andrew Landry and Scottie Scheffler pulled away with birdie binges to share a four-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the US Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) American Express tournament.

Landry birdied six of his first eight holes on the way to a seven-under 65 at the PGA West Nicklaus course while Scheffler shot a bogey-free six-under 66 at the PGA West Stadium course to finish on 21-under 195 after 54 holes.

Compatriot Rickie Fowler, who shared a one-shot lead with Scheffler over Landry after 36 holes, was third on 199 after a 70 on the stadium course to join the co-leaders in Sunday’s final group.

The first three rounds were played on three different layouts in the desert at La Quinta, California — also including the La Quinta Country Club.

Sunday’s last round will be played on the Stadium layout where Scheffler shined, rolling in a six-foot birdie putt at the second, a 14-footer at the par-3 fourth and a seven-footer to birdie the par-5 fifth.

“It’s a tough course,” he said. “It’s a good tract and a good test.”

Scheffler birdied the par-5 11th then hit back-to-back birdies at the 14th from 21 feet and at the par-4 15th when his approach landed inches from the cup.

Now the 23-year-old rookie from Dallas takes aim at his first PGA tile after two developmental tour wins last year.

“Winning is pretty similar at all levels of the game and I’ve done a good job of closing them out,” Scheffler said. “It should be a fun day and hopefully a rewarding one.”

Landry, a 32-year-old Texan from Austin, made a sizzling start on the back nine, added back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes and took his lone bogey at the par-3 eighth.

“I’ve been putting the ball absolutely beautifully,” Landry said. “The wedges are there. The putting is there. Just need to go out and do it again tomorrow.”

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Saso finishes joint eighth

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Yuka Saso ends up in the top ten. DAILY TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

Yuka Saso rallied with a five-under par 67 on Sunday to finish in a tie for eighth place in the 51st Descente Ladies Tokai Classic in Aichi, Japan.

The 19-year-old Filipino-Japanese rookie, who won the long-driving contest Saturday, made six birdies against a lone bogey to finish the tournament on five-under 208, tying Mone Ami (70), Sumika Nakasone (70) and Ai Suzuki (71).

Saso opened with a birdie and added two more on 4 and 5 before stumbling with her lone bogey on 6. Then she birdied 9, 13 and 15 before cruising with pars the rest of the way.

She earned 1,876,000 yen (P869,869) for her fourth Top 10 finish in the tour.

Ayake Furue defeated Hiroko Azuma via playoff to win the tournament.

Both players finished the tournament on 15-under 201 after shooting identical 68s in the final round.

Pei-Ying Tsai settled for third place on 11-under after a 69 while three players — Shoko Sasaki (67), Naruha Miyata (68) and Miki Sakai (69) — tied for fifth on 10-under.

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Wolff devours Winged Foot

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Matthew Wolff makes a lot of heads turns. GREGORY SHAMUS/GETTY IMAGES/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK (AFP) — Matthew Wolff, a 21-year-old American making only his second major start, fired a five-under par 65 to seize the clubhouse lead in Saturday’s third round of the US Open.

The 2019 US college champion for Oklahoma State, who shared fourth at last month’s PGA Championship in his major debut, solved wicked Winged Foot to stand on five-under 205 after 54 holes.

“Every time I was in the rough and had a good lie I took advantage of it,” Wolff said. “I minimized the mistakes. It was a good day all around.”

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, fired a 68 to stand second in the clubhouse on 209 with American Bryson DeChambeau the only under-par rival still on the course at two under.

“Any under-par round at a US Open you’ll take,” Oosthuizen said. “(Wind) definitely died down for us. Definitely lucky on the draw today.”

World number 36 Wolff, who won his first PGA Tour title at Minneapolis in only his third tour start, needed only 10 putts over his first nine holes, shooting a astonishing 30 on the front nine as veteran rivals struggled on the famed Mamaroneck, New York, layout.

He found only two of 14 fairways but made impressive iron shots to match Winged Foot’s lowest US Open round ever, Justin Thomas’s opening 65.

“I tried to shoot as low as possible with hitting as few fairways as possible,” Wolff joked. “That will get me ready for tomorrow.

“I got really fortunate with the lies in the rough. I just stuck with my game. We had a bunch of good lies. It was a grind out there.

“I’m just going to go out there, do the same thing and whatever happens happens.”

Wolff, who began the day four back of leader Patrick Reed, made a 14-foot birdie putt at the opening hole, a 15-footer to birdie the par-4 fourth, a five-footer for birdie at six and a 13-foot birdie putt at the par-3 seventh.

He closed the front nine with a three-foot birdie putt at the par-5 ninth then grinded out six pars in a row before his first bogey at the 16th, missing an eight-footer for par.

Wolff blasted out of the rough 10 feet from the cup at 18 and sank his closing birdie putt.

“I feel really good with my putting,” Wolff said. “I just told myself it was just another putt.”

Oosthuizen sank an eight-foot birdie putt at the fifth and added eight pars on the front nine. On the back side, he followed a bogey at the par-3 10th by sinking an 18-foot birdie putt at 11.

At 14, Oosthuizen blasted out of the rough to 10 feet and made his birdie putt, then found rough and a bunker to bogey 16 before dropping his approach at 17 to three feet and making another birdie in response to a bogey.

Oosthuizen suspects he will need a repeat performance to capture his first major in a decade.

“I need to play pretty similar to what I did today,” he said. “A lot can happen even in the last two, three holes, so try and get yourself in a position with three, four, five holes to go and see what you can do.

“Just need to go out and play some good golf tomorrow.”

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who made four birdies and three bogeys in his first seven holes, scrambled to a 70 to stand alongside American Xander Schauffele on level par 210.

Matsuyama, chasing his first major crown, opened with a birdie, followed with back-to-back birdies, then reeled off three birdies in a row on putts inside eight feet before a three-putt bogey at the par-3 seventh.

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Bianca, Dottie make cut

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For the second straight day, Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina shot identical scores — even-par 72s — to safely make the cut in the LPGA Portland Classic at the Columbia Edgewater in Portland, Oregon Saturday.

Pagdanganan and Ardina are among 13 players tied for 43rd spot on two-under 142 and get a chance to play together for the first time in the final round on Sunday.

Both Filipinas are paired with American Andrea Lee at 9:15 a.m.

Pagdanganan, the 22-year-old rookie making her fourth start in the LPGA, began with three bogeys in the first six holes.

“I struggled a bit with my irons but I eventually got it together,” said the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion.

Pagdanganan strung up four straight birdies from 9 to 12 until she closed with a bogey on 18.

Averaging 274 yards off the tee, she found only nine of 14 fairways and missed seven greens.

The 26-year-old Ardina, on the other hand, missed only one fairway but missed six greens.

She had a roller-coaster round of five birdies against the same number of birdies.

Both ICTSI-backed players lie 12 shots behind leader Mel Reid who fired seven birdies in a seven-under par 65 to take a two-stroke lead over defending champion Hannah Green.

England’s Reid, a six-time winner on the Ladies European Tour who is chasing a first LPGA title, heads into Sunday’s final round on 12-under par 132.

“Put myself in great position, a position that everyone wants to be in, so I’m excited for the opportunity tomorrow,” said Reid, who strung together four birdies in a row from the sixth through the ninth and rolled in her final birdie of the day at the 18th.

“Just keep doing the same thing and see where tomorrow afternoon takes us,” added Reid, who shared seventh at the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, last week.

“I felt like I hit it really good last week, so kind of took that momentum going into this week,” said Reid, who said she benefitted from the day off on Thursday after the tournament was reduced to 54 holes because of poor air quality due to wildfires.

“I think it did me a favor having an extra day off,” she said. “I was pretty tired from last week.”

Australia’s Green, who shared the first-round lead with American Cydney Clanton, followed her opening 66 with a four-under par 68 for a 10-under total of 134.

She shook off a bogey at her opening hole, the 10th and put herself alone in second with a birdie bomb at her final hole, the ninth.

“I got off to such a great start, so it’s always hard to back up a low round,” said Green, whose two wins last year included her Portland triumph and her first major title at the Women’s PGA Championship.

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Bianca, Dottie make LPGA Portland Classic cut

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Bianca Pagdanganan (File photo)

For the second straight day, Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina shot identical scores – even-par 72s – to safely make the cut in the LPGA Portland Classic at the Columbia Edgewater in Portland, Oregon Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

Pagdanganan and Ardina are among the 13 players tied for 43rd spot on two-under 142 and get a chance to play together for the first time in the final round on Sunday.

Both Filipinas are paired with American Andrea Lee at 9:15 a.m.

Pagdanganan, the 22-year-old rookie making her fourth start in the LPGA, began with three bogeys in the first six holes.

“I struggled a bit with my irons but I eventually got it together,” said the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion.

Pagdanganan strung up four straight birdies from 9 to 12 until she closed with a bogey on 18.

Averaging 274 yards off the tee, she found only nine of 14 fairways and missed seven greens.

The 26-year-old Ardina, on the other hand, missed only one fairway but missed six greens.

She had a roller-coaster round of five birdies against the same number of birdies.

Both ICTSI-backed players lie 12 shots behind leader Mel Reid who fired seven birdies in a seven-under par 65 to take a two-stroke lead over defending champion Hannah Green.

England’s Reid, a six-time winner on the Ladies European Tour who is chasing a first LPGA title, heads into Sunday’s final round on 12-under par 132.

“Put myself in great position, a position that everyone wants to be in, so I’m excited for the opportunity tomorrow,” said Reid, who strung together four birdies in a row from the sixth through the ninth and rolled in her final birdie of the day at the 18th.

“Just keep doing the same thing and see where tomorrow afternoon takes us,” added Reid, who shared seventh at the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, last week.

“I felt like I hit it really good last week, so kind of took that momentum going into this week,” said Reid, who said she benefitted from the day off on Thursday after the tournament was reduced to 54 holes because of poor air quality due to wildfires.

“I think it did me a favor having an extra day off,” she said. “I was pretty tired from last week.”

Australia’s Green, who shared the first-round lead with American Cydney Clanton, followed her opening 66 with a four-under par 68 for a 10-under total of 134.

She shook off a bogey at her opening hole, the 10th and put herself alone in second with a birdie bomb at her final hole, the ninth.

“I got off to such a great start, so it’s always hard to back up a low round,” said Green, whose two wins last year included her Portland triumph and her first major title at the Women’s PGA Championship.

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Yuka struggles, shoots 1-over 73

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YUKA Saso PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JLPGA

Rookie Yuka Saso made only one birdie Saturday and limped home with a one-over par 73 that dashed her title hopes at the 51st Descente Ladies Tokai Classic in Aichi, Japan.

The 19-year-old Filipino-Japanese, who started the day just three strokes off the pace, bogeyed the first hole and dropped another shot on 6. Her only birdie came on the par-5 12.

On three-under 141, Saso is tied for 26th place with Momo Yoshikawa (74), Mami Fukuda (74), Minami Katsu (70), Solar Lee (71), Momoko Osato (68) and Ayako Kimura (71).

Hiroko Azuma and Ayaka Furue share the lead on 11-under.

Azuma, 28, had a bogey-free round of seven birdies while Furue, 20, was also flawless with five birdies.

In solo third on nine-under 135 was Ji-Hee Lee who shot a 65.

Pei-Ying Tsai turned in a 71 for fourth spot on 136 while Ai Suzuki and Saiki Fujita posted identical 71s for joint fifth on 137.

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Bianca, Dottie look solid after 70s

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Bianca Pagdanganan hits her tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon. GREGORY SHAMUS/Agence France-Presse

Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina opened with identical two-under par 70s on Friday at the start of the Cambia Portland Classic at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon.

Ardina, 26, took advantage of an early tee time to shoot four birdies against two bogeys. She hit all but one fairway and reached 12 of 18 greens in a solid tee-to-green effort.

Pagdanganan, the 22-year-old rookie, matched Ardina’s effort before dusk fell.

Using her length off the tee, Pagdanganan collected three of four birdies on par-5 holes but picked up two bogeys.

Easily one of the tour’s longest hitters, Pagdanganan drove an average distance of 288 yards but missed four fairways and six greens.

“My short game helped me today,” said the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion who admitted having a hard time keeping the ball close to the pin.

“Got caught in the rough a couple times and I was spinning the ball a lot so every time I hit a green I couldn’t get it close,” she added.

Pagdanganan, who started in the back nine, birdied the first three holes. On 14, her short birdie attempt lipped out.

She made her first bogey from the bunker on 17 before play was suspended for over an hour due to thunderstorms.

“I didn’t save my pars from the bunker,” she rued, referring to another bogey on 2.

Looking forward to the weekend, Pagdanganan said she will stick to the gameplan.

 

DOTTIE Ardina
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DOTTIE ARDINA

Pagdanganan and Ardina, both backed by ICTSI, are in a group tied for 23rd place, four shots behind co-leaders Hannah Green and Cydney Clanton who sparkled with similar 66s.

The tournament has been reduced to 54 holes because of poor air quality due to wildfires.

While Green was able to complete her round, more than a dozen other players were on the course when darkness fell, and will return to complete the first round on Saturday morning.

“I missed quite a lot of greens compared to my score, so the only putt I really missed was the one on the last, so to say that is pretty good,” Green said.

“I’m super-happy that we finished and super-happy with my round.”

The 23-year-old Australian equaled the tournament’s 72-hole scoring record with a 21-under winning total last year.

Clanton teed off early and shook off an early bogey at the fourth.

The American’s seven birdies included five in the last eight holes.

“I finally made some putts,” Clanton said. “It’s also nice to hit some really close and had a par-five in two have a two-putt. So, it was really nice to see the ball starting to go in the hole.”

Germany’s Caroline Masson, Mexico’s Gaby Lopez, England’s Mel Reid and American Amy Olson were in the clubhouse on five-under 67.

Yealimi Noh was five-under with one hole left to play when darkness halted play.

South Korea’s Lee-Mi-rim, coming off her first major victory at the ANA Inspiration on Sunday, carded a 70.

Lee defeated American Nelly Korda and Canada’s Brooke Henderson in a playoff at Mission Hills. Both Korda and Henderson — who won the Portland title in 2015 and 2016 — withdrew this week because of the air quality concerns.

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Disappointed Tiger takes long break

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TIGER Woods GREGORY SHAMUS/Agence France-Presse

NEW YORK (AFP) — Tiger Woods departed Winged Foot disappointed and frustrated after missing the cut Friday at the 120th US Open, but already looking forward to defending his Masters title in November.

The 15-time major winner fired a seven-over par 77 on Friday at the famed Mamaroneck, New York, layout to finish on 10-over 150, four strokes beyond the cut line.

“It’s frustrating that I’m not going to be here for the weekend,” Woods said. “It feels like the way the golf course is changing, anybody who makes the cut has the opportunity to win this championship. I didn’t get myself that opportunity.

“It’s never easy to not be playing for the championship on the weekend. The whole goal of entering an event is to win, and when I don’t give myself that opportunity over the weekend, it doesn’t feel good.”

What’s next for Woods is some rest and recovery time. “Well, probably I’m not going to be swinging a club for a little bit,” Woods said. “Take a little break. And then refocus and get back after it.

The next time Woods tees off in a major it will be in November when he has his long-delayed opportunity to defend last year’s Masters title.

Woods captured the green jacket in April 2019 but because of the coronavirus pandemic has had to wait until 12-15 November to return to Augusta National.

Woods, ranked 21st, last won a title at the 2019 Zozo Championship in Japan last October. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, he will defend that title next month at Sherwood Country Club in California, the same course where he hosted the World Golf Challenge event for many years.

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Reed tames Winged Foot with closing birdie

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AMERICAN Patrick Reed shows off his short game skills to lead the 120th US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. JAMIE SQUIRE/Agence France-Presse

NEW YORK (AFP) — Masters winner Patrick Reed closed with a birdie to grab a one-stroke lead over Bryson DeChambeau after Friday’s second round of the US Open at suddenly formidable Winged Foot.

Windy weather, faster greens, tougher pin placements and dense rough sent scores spiraling over par just a day after the famed Mamaroneck, New York, course surrendered 21 sub-par rounds.

“You knew today was going to be brutal,” Reed said. “You know when those (US Golf Association) guys see you manhandle a course like yesterday, they were going to toughen it up.”

Tenth-ranked Reed hit only five fairways but relied on an impressive short game to shoot a level par 70 and stand on four-under 136 after 36 holes.

Reed, who took the green jacket in 2018, teed off on 10. He found the right rough off the ninth tee, then a deep bunker before blasting to inside six feet and making the putt for his fifth birdie against five bogeys.

“Getting into that bunker set it up nice for me and I was able to hit a nice 57(-degree wedge) in there to set up the birdie for me,” Reed said.

Ninth-ranked DeChambeau grinded out a two-under par 68, the day’s low round thanks to a closing eagle at nine, to stand on 137.

“I drove it pretty well considering the wind conditions,” DeChambeau said. “It wasn’t easy to do out there. I did it when I needed it most. I felt really comfortable.”

DeChambeau followed bogeys with next-hole birdies four times in his morning round, which he closed at the par-5 ninth by driving 380 yards, pitching to six feet and sinking his eagle putt.

“That was a fun way to finish off at a US Open. It feels great,” he said. “Confidence is at an all-time high right now.”

Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello and American Harris English, each chasing a first major title, shot 70 to share third on 138 with American Justin Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner who followed a 65, the lowest US Open round ever at Winged Foot, with a 73.

Cabrera Bello opened with a 40-foot birdie putt at the par-3 10th, added a 26-foot birdie putt at the par-3 13th, made bogeys at five of his next 10 holes, then birdied three of his last four holes.

“The wind picked up significantly. That has made it really hard,” said Cabrera Bello. “The greens got a smidge quicker and a bit firmer. The pins were a little bit tougher. I’m sure the weekend is going to be very challenging.”

Thomas had a run of four birdies in five holes on the back nine and a double bogey at the first.

“I was far from having good stuff out there,” he said. “That was a grueling day. I cannot drive it like that this weekend.”

American Jason Kokrak was sixth on 139, the only other player under par overall after a 71.

“Extremely tough,” Kokrak said. “This wind is very difficult. If you don’t hit the fairway it’s tough to even get it to the green.”

The tournament was postponed from June by coronavirus concerns that forced a spectator ban and wiped out qualifying, requiring an exemption system to determine the field.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Americans Brendon Todd, Xander Schauffele and Matthew Wolff shared seventh on 140.

“Definitely it’s twice as tough as yesterday with the wind,” Pieters said. “Back nine the wind got up. The conditions make it really tough.”

Matusyama and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson each shot 69, the only sub-par rounds other than DeChambeau’s 68.

“Just going to keep getting tougher and tougher,” Watson said.

Woods, ‘Lefty’ miss cut
Fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion, and England’s Lee Westwood each followed 67s on Thursday with 76s Friday to share 22nd on 143.

World number one Dustin Johnson fired a 70 to join them on 143.

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, finished bogey-bogey-double bogey to shoot 74 and stand on one-over 141.

Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner, and five-time major champion Phil Mickelson both missed the cut for only the second time in the same event after last year’s British Open.

Woods fired a 77 to finish on 150 while Mickelson shot a 74 to finish on 153.

“It’s frustrating that I’m not going to be here for the weekend,” Woods said.

“I enjoy the challenge this course provides,” Mickelson said. “I’m disappointed I didn’t play better.”

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Lopes finishes strong in fading light

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VITOR Lopes PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF EUROPEANTOUR.COM

Playing in the final group of the day, home favourite Vitor Lopes secured the first-round lead after closing out an impressive seven under 65 in the fading light at the Open de Portugal.

Chasing the five under par target set by Carlos Pigem earlier in the day, Lopes made a fast start to his round with two birdies and an eagle in his first five holes.

As the last of the afternoon starters Lopes was able to take advantage of the calmer conditions, and recovered from a bogey at the sixth with further birdies at seven and nine to make the turn in a tie for the lead.

It was a lead he would extend with back to back gains at the 10th and 11th holes, before parring his way in through the last of the day’s light to score his lowest career round in a European Tour event.

“I am very happy, it is my best score on the European Tour and we got the round done so I will relax tonight,” said Lopes, who finished tied for 23rd when he last played in the Open de Portugal in 2018,
“It was a windy day and we got lucky not getting the bad weather with the rain, so I was just focusing on hitting greens and fairways, and some putts dropped in. Through 12 I was already seven under so I just kept the same mentality and I could finish it off.”

The Portuguese player, who plays predominantly on the Alps Tour, skipped the last two events in order to take up National spots at both the Portugal Masters and this week’s Open de Portugal.

It was a difficult decision for Lopes, who was performing well on the Alps Tour, and he admitted that he is a man on a mission at Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort after the experience of last week’s tournament helped him to feel at ease.

“It is always a big week playing at home and in a European Tour event. I played last week so this week I am more relaxed, I am a man on a mission to make the most of it because I am currently on the Alps Tour playing but I have skipped two tournaments, and I was doing well on the rankings, so I hope I made the right decision.

I am very happy, it is my best score on the European Tour and we got the round done so I will relax tonight.

Lopes is hopeful home comforts can help him to continue scoring well.

(europeantour.com)

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