Thursday, November 23, 2017
Golf

Ian Poulter, Martin Laird are TPC co-leaders; Tiger Woods may miss cut

RECOMMENDED READING


PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Ian Poulter is enjoying his new digs — his newly built home and his spot atop the leaderboard Thursday in the Players Championship.

Poulter, finally finished with a house in the Lake Nona golf course community in Orlando that took nearly three years to build, ran off four birdies around the turn and birdied all the par 5s at TPC Sawgrass for 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Martin Laird.

More than half the field broke par, but Tiger Woods was not close. He opened with bogey and was never under par in a round of 74. Coming off a missed cut last week in the Wells Fargo Championship, Woods was in jeopardy of missing consecutive cuts for the first time since turning pro in 1996 and leaving before the Players Championship is over for the third straight year.

"I just didn't score," Woods said. "It was frustrating in the sense that my good shots ended up in bad spots and, obviously, my bad shots ended up in worse spots. It should have been probably 1 or 2 under par. Any kind of momentum that I would build, I would shoot myself in the foot on the very next hole."

Fans who followed Woods included a woman who very loudly and repeatedly drawled, "Tiger, you're my baby doll."

Laird, playing in tougher afternoon conditions, was the only player without a bogey. He made birdie on his final hole.

"I knew I hadn't made a 5 all day, and that was kind of a little goal I had," said Laird, who finished on the par-5 ninth.

Poulter finally had his mind at ease after getting moved into his new home. It was good to think only about golf.

"It's no surprise to me to be fresh in the mind this week, to know that I'm finally in the house and I'm relaxed and the family is happy, and all of the hassle and stress is over and I can just go out and play golf," he said. "And I have felt relaxed this week."

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy was 2 under for his round until coming up just short of the island-green 17th and making double bogey. He shot 72. Phil Mickelson shot 71 in his first round after being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this week.

The star group of the morning was Woods, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan, the only player with two wins this year. Fowler failed to save par when missing greens and shot 72. Mahan hit two shots into the water on his way to 74.

Poulter's new home looks more like a hotel, and it took about as long to build. It became such a headache for him that when asked to go over the problems he had with contractors, Poulter looked at his watch and said, "How long you got?"

"I could write a book," he said.

With that out of the way, his mind was free for golf, on a course that seems to suit him well. He was runnerup three years ago, four shots behind Henrik Stenson. Thursday his birdie putts on the par 5s were all within about 5 feet. When he started missing greens on the back nine, he chipped close for par. He hit 9-iron to a front pin on the 17th to about 10 feet for birdie, then made it through the 18th without drama.

It's dangerous to look ahead, but Poulter was tempted, not so much for the crystal trophy but what he could do with the $1.71 million winner's check.

A new house, perhaps?

"I'll buy another car, for sure," he said. "Ferrari Enzo. Been looking for one of them for a while."

Leaderboard

Ian Poulter 65 -7

Martin Laird 65 -7

Blake Adams 66 -6

Kevin Na 67 -5

Ben Crane 67 -5

Notables

Matt Kuchar 68 -4

Zach Johnson 70 -2

Phil Mickelson 71 -1

Rory McIlroy 72 E

Tiger Woods 74 +2

Today on TV: 1 p.m., Golf Channel

Weather: Low 80s, partly cloudy, no chance of rain

Comments
Ariya Jutanugarn rallies past Lexi Thompson to win LPGA’s Tour Championship

Ariya Jutanugarn rallies past Lexi Thompson to win LPGA’s Tour Championship

NAPLES — Lexi Thompson never had a putt so short that was potentially worth so much. She had a one-shot lead when she settled over a 2-foot par putt on the final hole Sunday at the Tour Championship. A victory would be worth $500,000 in prize money ...
Published: 11/19/17

Rookie Sung Hyun Park continues to roll at LPGA’s Tour Championship

NAPLES — Golf felt so easy to Sung Hyun Park that only when she took out her card to catch up on her scores did she realize she had closed out the front nine with five straight birdies Friday at the Tour Championship. Park kept right on attacking. Th...
Published: 11/17/17
Kevin Sutherland wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship, takes Champions season title

Kevin Sutherland wins Charles Schwab Cup Championship, takes Champions season title

PHOENIX — Kevin Sutherland finally broke through on the Champions Tour, taking the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship — and topping the yearlong competition, too. Sutherland closed with 5-under 66 Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Vijay...
Published: 11/12/17

Paul Goydos leads at Champions Tour’s season finale

PHOENIX — Defending champion Paul Goydos took a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Goydos, a first-round co-leader, shot 5-under 66 to reach 12-under 130 at Phoenix Country Club. "This golf...
Published: 11/11/17

Trio share first-round lead at Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup

PHOENIX — Defending champion Paul Goydos and major winners Vijay Singh and Lee Janzen shot 7-under 64 Friday to share the first-round lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Bernhard Langer, trying to sweep the Champions Tour’s three playoff eve...
Published: 11/10/17

Patrick Cantlay wins Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in playoff

LAS VEGAS — Patrick Cantlay won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday in a playoff for the first victory in a PGA Tour career mostly derailed by a severe back injury. The former UCLA star, 25, hit from behind a tree and got up-and-down f...
Updated one month ago
J.J. Spaun, Beau Hossler tied for lead at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

J.J. Spaun, Beau Hossler tied for lead at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

LAS VEGAS — Beau Hossler and J.J. Spaun shared the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open lead Saturday after another breezy day at TPC Summerlin. Hossler birdied the par-4 15th and 18th holes for his bogey-free 5-under 66, the best round of the day in...
Updated one month ago

J.J. Spaun takes second-round lead at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

LAS VEGAS — J.J. Spaun shot 6-under 65 on Friday at breezy TPC Summerlin to take the lead in the suspended second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Spaun rebounded from bogey on the par-4 third with birdies on the par-4 fourth and pa...
Updated one month ago

Kim Meen-Whee leads Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

LAS VEGAS — Kim Meen-Whee birdied two of his final three holes for 6-under 65 and a one-stroke clubhouse lead Friday in the PGA Tour’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The 25-year-old South Korean birdied all three par-5 holes at TPC Summerlin, ...
Updated one month ago
Justin Rose overcomes eight-shot deficit to win HSBC Champions

Justin Rose overcomes eight-shot deficit to win HSBC Champions

SHANGHAI — Justin Rose posed with the trophy from the balcony high above the 18th green at Sheshan International, a moment that didn’t seem possible. He started the final round eight shots behind Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world. "The be...
Updated one month ago