Thursday, November 23, 2017
Golf

Jason Day in Match Play semis, will surpass Jordan Spieth for No. 1 in ranking

RECOMMENDED READING


AUSTIN, Texas — Jordan Spieth lost his match. Then he lost his No. 1 ranking.

Jason Day assured a return to the top of the world ranking Saturday when he advanced to the semifinals of the Dell Match Play. His reward today is to face Rory McIlroy, who ran his unbeaten streak to 12 matches in this event and needs two victories to join Tiger Woods as the only players to win in consecutive years.

"It's been a bit of an up and down week, especially emotionally," said Day, who considered withdrawing Wednesday when his back seized up. "It's been quite amazing to be able to start the week, not really thinking I'm going to be able to play with what happened Wednesday, and then turn around and I'm No. 1 in the world. It's a strange feeling. I'm glad I stuck it out."

Even with the local star gone —Spieth is a native Texan and former star at the University of Texas — Match Play has a heavyweight battle this morning. This is only the second time since the event began in 1999 that the No. 2 (Day) and No. 3 (McIlroy) seeds have met in the semifinals.

Day won two of the first three holes on the back nine to pull away from former Florida State standout Brooks Koepka, closing him out on the 16th hole to win 3 and 2. McIlroy ran off four birdies in six holes to oust Chris Kirk 4 and 3.

Louis Oosthuizen, who eliminated Spieth with a 4-and-2 victory in the morning, took advantage of Dustin Johnson's blunders in the quarterfinals to win 2 and 1. Rafa Cabrera Bello also reached the semifinals by beating Ryan Moore 2 and 1.

McIlroy and Day have never faced each other in match play.

"I've love to play Jason," McIlroy said. "I'd really relish it. He's playing really well at the minute, coming off a win last week. I'd be really up for it."

Spieth won't be around for all the excitement. He struck the ball poorly on the range, tried to find a quick fix on the course and never had a chance. He made putts of 12 feet and 25 feet on the opening two holes but couldn't keep that up.

"I didn't make it very hard on Louis (Saturday), which is unfortunate," said Spieth, who lost holes with three bogeys and a double bogey. "I was off from when I hit my first 10 shots on the range. I've had incredible control of the ball this week and of my wedges. I'm not exactly sure what happened."

Spieth led a trail of Americans to the airport. There were 11 Americans in the round of 16 at the start of the day, none at the end.

PGA: Ian Poulter shot 4-under 68 on a windy day to take the third-round lead at the Puerto Rico Open in Rio Grande. Playing the event for the first time after failing to get into the Match Play event, the Englishman got up-and-down for par from a greenside bunker on the par-5 18th, holing a 15-foot putt. He was at 11-under 205 total, a stroke ahead of Tony Finau, Jonathan Byrd and Steve Marino. Puerto Rico's Rafael Campos, who led after two rounds, had 72 to drop into a tie for fifth at 9 under.

LPGA: Top-ranked Lydia Ko made three straight birdies early on the back nine at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif., to finish with 5-under 67 to take a three-stroke lead. Ko birdied Nos. 11-13 and closed with five straight pars to reach 14-under 202 in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week in Rancho Mirage. The 18-year-old New Zealander saved par with a 10-foot putt on the par-4 18th, and has played bogey-free since her second hole in the first round. Sung Hyun Park (68), Brittany Lang (70) and second-round leader Jenny Shin (71) were tied for second. Second-ranked Inbee Park was 10 under after 70.

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