Category Archives: Rickie Fowler

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2019 Masters Third Round Highlights

Perfect weather made for as near perfect conditions as we’ve ever seen at The Masters during Saturday’s third round. Luckily for the remaining field the rain held off at least for the day. Championship Sunday will be a different story as tee times have already been adjusted to start earlier, go off on both the 1st and 10th tees and be set in threesomes.

Records were challenged throughout the day at Augusta National as for the first time in tournament history four players shot 8-under rounds of 64 on the same day. One of those men was 29-year old Tony Finau who currently sits as one of the three co-leaders at 11-under par. In his sophomore outing at Augusta Finau also tied to course record with a 30 on the front nine.

Joining Finau in the final pairing Sunday also at 11-under will be the four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods. However, despite stellar play by both challengers they’ll both be chasing the two-stroke leader Francesco Molinari. The 2018 Open champion quietly rose up the leaderboard and into sole possession of the lead thanks to four straight birdies on the back nine. Last Word on Golf has your top highlights and Masters moments from Saturday’s third round at Augusta National.
Finau catches fire
Making just his second Masters start, Tony Finau showed that he can be a true contender no matter the course. After starting his third round with four birdies over the first seven holes Finau nearly holed his 261-yard approach shot for an albatross. An eight-inch tap in would give him an easy eagle and a 6-under start for his round.

Already on a tear Saturday, Finau stepped up to the par-5 13th on a mission. With still 11-feet to navigate he sent the putt home for his fifth birdie of the day to move into the early solo lead at 10-under.

It’s been said the secret to winning at Augusta National is successfully scoring on the par-5’s. Finau did just that Saturday going 5-under across the four par-5’s including a birdie at the 530-yard 15th.


Woods continues to turn back the clocks
Seeking his first major championship since 2008, and his first green jacket since 2005, Tiger Woods continued to ignite the gallery once again Saturday. Following an unfortunate bogey at the 5th hole, Woods fired back at the par-3 6th for birdie to get back to 6-under. Just one hole later a spot on approach would lead to the second of three straight birdies for the 14-time major champion.

On the heels of four straight pars Woods woke the crowd up once again as he rounded Amen Corner with his fourth birdie of the day.

Few moments at The Masters elicit the overwhelming roar of the gallery like a lead tying putt by Tiger Woods. That was exactly what he heard with back to back birdies at 15 and 16 to get to 11-under.


Saturdays other top shots around Augusta
Francesco Molinari’s stealth like precision around the course often flies under the radar until it’s too late. The Italian did exactly that Saturday at Augusta as all eyes were focused on Woods and his crowd roaring run. Molinari quietly made four straight birdies beginning from 12 through 15 to propel himself into a two-stroke lead.

Perennial PGA Tour fan favorite Rickie Fowler has yet to make the big push for the lead but has kept himself in contention thanks to shots like his chip-in eagle at 13 on Saturday.

Saturday may not have been the picture perfect round for Brooks Koepka after capturing a share of the lead over both Thursday and Friday. But an eagle at the par-5 15th helped spark the three-time major winner down the stretch.

Making a steady run Saturday with a 5-under round of 67, Sweden’s Henrik Stenson drained his 45-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th.

Despite a less than ideal Masters campaign in 2019, Rory McIlroy has refused to go quietly especially after confidently finishing his par-5’s Saturday at 15 for eagle.

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 The post 2019 Masters Third Round Highlights appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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Five Thoughts Heading into Ryder Cup Four Ball Matches

On the eve of the start of the Ryder Cup, Team USA and Europe’s selections for the morning four-ball matches were revealed. Captains Furyk and Bjorn made the vital selections that will pave the way for their teams to have success in the Ryder Cup. Here are the morning four-ball matches that will open the Ryder Cup:

Match 1: Brooks Koepka-Tony Finau vs. Justin Rose-Jon Rahm

Match 2: Rickie Fowler-Dustin Johnson vs. Rory McIlroy-Thorbjorn Olesen

Match 3: Jordan Spieth-Justin Thomas vs. Tyrell Hatton-Paul Casey

Match 4: Tiger Woods-Patrick Reed vs. Francesco Molinari-Tommy Fleetwood

With the golfers set for both squads, here are my five initial thoughts heading into the Ryder Cup Friday Four-Ball matches.
1) Both Europe and USA Lead with Strength
It is clear that both Europe and USA want to get off on the right footing when it comes to who they put into the Four-Ball matches. For the Americans, they included golfers who come into the Ryder Cup with a ton of momentum. Tiger Woods is arriving at this competition, fresh off winning the TOUR Championship. Brooks Koepka has won two major championships this year.

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For the Europeans, who can argue the success Justin Rose has had this year. FedEx Cup Champion. World Number One. Oh, and he has an above .500 record in the Ryder Cup. Rory McIlroy is the other leader for the Europeans, coming into the Ryder Cup with a 9-6-4 career record. Putting the squad’s two top golfers in the first two matches sends a message that Europe wants to get the early lead and set the tone early in this competition.
2) Older Veterans Are Sitting
In the past, normally it would be the older veterans to start for the squads, to galvanize the respective teams. But in this Ryder Cup, both the Americans and Europeans are sitting their older players for future sessions. The USA is sitting Phil Mickelson, playing in his 12th Ryder Cup. Europe is resting Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter, both of whom have played pivotal roles in victorious European Ryder Cup teams in the past.

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But can you blame Captains Furyk and Bjorn for their decisions? Since being selected as a Captain’s Pick, Phil Mickelson has been at the bottom of the leaderboards at the BMW and TOUR Championships. Sergio Garcia has not made the cut of a major championship since he won The Masters back in 2017. Ultimately, these players will have to compete at least once in the Ryder Cup. Most likely, some of them may play in the Foursomes session on Friday. But giving rest to the older players is important, as the Captains would like to keep them physically fit and not tired before the grueling Singles Sunday.
3) Rookies Get Golden Opportunity
It is clear that Captains Furyk and Bjorn aren’t shying away from putting their rookies in the hot seat early on in the Ryder Cup. Six rookies combined will be starting in the Friday morning Four-Ball session; Tony Finau and Justin Thomas for the Americans and Jon Rahm, Thorbjorn Olesen, Tyrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for the Europeans.

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“Players stand up and they are counted for what they do in the greatest events in the world. But legends are made in this event,” Bjorn said. “That is where the public comes around them and can do so much for their careers. It’s an opportunity to go out there and be the best that you can be on a grand stage.”

Thomas Bjorn is risking more with starting four rookies compared to Furyk’s two. Not to take away anything from Tony Finau or Justin Thomas but those two have been in the mix in major championships (Thomas 2017 PGA Championship winner) and relish those high-pressure moments. For Bjorn, he will roll the dice with Rahm, Olesen, Hatton, and Fleetwood. These four have shown promising golf this year, but will it shine through in front of the rowdy home crowd? The Danish captain believes they have what it takes to seize the moment.

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“There are the obvious guys out there, in the sense that they are players you would all expect to see, and then there’s a new guy in every group,” Bjorn said.

“They have been just itching to go, especially Thorbjorn, Jon and Tyrrell. I think Tommy is a different guy, in the way that he’s won [the 2017 France Open] around here, and he’s been real quality for the last couple of years.”
4) Best Morning Match?
While it will be fantastic to see the big hitters of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy going toe-to-toe or the lifelong friendship of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas becoming Ryder Cup partners, the best morning match will be the last one. Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed, the Big Cat and Captain America taking on Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, the Italian Stallion and the English Rookie.

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Patrick Reed’s Ryder Cup record is sensational. 6-1-2 and most famous for exuding that American pride in defeating Rory McIlroy at the 2016 Ryder Cup. Despite Tiger Woods’ underwhelming Ryder Cup record (13-17-3), he is coming into the Ryder Cup on a high after winning his 80th PGA Tour victory. The partnership of Woods and Reed can fuel and ignite the fire within each other, showcasing that emotion and enthusiasm we are used to seeing at the Ryder Cup.

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Francesco Molinari arrives in Paris playing the best golf of his career. Winner of the BMW PGA Championship and the Open Championship, Molinari utilized his steady ball striking tee to green to capture these victories. This includes deflecting a Tiger Woods final round charge at Carnoustie to hoist the Claret Jug.

Molinari will be paired with Tommy Fleetwood, a Ryder Cup rookie who has played brilliantly this season. From shooting a 64 in the final round of the U.S. Open to winning the 2017 French Open at Le Golf National, Fleetwood’s coolness under pressure will be a critical asset to possess in this Ryder Cup match.
5) Who Wins Each Match?
These four matches have the potential to produce terrific drama to open the Ryder Cup. As both the USA and Europe teams know, getting off to a strong start is crucial. When a player arriving to the first tee at the Ryder Cup, there is no messing around. Just ask Rory McIlroy, who vividly remembers his experience of coming to the first tee in his inaugural Ryder Cup appearance.

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“I still thought it was this team event that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things,” McIlroy said. “I was more concerned about individual titles and all that. Then I got to the first tee and I realized the magnitude of it all. It just hits you. You try and put your ball on that tee and it takes you a couple times to get it to settle on there.”
With that said, here are my predictions for the opening four matches.

Match 1: Brooks Koepka-Tony Finau vs. Justin Rose-Jon Rahm (Europe)

Match 2: Rickie Fowler-Dustin Johnson vs. Rory McIlroy-Thorbjorn Olesen (USA)

Match 3: Jordan Spieth-Justin Thomas vs. Tyrell Hatton-Paul Casey (USA)

Match 4: Tiger Woods-Patrick Reed vs. Francesco Molinari-Tommy Fleetwood (Half)

 

Score After Friday Morning Session: USA 2.5 – Europe 1.5

 

 

 The post Five Thoughts Heading into Ryder Cup Four Ball Matches appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


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