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Tag:cog blog friday
Posted on: September 16, 2011 7:43 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 7:45 pm
 

BMW crash: Stricker streaks end with WD

LEMONT, Ill. -- Five-time tournament winner Tiger Woods didn't make the field.

Fan favorite Phil Mickelson is out of contention.

Now the top-ranked American in the world is headed up I-94 through Friday rush-hour traffic to his home in Madison, Wisc.

Not good news for the folks at beleagured Cog Hill as the chilly weekend approaches.

Despite finishing with a 1-under 70 in the second round, player-of-the-year candidate Steve Stricker withdrew from the BMW Championship with a neck issue.

Stricker, ranked fifth in the world, withdrew despite managing four birdies. He was tied for 59th had he not withdrawn and was looking at an 8:35 a.m. tee time Saturday in unseasonably cold conditions, expected to be in the high 40s when play starts at 7:25.

In five years of FedEx play, Stricker is the lone player never to have missed a round. Also, his streak of 40 consecutive PGA Tour events in the money has ended at 40.

Stricker won;t earn any points this week as a result of the withdrawal, but he is assured of a spot in Atlanta already, because he began this week at No. 8 in FedEx Cup points. He is projected to fall to 12th.

Jim Furyk won the FedEx crown last year despite missing one of the four series events.

As for Mickelson, he shot a 2-over 73 Friday and fell into a tie for 55th, 14 shots off the lead.

The longest cut streak on tour is now held by Masters winner and U.S. rookie Charl Schwartzel at 18 in succession.

Category: Golf
Posted on: September 16, 2011 7:15 pm
 

Senden hoping for another Cog Hill miracle

LEMONT, Ill. -- As far as the crew of Aussies competing on the PGA Tour go, John Senden is hardly a guy to be described as a potential party crasher.

While many of the boys from Down Under are a boisterous lot, Senden is a fairly quiet, unassuming, vanilla guy.

But he nonetheless could really create some ripples this week if he wins the BMW Championship, which would turn the whole Presidents Cup roster into flux when it is finalized Sunday night.

Senden, a 40-year-old veteran with one PGA Tour win to his credit, is sitting in solo fourth place at 8 under entering the third round at Cog Hill. If he wins, however, he will jump into the top 10 on the Presidents Cup points list.

This is the final week to earn points for the team, and at No. 23, he needs a Hail Mary to pull it off, because it's unlikely he will earn a captain's pick from Greg Norman, who at the moment has to find spots for Vijay Singh and Aussies Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley on the team. He only has two picks.

The matches will be held this fall back home at Royal Melbourne, one of the world's oldest and most stories venues.

"It's one of my dreams," Senden said after a 66 on Friday. "I've been thinking about it for two years now and trying to work as hard as I can to get there. You know, I believe that I would be a good member of the team. 

"I'm a consistent player, love playing at home. I've done well in Australia. Royal Melbourne is one of my favorite golf courses, and it means a lot.  It's something that would be  something you can look back on in years to come and say I was a member of the Presidents Cup team."

It might seem implausible, since Senden hasn't won in over five years, but he's seen miracle endings at Cog Hill before. Two years ago, he was at No. 30 in FedEx Cup points -- the position needed to make the Tour Championship series finale in Atlanta -- when he seemingly botched his chances at the end and fell down the points list.

Then Brandt Snedeker bungled the final hole even worse, three-putting from close range, to let Senden back into the big-money finale.

"We were all kind of bleeding coming down the stretch, but we eventually made it right on the 30," he recalled of the tense closing stretch in 2009. "That was better than 31."

This time, though, he needs to finish 30 spots higher for the ultimate goal, a spot on Norman's squad in the showcase before his countrymen.

"I think I've been feeling pretty good with my game," Senden said. "It's about me just going out there and doing my job and being composed and feeling like I belong."

Category: Golf
Posted on: September 16, 2011 6:27 pm
 

Rose and Wilson tracking Tiger at Cog Hill

LEMONT, Ill. -- For those who believe that as much can be learned in defeat as can be gleaned in victory, Justin Rose and Mark Wilson could be living proof of that notion this weekend.

Assuming one of them ultimately delivers the goods, of course.

Rose is in contention for the second time in four years at Cog Hill, where he played in the penultimate group of the final round with eventual winner Tiger Woods in 2007 and got a front-row seat at how to seal the deal. Wilson, tied for the lead with Rose at 11 under, played with Woods in 2009 when he shot a course-record 62 en route to his fifth career victory at Cog Hill.

Talk about witness to history. Woods practically drew a template of how to play the course while both of them watched and tried not to get run over.

Rose, 31, said had flashbacks of the day while shooting 3-under 68 Friday. Four years ago, Woods shot 63 in the final round and blew past everybody, Rose included, on the way to his fourth win at Cog Hill.

"I remember that day clearly," Rose said. "We were both sort of 4 under through seven or eight holes, going along really nicely, and I think I shot 68 in the end, and as the round went on, he was very jovial and laughing and joking around to start with, and then the way he closed it out was a huge learning curve right there.

"He got more and more focused, more and more into his shot, more tunnel vision as the round went on. I kind of thought about that, funny, enough today on the 13th tee, about the way he closed that round out."

Rose bogeyed the 13th Friday, but made an eagle two holes later to reclaim the lead. He bogeyed the last to settle into a tie with Wilson at 11 under. Wilson played with Woods on Saturday when the former world No. 1 recorded his last victory logged on the PGA Tour.

So both of the guys tied for the lead had front-row seats in seeing how Woods delivered the goods.
 
"Yeah, it definitely is a big lesson when you see someone who's playing that way and the way they have the ability to close out," Rose said. "There's nobody better than him at that, so it was a good lesson to learn that day."

Wilson thought of Woods, too, during his second-round 66 on Friday.

"[I] bogeyed the first hole, and the first thing that popped in my mind was when I played with Tiger in 2009, he shot 62 after an opening bogey," Wilson said. "So obviously my mind is in the right place thinking of stuff like that."

Posted on: September 16, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 5:53 pm
 

Wilson: One guy who dearly loves Cog Hill

LEMONT, Ill. -- The lady behind the 18th green at Cog Hill was wrapped from stem to stern in a blanket festooned in Chicago Cubs logos, the baseball team with undying band of loyalists that never seem too concerned with the club's century-long World Series losing skein.

The Windy City fans have a far more successful guy right in front of them to pull for that could use some love this weekend.

Or, maybe they just like the feeling of sheer futility.

Hometown guy Mark Wilson tore up the West Coast early in the year and became the first six guys to log two victories this season, and he shares the lead while playhing in front of his homies at the BMW Championship.

Wilson, a Wisconsin native who first played Cog Hill when he was 15, now lives in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, shot a 5-under 66 to move into a share of the lead with England's Justin Rose.

As the day wore on, the fans got louder and louder behind Wilson, who estimated he had about 100 friends or family members in the gallery to root him on. The others started catching on, eventually, too.

"All of a sudden, they love him," cracked playing partner Hunter Mahan. "Fans love a front-runner."

He was that, defined, early in the year.

Wilson, 36, began the year with two career victories, then won two of the first three to start 2011, at the Sony Open and Phoenix. Now he has a legitimate chance to surge to the fore in the player-of-the-year conversation, since nobody has reached the three-win plateau yet.

"I feel like I'm playing very close to the same form I had when I started the year out," he said. "My mind is in a better place, and I'm just kind of accepting the results; whatever happens, happens."

What's happened has been a batch of birdies on a course where plenty of others have struggled or posted some downright homely numbers.

Wilson, on the other hand, has the place all but wired. He began practicing at Cog Hill seven years ago and has logged at least 100 rounds on the public-access track, where he feels mroe confortable than any other PGA Tour venue. He's one guy who will rue the move away from the facility after this year.

Not just because the owner lets him play for free. He not only knows how to steer his way around the venue, but how to navigate his way here in Chi-town traffic, as well.

"I know how to get here in the morning, and it just is very simple," he laughed. "I know if there's construction there or a hold up on the bridge, I know another way to go.  So yeah, I feel very comfortable."

Wilson understands that to get back in the conversation for the top-player award, he'll need to win at least one more this season.

"People think about, 'What have you done for me lately,' all the time on the PGA Tour," he said.

Category: Golf
Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:14 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Bottoms-up in reverse for FedEx leaders

LEMONT, Ill. -- OK, take a gander at the FedEx Cup standings, where the list of players contending for the $10 million bonus is littered with the hottest players in the game.

Now turn it upside down.

With the exception of Webb Simpson, the creme has fallen to the bottom of the board entering the second round of the BMW Championship.

Simpson, who leads the PGA Tour in FedEx points, shot a 65 and is tied for second, but the rest of the frontrunners arer bringing up the rear at chilly Cog Hill as play begins Friday.

With no cut this week, they have plenty of holes left to salvage a decent week, but some of these boys had better bring a shovel. They seem to have suffered from frost burn.

* Bubba Watson, a solid 12th in FedEx Cup points, was tied for dead last after an opening 7-over 78.

* Aussie Jason Day, sixth in FedEx points, blew up with a 77 and stands T65, one shot out of last.

* Dustin Johnson, second in FedEx points and the defending BMW champion, shot 76 and is T60 in the 70-man field. He won the FedEx series opener two weeks ago.

* Steve Stricker, usually a rock in the FedEx events, shot 76 and was T60 with Johnson. Stricker is No. 8 in FedEx points.

* World No. 1 Luke Donald, fourth in FedEx points, shot 75 and is T57.

* Matt Kuchar, third in the FedEx points, shot 72 and is T36.

Toss out the surging Simpson and the 11 remaining players in the FedEx Cup top dozen in points played the opening round in a combined 26 over par.

Yikes.

Based on 2010, however, the top 21 in points entering this week are assured of playing at the FedEx finale next week in Atlanta. The top five in points after this week, however, can all win the $10 million bonus by winning next week, so being atop the points list comes with huge potential benefits.

Posted on: September 16, 2011 12:12 pm
 

BMW starts with brisk ch-ch-ch-Chicago day

LEMONT, Ill. -- For those of you who bothered to turn up this week at the first two days of the BMW Championship, this will seem rather obvious.

The course, for the purposes of meteorological accuracy, has been renamed C-c-c-c-cog Hill.

For the second day in a row, unseasonably cold summer weather conditions greeted players and fans as the second round begins Friday at Chicago's most famous public-access layout.

As play began at 11:20 a.m. ET, temperatures were in the low 50s, and unlike Thursday, the sun isn’t expected to make much more than a token appearance in the second round. As a result, the projected high has been set at 60 degrees.

Down the road, the forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain on Sunday.

Category: Golf
 
 
 
 
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