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The top three golfers inside the top 10 at the Irish Open not otherwise exempt into The Open Championship have earned exemptions into the season's third major.

We're at that time of year when The Open Championship begins plucking high finishers from a series of set events. The Irish Open is the first in line. Champion Mikko Ilonen was already eligible for the major, so runner-up Edoardo Molinari punched the first ticket to Royal Liverpool. He's 4-for-4 in the tournament, but hasn't cracked a top 25. The Italian hasn't played in it since 2011 because he had two surgeries on his left hand in two years. All three golfers sharing third place at Fota Island Resort in Country Cork today were not yet eligible, thus forcing the tiebreaker provision of rewarding those with the highest Official World Golf Ranking. As a result, Danny Willett (132nd) and Matthew Baldwin (256th), both from England, get the call over Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg (378th). Willett is 1-for-2 with a T13 in last year's Open. Baldwin tied for 23rd in his only appearance in 2012.
Sun, Jun 22, 2014 12:17:00 PM

Reuters has reported that Stuart Appleby recently had surgery to repair a herniated disc.

Appleby has been out since missing the cut at Pebble Beach, but he battled a back injury last fall during the big events in his native Australia. The 43-year-old seems content with allowing this process to run its course before returning to competition. "No idea when I'm back as I don't know or anybody knows how long it takes to get 100 percent," he said. Since breaking onto the PGA TOUR in 1996, he hasn't made fewer than 22 starts in any season; he's averaged over 25 per. Appleby is fully exempt through only 2014-15 and he's currently 162nd in the FedExCup standings (and 167th on the money list), so he might be headed to a medical extension if he needs it. To qualify for a Major Medical, the general expectation is that he'd have to sit out four consecutive months. Given his age, the severity of the injury and that he needed surgery, it's probable that he won't return before the four-month clock ends in mid-June.
Mar 29 - 3:32 AM

Jimmy Walker crafted a 3-under-par 35-34=69 in the third round of the Valero Texas Open and leads by four strokes over Jordan Spieth at 9-under 207 with 18 holes remaining.

Walker took advantage of the scoring holes at TPC San Antonio, racking up birdies on each of the four par 5s and the drivable par-4 17th. The only exception was his 12'9" birdie on the par-4 sixth hole. He also spread three bogeys across his round. He landed 12 GIR on the round, and he is tied for tops in the field with 37 for the tournament. The winner of the 2015 Sony Open also ranks first in strokes gained: putting, which is quite the deadly combination. Should he hold on and win, he would be the first player in 2014-15 to pick up multiple wins on the PGA TOUR. The recent trend has been for 54-hole leaders to struggle, but Walker's cushion along with his growing pedigree are working in his favor.
Mar 28 - 6:12 PM

Richie Ramsay carded a 1-under-par 35-36=71 in the third round of the Trophee Hassan II. With one round to play, his 7-under 211 total shares the lead with fellow Scot Andrew McArthur and Frenchman Romain Wattel.

Six-under and in a four-way tie for the lead after 36 holes, the 31-year-old Scot wasted no time in dropping out of the top spot with a bogey on the par-5 first. He steadied with birdies on holes 3, 5 and 6 before dropping a shot on the par-4 ninth, making the turn in 7-under. He sandwiched a bogey on No. 13 with birdies on holes 10 and 14 but missed a short birdie putt on the par-5 15th and settled for par. After pars on holes 16 and 17, he came to the final hole holding a one-shot lead but trouble off the tee led to bogey, costing him a place in the final two-ball on Sunday.
Mar 28 - 2:14 PM

Steven Bowditch rebounded for an even-par 36-36=72 in today's second round of the Valero Texas Open to post 8-under 152, but missed the cut by two strokes.

He got caught up in the unfavorable half of the draw at TPC San Antonio this week. As today's score indicates, Bowditch's game was much tighter. He hit 11 greens in regulation and exchanged two birdies with two bogeys. Alas, it's merely the latest in a string of disappointing results. In his last seven starts, he's cashed just once for a T62 at Bay Hill. Other notables to miss today's cut include: 151--three-time champ Justin Leonard; James Hahn; Russell Knox ... 152--Daniel Berger ... 153--2012 champ Ben Curtis; Scott Stallings; Charles Howell III; Andres Gonzales; Jason Dufner ... 154--Nick Watney; Sean O'Hair ... 155--2006 champ Eric Axley ... 157--Justin Thomas ... 158--Brendon de Jonge; Kiradech Aphibarnrat ... 162--Martin Kaymer.
Mar 27 - 8:41 PM

Rotoworld has learned that Patrick Cantlay has his eyes on a return to PGA TOUR-sanctioned competition this spring.

Cantlay, who turned 23 on March 17, has been bothered by a recurring back injury stemming from a fractured L5 vertebra nearly two years ago. He hasn't played since finishing 76th (of 76) that played 72 holes of the OHL Classic of Mayakoba in the fall. His representative from Excel Sports Management, Andrew Kipper, wrote the following in an email to Rotoworld: "Patrick has continued to receive treatment and is beginning to feel better and stronger. The goal is to return to the TOUR later this Spring." The golfer still has rookie eligibility on the PGA TOUR. More importantly, he still has 10 starts on a medical extension in the reshuffle category to collected $624,746 or 389.150 FedExCup points and earn a promotion to the Major Medical category. Given his time away, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Cantlay rehab on the Web.com Tour, but that is not a requirement.
Mar 27 - 6:33 PM

Graeme McDowell is not included in the published field of next week's Shell Houston Open.

It was questionable anyway, so our focus shifts to the Masters the following week. Yes, he'll be rested, but he could be competitively rusty if not hesitant to go all out given the injury to his lower left leg. While G-Mac has a pair of top 20s at Augusta National, he's also missed five cuts in the tournament, including the last two editions. Therefore, he probably doesn't warrant an investment until the RBC Heritage the following week if at all.
Source: PGATOUR.com
Mar 27 - 6:07 PM

Jimmy Walker chased his opening 71 at the Valero Texas Open with a 5-under-par 34-33=67 to post 6-under 138, good for outright possession of the 36-hole clubhouse lead. UPDATE: His aggregate held up. Walker enters the weekend with a one-stroke lead over Aaron Baddeley and Charley Hoffman.

He's halfway to the home win. Walker went 5-for-5 in scrambling today, but still squared a bogey when he three-jacked the green at the par-4 17th from inside 58 feet. It was merely a speed bump hidden among six birdies, four of which from 10 feet or longer. The highlights disappeared from 22'1" at the par-4 10th, where he opened his round, and 18'8" at the par-3 seventh, which was the second of three straight birdies coming home. In addition to sitting atop the leaderboard when he signed his card, the Texan led the field in greens in regulation (25) and strokes gained: putting (6.522 at last check).
Mar 27 - 2:01 PM

Danny Lee withdrew during his second round of the Valero Texas Open, citing vertigo.

Yikes. We see it a couple of times every season, but it's not often noticed on the scorecard as vividly as Lee's today. After missing the green long at the par-3 third hole -- his 12th of the round -- he pitched on to 7"7" and promptly four-putted for a triple bogey. He was 3-over on the day and 11-over for the tournament. This is his second WD during an event in 87 PGA TOUR starts. Lee had arrived in great form with top 20s to conclude the Florida Swing and positioned 42nd in the FedExCup standings. UPDATE: He's committed to next week's Shell Houston Open where he hasn't competed since his debut in 2012 (T36).
Mar 27 - 1:46 PM

Francesco Molinari alerted his followers on Twitter that he has withdrawn from the Valero Texas Open due to a wrist injury.

The Italian wrote, "I'm sorry to say I had to pull out of the @valerotxopen after a wrist injury I sustained after a few holes yesterday." He was scheduled to go off the first tee at 12:20 p.m. CT. Molinari opened with a 9-over-par 39-42=81 in the morning wave. Since he started the week outside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking -- he's currently 63rd -- his only conduit to qualify for the Masters is to win the Shell Houston Open. It's a possibility that he didn't rule out in a follow-up tweet: "I hope to get better soon and be able to play in Houston next week."
Mar 27 - 12:50 PM

Zac Blair withdrew from the Valero Texas Open during his second round due to a back injury.

The rookie parred the par-3 13th hole before calling it quits. He was 11-over-par through 13 on the day and 15-over through 31 holes. This is his first mid-tournament WD in 16 PGA TOUR starts. Blair arrived in San Antonio slotted 52nd in the FedExCup standings on the strength of one top 10 and another five top 25s. He's not a front-runner for Rookie of the Year, but he on the unofficial watch list. UPDATE: If he's able, he'll peg it in next week's Shell Houston Open.
Mar 27 - 11:58 AM

Rafael Cabrera-Bello authored a 3-under-par 34-35=69 to post the early clubhouse lead of 6-under 138 on day two of the Trophee Hassan II.

For now, that's a shot behind first-round leader Adrien Saddier, who was still over an hour away from starting his second round when Cabrera-Bello handed in his card. The Spaniard's second straight 69 means he's now broken 70 in five of his last six laps at Golf du Palais Royal. He was T5 last year. The 30-year-old started with a pair of birdies at 10 and 11 before adding another at 14. He suffered a disappointing bogey at the par-5 15th and then mixed two par breakers and a single dropped shot on his second nine. The 69 has moved him up 13 spots to tied second. The key to his success so far is obvious. Cabrera-Bello has split 22 (of 26) fairways and missed just five greens in regulation over the first 36 holes.
Mar 27 - 8:42 AM




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