Golf Links: Sunday, June 25 news and updates

Jun 24, 2017; Cromwell, CT, USA; General view of the 15th hole as Jordan Spieth and Troy Merritt and Patrick Reed walk to the green the third round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2017; Cromwell, CT, USA; General view of the 15th hole as Jordan Spieth and Troy Merritt and Patrick Reed walk to the green the third round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Golf Links connects you to Sunday morning’s golf news: final rounds at the Travelers, BMW International  and NW Arkansas Championship top the headlines, with Michelle Wie and Bruce Lietzke also making a bit of golf news.

The ProGolfNow Golf Links column provides a quick way to get your Sunday morning golf news and stay on top of the game, wherever it’s being played.

Let’s first touch base with the PGA TOUR Champions event that’s winding up in Wisconsin today.  Paul Broadhurst and Scott Verplank are sharing a 10-under par, one stroke lead over Gene Sauers, Fred Couples, and Steve Stricker going into the final round. This thing isn’t close to being settled and if you enjoy a good shootout among a bunch of guys who know how to get it done, settle down for Golf Channel coverage that begins at 12:30pm ET.

At the’s Lincoln Land Charity Classic Tom Whitney dropped back a notch and will start the final round today sharing the second spot on the board with Adam Schenk. They’ll both be chasing Kyle Thompson, who starts the final round in Illinois with a two stroke edge.

Sunday at the Travelers, BMW International, and NW Arkansas

At the Travelers Championship, Jordan Spieth is poised for a wire-to-wire victory and his 10th PGA TOUR championship after a dramatic 18th hole birdie that pushed him back into solo first. With Boo Weekly trailing by one and Daniel Berger by two, Spieth still has some work to do before he can claim the win today.

Here’s a sample of Spieth’s 3rd round game, a fine chip-in birdie on the par-5 6th hole.

Meanwhile, a bit down the leaderboard, Rory McIlroy’s putting woes continue. He’s going into the final round with a SG: putting -3.594 for the Travelers. ProGolfNow’s Brandon Raper takes a closer look at McIlroy’s situation.

PGA TOUR LIVE begins coverage of the Travelers final round at 10am ET. Golf Channel pick up with its televised broadcast at 1pm ET and CBS takes over at 3pm ET. And if you’re spending Sunday playing some golf yourself, you can still watch the final round Travelers action on Golf Channel’s 8pm ET rebroadcast.

A third round cut at the European Tour’s BMW International Open narrowed the field to 78, with Sergio Garcia and Richard Bland sharing a 13-under par, one stroke lead going into today’s final round. Garcia has persistently and consistently clawed his way to the top of the BMW International leaderboard and I look for him to deliver the best he has today. Bland won’t go down without a fight. He’s playing for his first European Tour championship.

Hopes are fading for defending champion Henrik Stenson, who goes into the final round at 8-under and trailing Garcia and Bland by five shots. That’s a big gap to close against a guy like Garcia,  particularly if his putter is still hot, although it is golf and miracles do happen.

Watch the BMW International Open final round action on Golf Channel beginning at 6:30am ET. Will Garcia close the deal? I’m thinking that’s the way this one will finish out.

In Arkansas Stacy Lewis whipped the gallery into a frenzy of Wooo Pig Sooie calls with a birdie on the 18th but So Yeon Ryu grabbed the lead Saturday at the WalMart NW Arkansas Championship with a sizzling 10-under 61. It wasn’t quite as powerful as the hog calls that emanate from Razorback Stadium, but then this was a golf match, not a football game!

Still, you can’t deny the synergistic power of the gallery!

Ryu will go into Sunday’s final round with a comfortable five stroke lead over Lewis and Moriya Jutanugarn, a big gap to close in one round of golf.

Ryu, who’s starting Sunday at 16-under par, is very likely to best Lydia Ko’s 17-under 54-hole record that she set last year at the event, says she doesn’t like to think about her game that way.

"I never see the big picture. I only focus on my ball, only on one hole, instead of thinking of the whole thing. I think that’s the main key, just, do not think about your career low score or win the tournament, just be the best. That’s the best way to play well."

Golf Channel coverage of the final NW Arkansas Championship begins at 5pm ET.

Golf Links Notes: Michelle Wie’s very fine day

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Michelle Wie continues to claw her way back into the upper tier of the women’s game. A very fine eagle on the par-5 finishing hole at the WalMart NW Arkansas Championship put Wie into a tie for 10th place going into Sunday’s final round.

Although she’s trailing leader So Yeon Ryu by 10 strokes, that’s not so important as her steady rise in the Solheim Cup rankings. With her 2nd place Meijer LPGA Classic finish last week, Wie edged into the top eight, which would secure her a spot on Team USA if selections were made today. However, with weeks of competition remaining before final selection, Wie says she can’t afford to relax. She’s thinking about those double Solheim Cup points on the line next week at Olympia Fields.

"I’m trying to gain some confidence before going to the KPMG Women’s PGA next week]."

Golf Links Notes: “Worse things than losing your hair”

That’s how Bruce Lietzke described his glioblastoma to Golf Digest’s Tim Rosaforte. Lietzke, who won 13 PGA TOUR events and the 2003 U.S. Senior Open, and who served as one of Captain Ben Crenshaw’s assistants for the 1999 Ryder Cup, is taking his diagnosis, surgery to remove the brain tumor, and not particularly optimistic long-term prognosis in stride.

Lietzke reported to Rosaforte:

"My blood work is good, but it’s still wait and see. They [his doctors] still believe there still may be cancer cells up there. That’s the nature of this kind of cancer."

Golf Links Notes: A pair of aces

The odds of any one of us sinking an ace are very high (or low, depending on which way your count): 12,000 to 1. The odds of two aces on the same hole within a single foursome in the same round? Astronomical – 1 in 17,000,000.

But this is golf, which will inevitably defy the odds, as it did this week at Lanark Golf Club in Scotland.  Mark Mcleod, a 1 handicapper, and Hugh Kinniburgh, a four handicapper, combined for a birdie two on the par-3 10th hole while competing in a match play event.

Here’s how Mcleod described his shot:

"It was downwind, the pin was middle left and I hit a smooth wedge. It was the perfect shot, it took a bounce, then disappeared. The green was covered in shadows as it’s surrounded by trees and Hugh said, ‘Good shot Mark’, so I knew it was close and had put the pressure on."

Then Kinniburgh took his shot and the pair walked to the green. There were no balls on it. They searched the rough behind the green before they checked the hole, where they found both balls!

Mcleod reported,

"I cannot repeat what was said afterwards but we were going mental – absolutely mental."

Next: Top 10 clutch shots in U.S. Open history

What do you think? Will Spieth pick up his 10th PGA TOUR championship today? Will Garcia dig deep and prevail? Can Lewis catch Ryu? Do you have an ace story to march Mcleod’s and Kinniburgh’s?