Nick Watney shoots 61 to win in Malaysia


Nick Watney shoots 61 to win in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Nick Watney missed a chance for a 59 on Sunday in his CIMB Classic victory, closing with a course-record 10-under 61 at The Mines despite a bogey at the 18th.

Needing a birdie on the par-4 18th for a 59, Watney drove into the left rough, failed to reach the green with his approach and left his long birdie pitch just short of the putting surface.

``I really wanted to finish strong ... but winning the tournament was more important than a 59 for me,'' Watney said.

The American finished at 22-under 262 and earned $1.3 million in the unofficial PGA Tour event, finishing a stroke ahead of 2011 champion Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus and three ahead of Tiger Woods. The tournament will become a full-fledged PGA Tour event next year when the tour begins its new season in October after the FedEx Cup.

``I saw Tiger got off to a good start, so I wasn't really thinking about winning when I teed off,'' he said. ``But the round sort of built momentum and things just kept getting better and better. I'm thrilled to have come away with the win.''

Van Pelt and Garrigus tied for second, each carding 66 after starting the round tied for the lead.

Needing a birdie on 18 to force a playoff, Van Pelt saved par after hitting into a greenside bunker. On Saturday, needing a closing birdie for a 59, he made a double bogey for a 62.

After five birdies on the first seven holes, Woods finished with a 63 to tie for fourth at 19 under with Chris Kirk and Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge. Kirk shot 67, and de Jonge had a 66.

The players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways for the last three rounds because the course was soaked by tropical overnight storms.

Watney won the FedEx Cup opener at Bethpage Black in August for his fifth official PGA Tour victory.

The heat, humidity and rain on the par-71 course combined to make it a unique win for Watney.

He needed his wife, Amber, to carry his bag for the last hole of the first round when caddie Chad Reynolds needed treatment for heat-stroke Thursday. Watney used a local caddie Friday and Reynolds came back for the weekend.

The 31-year-old American started Sunday tied for seventh and said he didn't even think about winning until he walked to the 13th tee with a share of the lead.

He opened with two birdies, adding more at the sixth, eighth and ninth to turn in 30. He birdied three straight from the 11th to take the outright lead at 20 under from Van Pelt.

Watney stretched the margin with another three consecutive birdies from the 15th, including a 25-foot putt from the edge of the green at the 16th. He settled for a birdie on the par-5 17th after missing an eagle putt, then ran into trouble on 18 when he found the rough off the tee and appeared to mis-hit his second shot.

``So the 59 went out the window right there,'' he said. ``I was more concerned with just winning the tournament. ``

Five players have shot 59 in official PGA Tour events. Al Geiberger did it in the 1977 Memphis Classic, Chip Beck in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational, David Duval in the 1999 Bob Hope Invitational, Paul Goydos in the 2010 John Deere Classic and Stuart Appleby in the 2010 Greenbrier Classic.

Japan's Ryo Ishikawa has the lowest round on a major tour, shooting a 12-under 58 to win the 2010 Crowns on the Japan Tour.

Woods knew he'd need something in the low 60s to have any chance of winning in his first trip back to The Mines since he won the individual and team titles at the 1999 World Cup.

``I needed to get to 20-plus,'' Woods said. ``That was the goal score at the end of the day. Looks like Nick went ahead and put it to us.''

Wood lamented some wasted opportunities in his third round that put him just about out of contention.

``I had to shoot 9-under today to have any kind of chance - yesterday's last nine holes, that's what put me in a spot where I couldn't win the championship.''

Sweden's Carl Petterson had 10 birdies - narrowly missing an eagle putt on the 17th - and a bogey in a round of 62 to move from a share of 19th into outright seventh at 18 under. Scott Piercy also made a charge, going out in 30 and having four more birdies on the back nine for a 62 to tie for 10th.

Woods will face top-ranked Rory McIlroy, second Sunday in the BMW Masters in Shanghai, in a one-on-one match in China on Monday.

``We'll both probably be a little bit tired,'' Woods said. ``But we're going to try and put on a good show, shoot a low round and have a little bit of fun.''

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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 18, 39 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at next year’s free agents

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens.

Note: I’m not including Brandon Scherff here because the team has a fifth-year option on him that they surely will activate before the May 2 deadline.

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard).

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility.

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon.

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup.

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight.

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Regarding the reported visit of defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins with the Redskins:


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 131
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 175

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