Spieth goes out in style wins HP Boys

By Ajga StaffFebruary 22, 2011, 4:43 am

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Jordan Spieth of Dallas ended his storied AJGA career by posting a 10-under-par total and a four-shot victory Monday at the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. His final-round 70 pushed him ahead of second-round co-leader Cody Proveaux of Leesville, S.C., who finished second at 6-under-par.

“The last two years it kind of hurt to see (Patrick) Winther and then Bobby (Wyatt) win because I was so close, so it’s really good to close it out and see my name alongside Tiger, David Duval and all the other past champions,” said Spieth, who finished second each of the last two years.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods was a 54-hole stroke play competition played on the par-72, 7,345-yard Fazio Championship Course at The Club at Carlton Woods. The 78-player field featured players from 22 states and nine foreign countries, and included 27 Rolex Junior All-Americans.

Paired together all three rounds, Spieth and Proveaux played evenly throughout the tournament. In fact, only six two-shot swings occurred between the two during the 54 holes, and Spieth owned the only two during the pivotal final round.

On the front nine, Spieth birdied No. 7 while Proveaux made bogey, which pushed Spieth to a three-shot lead through eight holes. Proveaux knotted the score at 8-under-par through 11, but the tournament’s turning point came on the 438-yard, par-4 13th.

Spieth’s tee shot narrowly stayed above the hazard line, and the ensuing 141-yard pitching wedge led to a tap-in birdie. When Proveaux missed the green and failed to save par, Spieth had a three-shot lead with five holes to play.

“I decided that if you get a lucky break, you might as well take advantage of it,” Spieth said. “When it comes down to one-on-one with somebody else, if you can make a birdie when they make a bogey, it’s just a huge momentum swing. It’s not just two strokes, you get all the adrenaline on your side and it makes it a lot easier from then on in.”

With the win, Spieth ends his AJGA career with five victories and 18 consecutive AJGA top-10 finishes. The last time he finished outside the top 10 was when he finished 21st at the 2007 Ping Invitational.

“I’d sum it up as a really good step in the right direction,” Spieth said of his AJGA career. “With the goal being to be the best in the world some day, to beat the best juniors is always a great step and now I have to move on and play against the best college players and hopefully after that move into the pros.”

For Proveaux, the runner-up finish is another piece to a good start to his 2011 season. In November, he opened with a win at the 2010 Polo Golf Junior Classic. He then followed it with a T15 showing at the Sea Pines Junior Heritage.

“I was coming off a big win at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and I thought it’d be awesome to win back-to-back tournaments, but I just didn’t have it today,” said Proveaux, who has verbally committed to Clemson. “I had a few stretches where I was back in it, but Jordan pulled away when I made a mistake. It was a lot of fun, I just hope to do a little better next time.”

Wyndham Clark of Greenwood Village, Colo., finished third at 2-under-par, while Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Fla., finished fourth at 1-over-par. AJ McInerney of Henderson, Nev., and Billy Kennerly of Alpharetta, Ga., finished tied for fifth at 2-over-par.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.