17-year-old Henderson leads in Portland

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2015, 2:17 am

PORTLAND, Ore. - Brooke Henderson is trying to leave everyone else behind - and not get too far ahead of herself.

The 17-year-old Canadian took the outright lead in an LPGA event for the third time this year, birdieing three of her last four holes Friday for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot advantage in the Cambia Portland Classic.

"Just to stay within myself and play my own game," she said when asked what she has learned this season. "Playing as an amateur I was used to a lot of people, a lot of media and television and stuff like that, but it's a little bit different on the LPGA Tour, and I think that's something that I've gotten a lot more comfortable with this year.

"I think if I can just stay patient and play my own game and not focus on outside factors, I think good things will happen.

Playing in cool, breezy and sometimes wet conditions, Henderson finished with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth to reach 11-under 133 at Columbia Edgewater. She made her only bogey of the tournament at 11, but rebounded with birdies at 12, 14 and 3 before the late burst.

Henderson, who turns 18 in September, has made $466,818 in nine LPGA tournaments and needs to finish in the top 40 on the money list to earn a card for next year. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan denied Henderson's age petition last year, preventing her from playing Q-school. She earned a spot in the field in Monday qualifying.

"Right now, I'm just taking it one day at a time and one tournament at a time, but I'm really looking forward to the next couple years," Henderson said. "Hopefully, this week I can secure my card for next year and be full time on the LPGA."

Henderson is attempting to become the third player to win an LPGA tournament before turning 18, joining Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson.

"That would be really good, but I'm still a long way from that, and I realize that," Henderson said. "I have to go low and shoot some good numbers."

Caroline Masson has second. The German player shot a 64, the best round of the week.

Masson had eight birdies, four on each nine, in her second straight bogey-free round after missing the cuts in five of her six previous tournaments. Masson is winless in her three-year LPGA career. In the 2013 Portland tournament, she shot a second-round 64 on the way to a fifth-place finish.

Masson is attempting to win and make a late bid for a European team berth in the Solheim Cup, set for Sept. 18-20 in Germany.

"It's been on my mind a lot. I don't know, maybe not too much. It's the only Solheim Cup probably that's going to be in Germany while I'm playing," said Masson, who played in the 2013 Cup. "It means a lot to me, obviously, to be on that team. But you can't think about it and you can't play with that being on your mind because it just puts too much pressure on yourself."

Candie Kung, Julieta Granada and Jenny Shin were tied for third at 9 under. Kung, a four-time LPGA winner, had a 66, Granada shot 69, and Shin 68.

Amy Anderson and Sandra Changkija, tied for the first-round lead at 65, each shot 72 to drop into a tie for ninth at 7 under.

Defending champion Austin Ernst was 6 under after a 66.

No. 3 Stacy Lewis was 4 under after a 69, and No. 2 Ko shot a 72 to remain 2 under.

The 36-hole cut was at even par. Among those failing to advance were two-time Portland champion Suzann Pettersen. She was 5 over after a 74. Also missing the cut was Henderson's sister Brittany, who was 5 over after a 75.

The Portland Classic is the penultimate tournament before the U.S. Solheim Cup team is set Aug. 24. The top eight players in the Solheim Cup standings, the top two in the world ranking not among the top eight in the standings, and two captain's picks will make up the 12-player team. Six players have clinched spots in the standings.

No. 7 Angela Stanford failed to make the cut after shooting 74, while No. 8 Gerina Piller was even par after a 72. Of those outside the top eight, No. 9 Lizette Salas (70) and No. 10 Brittany Lang (71) are in the best position to make a move, as both are 3 under through 36 holes.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


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The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."