Allen maintains Schwab Cup Championship lead

By Associated PressNovember 8, 2015, 12:05 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Michael Allen held onto the lead Saturday in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and playing partner Bernhard Langer pulled within a stroke to easily remain in position to take the points title.

Allen shot a 1-under 69, making six birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey in breezy conditions on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course. He had a 12-under 198 total.

The 56-year-old Scottsdale resident birdied the par-3 11th to open a six-stroke lead, then played the next four holes in 4 over. He rebounded with a birdie on the par-3 17th and parred the par-5 18th.

"I didn't really know what my lead was," Allen said. "It probably would have been a good idea to look at a board at that point, but I was just trying to do what I've been doing all week, which is just try and hit good shots, make birdies and pars. I don't think my strategy would have changed any."

Langer birdied the final two holes for a 68. The 58-year-old German star is competing with Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Maggert for the Charles Schwab Cup points title and a $1 million annuity.

Langer began the week third in the standings, 66 points behind Montgomerie and 27 behind Maggert, in a bid to win the title for the second straight year and record third time overall.

"Obviously, I'm in a unique situation this week where I'm sort of keeping one eye on what's happening there with Monty and Maggert and I'm trying to win the tournament at the same time," Langer said.

With players receiving a point for every $500 earned in the $2.5 million tournament, Langer started $33,000 behind Montgomerie and $13,500 behind Maggert. With their current positions, Langer would earn $254,000, Montgomerie $40,500, and Maggert $34,000. Langer also is in position to top the money list.

Montgomerie had a 71 and was tied for 18th in the 30-man field at 1 under. Maggert was tied for 21st at even par after a 71. The runner-up in the points competition will receive a $500,000 annuity, and the third-place finisher will get a $300,000 annuity.

"Right now it's looking good and it's still a shootout for the title as well," Langer said. "Michael played phenomenal on the front and wheels came off a little bit in the middle there, early back nine, and then he pulled himself together again. It's still anybody's ball game at this point, the tournament."

Allen made a double bogey on the par-4 12th after driving into the desert.

"I just think let up for a shot there and it kind of, it really got me. Is that what happened carrying on? Who really knows.I felt like I overcame it all right and I didn't feel like, 'Oh, boy, I'm uptight and not doing well.' I kind of just tried to shrug it off and kind of keep moving forward."

He bogeyed the par-3 13th, then topped a long-iron approach into the water on the par-4 15th and holed a 10-footer to escape with bogey.

"I was a little out of sorts and probably just didn't go through the routine quite properly," Allen said. "I don't know because it was a perfect number. ... I guess it happens once in a while in golf."

He made an 18-foot birdie putt on 17, and missed a birdie chance on 18 when he pulled his 8-footer to the right.

"I feel good," Allen said. "I felt like I just lost my swing a little bit there and maybe really my focus more than my swing."

Allen began the day with a two-stroke lead after opening with rounds of 65 and 64. He won the last of his seven victories on the 50-and-over tour in October 2014.

Mark O'Meara, Stephen Ames and Billy Andrade were tied for third at 8 under. O'Meara shot 66, Ames 67, and Andrade 70. Ames was the last player to get into the field, jumping from 31st to 30th on the money list with a ninth-place tie last week at Newport Beach.

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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.