Andrade shoots 65, co-leads Mississippi with Funk

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2014, 12:11 am

SAUCIER, Miss. - Billy Andrade hasn't played much competitive golf over the past four years. It was hard to tell on Saturday.

The 50-year-old Andrade had the low round of the day, firing a 7-under 65 to jump into a tie for the lead with Fred Funk after the second round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.

Andrade made nine birdies on Saturday, including a stretch of six over seven holes midway through the round. The exclamation point came on the final hole, when he drained a 20-foot putt for birdie.

It's the second time in less than a year that Andrade has been in contention to win a tournament in the Magnolia State. He finished fifth at the Sanderson Farms Classic in Madison, Miss., last summer, which was easily his best finish in three starts on the PGA Tour last year.

''I have no idea what it is about Mississippi,'' Andrade said laughing. ''But right now, I absolutely love it.''

Andrade is playing in just his fourth Champions Tour event. His best finish was eighth place at the ACE Group Classic in February.

Fred Couples started the day with a two-stroke lead, but fell into a tie for second place after shooting a 71. Jay Haas and Jeff Maggert both had 69 to join Couples one stroke behind the leaders.

Andrade has been mostly on the sidelines the past four years, working part time as an analyst for the Golf Channel. He's started just eight tournaments on the PGA Tour since 2010 and said it's been nice to play several events in a row on the Champions Tour since he turned 50 to regain some consistency.

''It was kind of a swirly, windy day,'' Andrade said. ''We didn't know if the wind was helping us or hurting us on some holes. But I got off to a nice start with a birdie on the first hole and then got into a nice rhythm.''

Andrade and Funk are at 8-under 136 for the tournament. Funk shot a 67 on Saturday.

''I like coming here because it's a pretty difficult golf course and I like hard golf courses,'' Funk said. ''When you're playing well, you try to get a little separation, although we're not too separated on the board right now.''

There are 11 players within three shots of the lead.

Couples had a good start on Saturday, going 2-under through his first six holes. But he had 11 pars and a bogey the rest of the way to finish at 71, which snapped his streak of 12 straight rounds on the Champions Tour in the 60s.

The streak was one shy of Hale Irwin's record set in 1999.

''It was just a little sloppy,'' Couples said. ''I didn't make a birdie on the back nine, so that's a lot of holes without making a birdie.''

David Frost was disqualified Saturday after removing a stone in a bunker on Friday, which should have resulted in a two-stroke penalty. A Champions Tour official said Frost self-reported the violation after Saturday's round.

Frost was tied for sixth place at 6-under before his disqualification.

Because of expected rain, the tee times have been moved earlier for Sunday's final round. The leaders are scheduled to tee off at 10 a.m. CT.

Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

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.