Aussie Could Win at the Masters

By Associated PressApril 6, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- This year, an Aussie might finally don the green jacket. Too bad Greg Norman won't be around to see it.
Norman, long the standard for professional golfers in Australia, failed to qualify for the Masters for the second year in a row. He only played in 2002 because of a rare foreign invitation.
Norman has plans for this weekend, and like last year, they don't include watching the tournament.
'I'll be far away from a TV,' he said last week after missing the cut at the BellSouth Classic.
That's a pity, because one of his countrymen very well might win at Augusta National. Several are solid contenders, including Adam Scott, who won The Players Championship with a gritty bogey on the final hole.
He hooked a shot into the water, then drained a nervy 10-footer to hold off Padraig Harrington by one shot.
'That really put me on the map, so to speak,' Scott said Monday. 'Hopefully, I can back it up now.'
Scott hardly is the only challenger from Down Under.
Stuart Appleby won the Mercedes Championship, then blew a four-shot lead at Bay Hill. Craig Parry won at Doral. Peter Lonard, who has never won on the PGA Tour, finished fifth in the BellSouth, one of three Australians in the top five.
And the field includes U.S. Amateur champ Nick Flanagan, a blue-collar player who became the first Aussie in 100 years to win that title. He got a chance to play nine holes with Tiger Woods on Monday.
'It might have surprised some people to see three Aussies in the top five last week, but not me,' said another Aussie, Stephen Leaney. 'Lots of us grew up watching Greg play great golf, and we're getting our chance now.
'There's a lot of good golfers over there waiting for a chance.'
Could that chance at Augusta come this weekend? For now, Scott isn't worried about it.
'I really enjoy playing here, it suits my game,' he said. 'I just want to get settled in and get in good position for the weekend before I start thinking about winning.'
A victory here eluded Norman during his 22 straight appearances, and the memorable losses have been well documented.
In 1986, he fell apart as Jack Nicklaus rallied for his sixth title, and Larry Mize chipped in on the second playoff hole the next year to beat Norman.
But the most inglorious defeat came in 1996. He led by six shots at the start of the final round, yet lost by five. A stunning 78 that day - winner Nick Faldo carded a 67 - left Norman as the first player to lose a lead that big on the final day of a major.
Back in Australia, a 15-year-old Scott was watching on TV - or at least, trying to.
'It was hard to watch,' Scott said. 'I thought he had it in the bag, he was playing so well, totally in control. That's the way golf is. It really has to be your week to win one of these things.'
Scott came to Augusta for the first time in 2002, and to help get familiar with the course, he played a practice round with Norman. The day included several pointers from the veteran on spots on the course to avoid, if possible, and even how to get from the locker room to the first tee.
'He pointed me in the right direction,' Scott said.
He hardly needs the help now. This year, Augusta National is playing hard and fast for the first time since it was lengthened by some 300 yards two years ago. The rain that plagued the course isn't expected to return until after Sunday's final round, putting a premium skills around the green.
Scott feels ready for the challenge.
'It's very much down to the short game,' he said. 'You can get yourself in some tricky spots out there. Hopefully, the chipping will be right this week.'
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - The Masters Tournament
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    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.

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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 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.


    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.