Bradley leads Byron Nelson after record-setting 60

By Associated PressMay 17, 2013, 1:58 am

IRVING, Texas – Keegan Bradley had no thoughts about a course record, or the possibility of a 59, after consecutive bogeys in the middle of his opening round at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Until his 136-yard wedge shot on his final hole Thursday.

''It was going right at it. (A 59) crossed my mind for a second, and it would be unbelievable if I buried this,'' Bradley said. ''But I had 3 feet to shoot 60. I was actually very nervous, uncomfortable over it and thank God I made it.''

Bradley shot 10-under 60, completed by that short birdie at the 428-yard ninth hole, to break the TPC Four Seasons course record and match the best round ever at the Nelson. He topped his career PGA Tour best by three strokes and equaled Phil Mickelson's opening 60 at Phoenix as the best round on the Tour this season.

After missing the fairways off the tees and making bogeys at No. 18 and then No. 1, the latter starting his back nine when he drove into a bunker and had a par putt lip out of the cup, Bradley was at 3 under. He made a 17-foot birdie putt at the 221-yard second hole, and was 7 under his final eight holes with an eagle-birdie-birdie finish.


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''It was rare to match up a ball-striking day and make everything. ... It happened today,'' Bradley said. ''The hole looked huge. Even the putts I missed almost went in.''

The 60, with 10 birdies and an eagle 3 at the 542-yard seventh, gave Bradley a three-stroke lead over 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.

Robert Karlsson, Harris English and Ted Potter Jr. shot 64, and two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, Ryan Palmer and Camilo Villegas were at 65.

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China, shot 70 in his second tournament since making the cut at the Masters. The eighth-grader also made the cut in New Orleans three weeks ago.

Guan was among 97 players at par or better – 76 were under par – on the 7,166-yard course after 1 1/2 inches of rain fell on the course Wednesday night from a storm system that spawned at least 13 tornadoes and killed at least six people in North Texas. There was no significant damage to the course, where players were able to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways.

''Seems like you don't get many of those opportunities, so being out here first was a bit of an advantage,'' said Schwartzel, who hit all 18 greens in regulation. ''So much rain, it softened up. Played long off the tee, but it's a big advantage going into the greens with the second shot. ... You could attack flags.''

Arron Oberholser shot 60 in the second round of the 2006 Nelson on the Cottonwood Valley course across the street that used to be used the first two rounds. Sam Snead shot 60 in the 1957 tournament at Glen Lakes Country Club, which at the time tied the PGA Tour record.

Five players have shot 59 in official PGA Tour events. Al Geiberger had the first in the 1977 Memphis Classic, while Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby had the last three years ago. Ryo Ishikawa had the lowest round on a major tour, shooting a 12-under 58 on the Japan Tour in 2010.

Bradley, the nephew of former LPGA Tour star Pat Bradley, got his first PGA Tour victory when he won a one-hole playoff with Palmer at the Nelson two years ago. Bradley has four consecutive top-10 finishes earlier this season, but missed the cuts in his last two tournaments.

Palmer's opening 65 came two days after attending the funeral of one of his best friends, who was killed in a car accident last week. Palmer found out about Clay Aderholt's accident while at The Players Championship, where with a heavy heart and his friend's initials on his cap he tied for fifth.

''Trying to get back in the swing of things,'' said Palmer, who lives in nearby Colleyville. ''Being at home is nice, my own bed, so that made it easier when I got back (from the funeral) Tuesday night.''

Palmer gave the white cap that he wore Sunday to Aderholt's wife and signed it to his 4-year-old son. He gave a black cap with the initials to his late friend's father.

''We will always remember him and maybe we can honor him even more on Sunday afternoon,'' Palmer said.

Defending Nelson champion Jason Dufner shot a 70 in a group with good friends Bradley and Matt Kuchar (69).

''It was a regular round with Duff and Kuch. It felt like a Saturday morning round with my buddies,'' Bradley said. ''It felt easy.''

There were even pre-round shenanigans when Bradley went into the champions' locker room Thursday morning to find his clubs spread out on the floor and his open umbrella near his empty golf bag, courtesy of Dufner.

''He loves to mess with me,'' said Bradley, who slyly retaliated. ''I'm too scared to do anything too much because I don't know what he will do. He could throw my clubs in the water. ... I did remove something from his locker that he is going to have trouble finding and he's going to need.''

Guan had a bogey at the par-3 second after his tee shot went off the back of the green. He blasted out of a bunker to 3 feet for a birdie at the seventh hole, then got under par with a 13-foot birdie putt at the ninth hole. A three-putt bogey at the 406-yard 14th dropped him back to even.

''I missed a couple of birdie putts in the middle but overall not a bad round,'' Guan said. ''After the Masters and New Orleans, I still feel nervous on the first tee but not too much, and I handle it pretty good in the middle fairway and kept it going.''


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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



FALLING

Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”