Bryan continues hot play, leads Deere

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2016, 1:38 am

SILVIS, Ill. - Wesley Bryan took the lead in the rain-delayed John Deere Classic on Friday, five days after earning a PGA Tour card with his third Web.com Tour victory of the year.

Bryan played 26 holes in 10 under Friday at TPC Deere Run, birdieing three of the final holes to finish off a first-round 66 and shooting a 64 in the second round to reach 12-under 130.

''Been hitting the ball great all week, really the last couple weeks,'' Bryan said. ''Struck it well, made the putts when I needed to, and here we are.''

Area favorite Zach Johnson faced a long day Saturday after not even getting onto the course Friday.

Play resumed five hours late at noon after nearly 2.4 inches of rain overnight - on top of the inch Thursday morning that delayed play 3 1/2 hours Thursday morning and afternoon. Because of the wet conditions, the players were allowed use preferred lies in the fairways in the second round.

Bryan has made a fast rise since focusing on tournament golf last year after working as a trick-shot artist with brother George. The 26-year-old former South Carolina player dominated the Web.com Tour this season, winning in Louisiana, Mexico and Kansas and earning $449,392 in 13 starts.

''Just knowing that I've been in contention and been able to hit the shots that I needed to on that level, I mean, there's a lot of really good players out there, and it's just as hard to win a golf tournament out there as it is out here, I presume,'' Bryan said. ''Just knowing that I've been there and been able to hit the shots under pressure, I think should help me out moving forward.''


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In his bogey-free second round that began on No. 10, Bryan birdied five of the last seven holes in the on his opening nine, and added birdies on the par-5 second and par-3 seventh.

''The second round I was able to fire at a lot more flags just because we had ball in hand,'' Bryan said. ''The course is not really that long, so got a lot of short and mid-irons into these greens, and the ball is just hitting and stopping, you don't really have to worry about it spinning back too much.

''They're soft enough to where they're just kind of hitting and reacting, really, really soft. So was able to fire at a few more flags that maybe I wouldn't have normally gone after.''

Steve Marino was a stroke back after rounds of 66 and 65.

''I'm happy to be done,'' Marino said. ''Can't wait to get out of this shirt. It's just so humid out there. ... I played really well today. I played really well yesterday. Finally, feel like I'm starting to come around. It's been a struggle all year. It's nice to kind of see things coming together.''

Tom Gillis shot 64-68 to reach 10 under. Kyle Stanley was 9 under after rounds of 67 and 66.

Johnson opened with a 65 on Thursday. The 2012 tournament winner and two-time major champion is from nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Playing partner Steve Stricker had a 70 on Thursday. The 49-year-old Stricker, a former University of Illinois player from Wisconsin, won the event in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

NCAA champion Aaron Wise was 3 under overall with three holes left. Making his PGA Tour debut as a pro, the former Oregon player won a PGA Tour Canada event two weeks ago in Edmonton, Alberta.

Jordan Spieth chose not to defend his title because he didn't think it would be appropriate in light of his decision to skip the Rio Olympics.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x