Calcavecchia trails Brooks in Iowa

By Associated PressJune 5, 2011, 12:06 am

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Mark Brooks knows what it’s like to be in the hunt for a championship on the final day. It’s just been awhile since that’s happened.

Brooks has put himself atop the leaderboard heading into the final round of the Principal Charity Classic, shooting a 4-under 67 on Saturday for a one-stroke edge over Mark Calcavecchia.

“I think the hard part of not being right in the hunt is you’re not as familiar with your tendencies at the time,” Brooks said. “That’s what you get from playing all the time. You know, I need to fight off this hook or fight off that cut. You know that a lot better when you’re playing 30 tournaments a year.”

This is just the sixth Champions Tour event for Brooks, who turned 50 in March, and he’s within reach of his first victory since the 1996 PGA Championship. He survived a shaky finish, salvaging a bogey on 18 after twice hitting into bunkers, and finished 36 holes at 10-under 132.

Calcavecchia, playing in the same group as Brooks, closed with three straight pars after an eagle on 15 to wind up with a 66, putting him 9 under. Peter Senior (67) and 2002 winner Bob Gilder (66) were 8 under.

“It’s fun,” Brooks said, savoring his spot atop the leaderboard. “There are good galleries here, it’s a great tournament. It feels like a real tournament.”

The weather calmed after Friday’s breezy conditions and Glen Oaks yielded far lower scores as a result, including a 64 by Jay Don Blake that was one off the tournament record. It was the day’s best score and left Blake 6 under heading into Sunday.

There were 58 subpar scores Saturday after just 23 in the first round.

Brooks, who lost to Retief Goosen in a playoff at the 2001 U.S. Open, was in danger of losing the lead when he hit out of one fairway bunker and landed in another on 18. His next shot, to the back of the green, left him with a 45-foot putt for par and he got close enough for little more than a tap-in for bogey.

Calcavecchia had a chance to tie for the lead, but rammed his birdie putt on 18 past the hole before nailing his comebacker.

Brooks thought he, Calcavecchia and Senior, who also played in the final group, left a lot of makeable putts on the greens.

“Our whole group could have shot lower today,” Brooks said. “There weren’t a whole lot of putts being made. Our whole group could have shot better scores with good putting.”

Brooks just missed a hole-in-one on No. 5, the ball skidding inches right of the cup. His 5-footer for birdie spun out and he had to settle for par. He came back with a birdie on 8 and an eagle on No. 9 after a nice 7-iron from 195 yards, but Calcavecchia kept plugging away and staying with him.

Even on the day through six holes, Calcavecchia birdied four of the next seven, then offset a bogey on 14 by sticking a 5-iron to 15 feet on No. 15 and sinking the putt for an eagle. He was kicking himself after missing a 3-footer for birdie on 17, but settled down to finish with his par on 18 after overshooting his birdie putt.

“I was glad I made that one after yanking that three-footer on the hole before,” Calcavecchia said.

Gilder, playing in the 178th straight tournament for which he was eligible, had five birdies in a bogey-free round. His streak will end with this tournament because he leaves Monday for a two-week trip to Europe and will miss the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn starting June 10.

Dana Quigley’s record streak of 278 is out of reach, Gilder said.

“There aren’t enough tournaments,” he said. “I’d have to play until I was 80.”

Still, he’ll head off on vacation feeling better about his game than he has for a while.

“It’s been a tough year,” said Gilder, whose best finish has been a tie for 56th. “But some of things I’ve been working on are starting to pay off now. I’m very happy with (the round), very happy.”

Senior stayed close to the lead with six birdies in the first 11 holes. After a bogey on 12, he finished with six pars.

Blake knocked in a sand wedge from 40 yards for an eagle on 11 and was on track to at least match the tournament record after a birdie on 15 dropped him to 8 under for the day. But he ran into trouble on 17 when his tee shot sailed into the long grass right of the fairway, though he almost salvaged par when his chip stopped on the lip of the cup.

“I was lucky to make bogey on that hole,” Blake said.

He almost got it back on 18, but his birdie putt from 18 feet curled around the left side of the hole.

Fleisher, playing in the same group as Blake, seemed headed for a sensational round when he birdied seven of the first 10 holes. But he cooled off, bogeyed 17 and finished 6 under for the day.

“He was making birdies on every hole,” Blake said. “I made an eagle and I still wasn’t even with him. So I was just trying to keep up with Bruce. We both played pretty well out there and kind of fed off each other.”

Calcavecchia joined the senior circuit last year and is still looking for his first victory after winning 13 times on the PGA Tour. He said Brooks has to be the favorite to finish the deal on Sunday.

“It’s a perfect course for him,” Calcavecchia said. “He’ll be tough to beat.”

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.