Chad Campbell leads after first round of the Masters

By Associated PressApril 9, 2009, 4:00 pm
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AUGUSTA, Ga. ' Chad Campbell ran off five straight birdies, the best start ever in the Masters. Jim Furyk charged up the crowd with four straight birdies late in his round. Even that notoriously slow starter, Tiger Woods, got in on the action.
 
Anyone worried that Augusta National had lost its excitement only had to listen to the sweetest of sounds Thursday.
 
The roars returned to the Masters.
 
Campbell led an assault on the record book with nine birdies in 15 holes before two late mistakes made him settle for a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead over Furyk and Hunter Mahan.
 
It is nice to hear some noises again, Sandy Lyle said.
 
Augusta National cooked up the perfect formula for record scoring ' warm sunshine and only a gentle breeze, along with inviting hole locations and greens that were soft and smooth.
 
The cheers came from all corners for 11 hours of golf that produced six eagles and 354 birdies. There were 19 rounds in the 60s, the most ever for the first round, and only four fewer than the entire tournament last year.
 
It was so easy that Woods nearly broke 70 in the opening round for the first time in his career.
 
Playing in his first major since winning the U.S. Open last summer, Woods ran off three straight birdies late in the afternoon and was poised to climb even farther up the leaderboard until he missed birdie putts of 8 feet and 4 feet, then hit a shot over the 18th green that led to a bogey and a 2-under 70.
 
Even so, it was his first time to break par in the first round of the Masters since 2002, one of four years hes won a green jacket.
 
They must have felt sorry for us, Campbell said.
 
Masters chairman Billy Payne had said this year would be an important test to show that supersizing the golf course ' it has been stretched more than 500 yards this decade ' would not take the thrills out of the Masters.
 
The weather was ideal, yes, but the club did its part, too, with greens softer than they have been all week and hole locations that allowed players to attack the pins.
 
The result was 38 rounds under par, another Masters record for the first round.
 
Greg Norman played for the first time since 2002, and the 54-year-old Shark was shocked by all the changes. Even more shocking was that he shot a 70 and was mildly disappointed.
 
Really could have shot a nice, mid-60s score today, Norman said. Im not complaining.
 
The average score was 72.25, nearly two shots easier than a year ago and the lowest since it was 72.06 in 1992.
 
This day was reminiscent of how it used to be, Woods said. You could go out there on that back nine and make some birdies, and if you caught some good gusts, you could shoot some pretty good numbers.
 
Woods figured that out even before he got to the back nine.
 
If the cheers werent enough, all he had to do was look at the white leaderboards that were filled with red numbers.
 
Larry Mize, in his rookie year on the Champions Tour, became only the second player over 50 to shoot a 67. The other was Jack Nicklaus, who did it twice.
 
Shingo Katayama also had a 67, while the group at 68 included 48-year-old Kenny Perry, former Masters champion Mike Weir, Sean OHair and former U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera.
 
British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington opened with a 69, a strong start in his bid to join Woods and Ben Hogan as the only players to win three successive majors.
 
The Irishman once said Augusta National was among the few courses that could control the scores by how the course was set up, and it was so perfect that he wondered whether the club had more power than he imagined.
 
They got a nice, sunny day with no wind, he said. Do they have control over that?
 
The course was only 10 yards shorter than last year, at least according to the scorecard, but the tees were moved forward on several holes, and the pins were in generous spots, where the ball could easily funnel down a slope near the cup.
 
It is interesting for us and it is exciting for us when there is a buzz like that out there, Harrington said. But definitely, when you hear a lot of cheers around, it makes you a little bit more anxious to be part of that, just a little more urgency to make sure you are making birdies, too.
 
Thats what made Phil Mickelson so disgusted.
 
The two-time Masters champion, who has a chance to go to No. 1 in the world with a victory, failed to take advantage of the easier hole locations and made only two birdies in his round of 73.
 
I drove it terrible, Mickelson said. I played terrible.
 
A year ago, shooting a 73 would have been a relief on a course that players felt had become more like a U.S. Open. On a day like this, and a course like this, it felt like an opportunity wasted.
 
Campbell wasted a chance to make major championship history with his incredible opening round.
 
No one had ever started a Masters with five straight birdies, and Campbell added to that with four straight birdies on the back nine, including an 8-iron that narrowly cleared the bunker at the par-3 12th and settled 5 feet away. Then there was a beautiful pitch to a foot on the 15th that put him at 9 under for the round.
 
The course record at Augusta National is 63. No one has ever shot lower in any major. Campbell could not help but think of the record, and the gallery was there to remind him.
 
They were yelling everything, Campbell said. You know, One more. Get to 10. 63. I heard it all. It was good, though.
 
But he pulled his tee shot on the 17th into the trees and made bogey, then three-putted for a bogey from 40 feet on the 18th. Even so, it was the best opening-round score at Augusta since Chris DiMarco had a 65 in 2001.
 
Furyk putted for birdie on every hole and was the only player without a bogey on his card.
 
That doesnt happen very often here, he said.
 
Woods was late to the party, not making a birdie until the ninth hole and cringing as so many birdie putts burned the edge. But he came to life with a two-putt birdie on the 13th, then a 20-foot birdie up the slope on the 14th, and another two-putt birdie from just off the back of the green on the par-5 15th.
 
You could tell the way guys were tearing the place apart, Woods said. You could definitely go get it.
 
He was not the least bit concerned dropping a shot at the end of his day, leaving him five shots behind. Woods has never broken 70 in the first round, yet he still has four green jackets.
 
And as fun as it was Thursday, no one is sure what to expect over the next three days.
 
At some stage, you really expect to be tested right to the end of your limits, Harrington said. And sometimes, the last nine holes, they set the golf course up easy. But its somewhere between now and then, and I think youll find that were will be maybe a tougher wind and a tougher day.
 

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


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    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.