Chopra Wins in Mercedes in Playoff

By Associated PressJanuary 7, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Mercedes Benz ChampionshipKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Daniel Chopra beat Steve Stricker with a birdie at the fourth playoff hole Sunday to win the Mercedes-Benz Championship, bringing a thrilling end to the PGA TOUR's 2008 season-opener.
 
Chopra saw a three-shot lead slip away over the last five holes of regulation as Stricker made a run down the stretch, finally catching the Swede with a birdie at the 18th hole.
 
They finished regulation tied at 18-under 274 and followed each other around during the first three playoff holes, hitting similar shots for the same results: three straight pars.
 
Stricker hit an errant drive into the rough at the fourth extra hole, the par- four ninth, a costly shot that was followed by Chopra's hybrid onto the green.
 
After Stricker chipped 15 feet past the hole, Chopra was left tortured by a 23-foot eagle putt that hung impossibly on the edge of the cup. But it didn't matter.
 
Chopra tapped -- tapped -- in for his birdie, while Stricker missed his mid- range try. The end came more than an hour after Chopra missed by inches on a birdie putt at the 18th hole that would have given him the win in regulation.
 
He also left a birdie putt on the edge of the cup at the second playoff hole, then missed a 19-footer with the sun in his eyes on the third extra hole.
 
All the drama ended in Chopra's second career PGA TOUR win -- his second victory in three starts, actually, after going more than 130 starts and nearly four seasons without one.
 
'All those putts in the playoff and regulation I hit exactly the way I wanted. It just felt like there was a goalie in the hole. I though maybe it wasn't meant to be,' said Chopra, who closed with a 7-under 66 in the final round.
 
He won $1.1 million and a Mercedes-Benz.
 
Stricker fired a nine-under 64 on Sunday, tied with Hunter Mahan for the low round of the tournament, and played his last 14 holes in regulation at 9- under par.
 
The two-time reigning Comeback Player of the Year, Stricker earned his spot in this field by winning last year's Barclays, the first event of the new playoffs.
 
His tournament this week began with a 38 on the front nine on Thursday.
 
'I didn't get off to a good start this week and was kind of behind the eight ball. But from then on I played really solid,' said Stricker. 'I just came up a little short.'
 
Stephen Ames shot a seven-under 66 and finished alone in third place at 17- under 275, one shot out of the playoff. Mike Weir, the leader after the second and third rounds, closed with a 70 Sunday and was another stroke further back at 276.
 
Mahan (64), Jim Furyk (68) and Nick Watney (71) finished at 278.
 
The drama for Chopra on Sunday wasn't limited to just the playoff. After beginning the round two shots off Weir's overnight lead, he was ahead by two strokes after making his fourth birdie at the seventh hole.
 
Stricker pulled even when he holed out for an eagle ahead at the par-four 12th, but Chopra responded with three consecutive birdies from the 11th hole to take a three-shot lead.
 
Yet Stricker wouldn't go away. He two-putted for a birdie at the par-five 15th to get within a couple shots again, and made another birdie at the 16th to close the gap to one.
 
He lipped out a birdie putt at the 17th, then turned a poor drive into his closing birdie at the 18th by rolling in a 19-foot putt, tying Chopra for the lead
 
'I was so impressed by how well he was chasing considering I was making birdies,' Chopra said.
 
Chopra finished regulation with five consecutive pars. The 15th hole produced a bizarre series when he duffed a chip into a sprinkler hole -- a fortunate break considering the ball would have rolled back down the fairway.
 
Chopra smashed his longest drive of the tournament at the 18th hole in regulation, sending it 366 yards into prime position on the fairway. But he flew the green with his approach, getting relief from the grandstand.
 
After a soft chip rolled to 13 feet, Chopra came up about an inch short on his birdie try to force the playoff. It was the first in a series of cruel misses.
 
Stricker also had a run-in with oddity. At the first playoff hole, the par- five 18th, after he missed the green short with his second shot, Stricker opted to putt the ball from more than 100 feet.
 
His ball hit Chopra's mark a few yards onto the green, skipping enough to leave his try 10 feet short of the cup. Both players eventually missed birdie putts, but Stricker regretted afterwards not at least asking Chopra to use a smaller mark.
 
'It was disappointing, but I'm happy with the way I played this week,' Sticker said. 'It's just building blocks for me. I'm going in the right direction.'
 
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    CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.06 million

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

    1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
    2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
    T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
    T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
    T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
    T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
    T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
    T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
    T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
    T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
    T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
    T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
    T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
    T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
    T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
    T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
    T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
    T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
    T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
    T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
    T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
    T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
    T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
    T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
    T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
    T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
    T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
    T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
    T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
    T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
    T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
    T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
    T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
    T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
    T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
    T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
    T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
    T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
    T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
    T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
    T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
    T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
    T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
    T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
    T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
    T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
    T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
    T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
    T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
    T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
    T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
    T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
    T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
    T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
    T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
    T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
    T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
    T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
    T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
    T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
    T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
    T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
    T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
    T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
    T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
    T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
    T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
    T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
    T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
    T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
    T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
    T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
    T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
    T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
    75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
    76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
    77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.