Crenshaw Seeks First Champions Win

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 3M ChampionshipBLAINE, Minn. -- Ben Crenshaw is still seeking his first win on the PGA Champions Tour, and hoping a trip to Minnesota will provide his game with a spark.
Crenshaw returns this weekend to the scene of his best finish as a senior when the tour stops for the 3M Championship at the Tournament Players Club of the Twin Cities.
Last year, Crenshaw finished in a tie for fourth place in the tournament, two shots behind winner Wayne Levi. He would have fared much better if not for the 14th hole, a par-4 dogleg protected by water on the left. After parring the hole in his first round, Crenshaw was a combined 5-over on No. 14 the next two days - marring an otherwise stellar tournament.
'I'd like to make as many birdies as I did here last year,' Crenshaw said after a practice round Wednesday. 'I did a lot of good things here last year. But I did a lot of squirrely things too.'

Always known for his putting, Crenshaw remains solid on the greens - ranking seventh on the tour in putting average. But he's struggled with the rest of the game and is 75th on the tour's money list this year - with his best finish a tie for 20th at the Bruno's Memorial Classic in May.
'I've not been playing with a lot of confidence lately. It's been really lean,' said Crenshaw, whose last victory came in the 1995 Masters. 'But I'm trying to make some changes. I'm trying to change my footwork a little bit. I've got to get back to fundamentals.'
Crenshaw won't be the only player glad to see Minnesota, where local temperatures are expected to be in the upper 70s with low humidity when play begins Friday. That's a stark contrast to the sweltering conditions the players slogged through last week at the U.S. Senior Open Championship in St. Louis.
'Sunday was brutal,' said Pete Oakley, who won the Senior British Open in Northern Ireland one week earlier. 'I hadn't worn a short-sleeved shirt in a while. I'm not used to 90 degrees after playing in Europe.'
The final two rounds of the U.S. Senior Open were played last Sunday because heavy rain made play impossible on Friday. After walking 36 holes a mere four months after receiving an artificial hip, Open winner Peter Jacobsen is taking a week off. But 13 of this year's 17 tour champions are in the field this weekend - including two-time winners Hale Irwin, Craig Stadler, Jim Thorpe and Bruce Fleisher.
Crenshaw, for one, isn't expecting a letdown after last week's grueling major.
'This is a very competitive tour,' he said. 'These guys are happy to play when they can - it's the old competition factor. If you're playing well, you always want to play.'
Last year, Levi carded three sub-70 rounds, and his 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday gave him a one-shot victory over Morris Hatalsky and Gil Morgan. It was his first win on the Champions Tour and his first in a PGA-sponsored event since the 1990 Canadian Open.
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.