Crowded leaderboard early in Scottsdale

By Associated PressOctober 23, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Frys.com OpenSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. ' The shootout is on in the desert.
 
Doug LaBelle II and Jeff Mallinger shot 7-under 63s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in what promises to be a flurry of birdies at the Frys.com Open.
 
Its fun to make a lot of birdies, said LaBelle, who lives in north Phoenix, a 10-minute drive from the tournament. We know were going to have to make some to have a chance to win.
 
Richard Johnson, the 2007 Nationwide Tour earnings leader who has struggled in his first PGA Tour season, was one shot back at 64.
 
Aaron Oberholser was among six players to shoot 65s under ideal conditions ' cloudless and temperatures in the mid-80s, on the 7,125-yard Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club in north Scottsdale.
 
Oberholser, winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two years ago, is in his second tournament after recovering from two surgeries on his left wrist in a span nine months.
 
I dont know if this is going to give me great confidence, he said, but its definitely building in that direction.
 
Chris Stroud, Mathias Gronberg, J.J. Henry, Marco Dawson and Todd Demsey also opened with 65s.
 
Defending champion Mike Weir shot a 66. Last year in the inaugural event, the Canadian star won his first tour title since February 2004, beating Australias Mark Hensby by a stroke.
 
The Frys event, with a first prize of $900,000, features players scrambling to move up on the rankings, many of them trying to secure a tour card for next season.
 
The Fall Series is an opportunity for them to gather confidence as well as money.
 
Theres a lot of players out here that have a ton of ability, a lot more than me, Stroud said, and if you can just get your mind in the right position, and know what youre doing every day, you can do pretty much anything, I believe.
 
Mallinger, in his second season on the tour, has five career third-place finishes, including two third-place ties this year. The most recent was last week at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas. He ranks 64th on this years money list.
 
Playing the back nine first with an afternoon tee time, he made the turn at 5-under 30. He finished with eight birdies and one bogey.
 
Its going to be a shootout, he said. You take last week, I think I was 22 under and I didnt win the golf tournament. You have to make a lot of birdies these last tournaments.
 
Playing the back nine first, LaBelle had birdies on three of the last four holes to move in to a tie for the lead just as darkness fell. He said he hadnt played this well since he was in a five-way tie for the lead halfway through this years FBR Open, held just down the road from Grayhawk. Hes 171st on the money list.
 
Its just nice to hit some good shots, make some putts and shoot a nice score, LaBelle said. Its been a long time since Ive done that.
 
Johnson, in the first group to tee off at 6:45 a.m., ranks 204th on the PGA Tour money list. His best finish was tied for 27th Oct. 5 at the Turning Stone Resort Championship, the second of the tours seven fall series events.
 
He was a two-time champion last year on the Nationwide Tour, earning $445,421. In 28 PGA events this year, hes won $188,324.
 
It hasnt been a good year for me, Johnson said. I dont know, Im fighting myself a lot out there. I get yelled at by my couch who was just saying this week `Youre on the Tour, enjoy it!
 

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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.