Dangerous winds suspend play at Humana

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2012, 11:21 pm

LA QUINTA, Calif. – When the wind knocked a big scoreboard into a lake and ripped a few trees out of the ground Saturday, Mark Wilson realized he really didn’t mind if he couldn’t finish his third round at the Humana Challenge.

Wilson and his fellow pros were more than happy to wait out the windstorm and just come back Sunday, when Wilson will attempt to maintain his momentum for what might be a marathon finish to the erstwhile Bob Hope Classic.

Wilson held a three-stroke lead over Ben Crane at 21 under when play was suspended play midway through the third round. Ferocious wind reaching 35 mph caused damage on all three courses, even interrupting former President Bill Clinton’s round with Greg Norman.

“I think they made the right call,” Wilson said. “You don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

The pro-am tournament will resume third-round play Sunday morning without the amateurs. They’ll also attempt to finish the fourth round, which could be tough after the event’s first wind delay since 1999 - the first on the PGA Tour since 2009 in Houston.

Nobody was hurt by the wind at the Humana Challenge, even after an awning collapsed in the Bob Hope Square fan area. Conditions weren’t terrible on two of the tournament’s three courses, but several trees were toppled at the La Quinta Country Club course, making the decision easy.

“It’s really bad,” said Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competitions. “They’ve got a lot of trees down. It’s a real mess. … We knew (the wind) was going to be bad, but we thought it would be something we could play with, and then the bottom fell out.”

La Quinta didn’t even get the worst of the Coachella Valley craziness: A 66-mph gust was recorded at the Palm Springs airport.

White said he believes they can finish the four-round event Sunday “in a perfect world.” Wilson doubts it after vicious gusts interrupted a previously perfect weekend of Palm Springs weather.

Wilson got through the first eight holes at La Quinta under ideal conditions, but the light winds suddenly turned into gales. He battled to five straight pars before a birdie on his 15th hole of the day, but play was suspended moments later.

“It’s amazing how it happened so quickly,” said Wilson, who was 5 under through 15 holes. “I went from the mentality of making birdies to just making solid pars when I could.”

None of the 142 pros finished the third round, but nearly everybody was around the turn when the wind kicked up - blowing balls around the course, sending that large scoreboard into a lake on the Palmer Private course and causing mischief in the fan area. White said the grounds crews would use chainsaws to remove the fallen trees at La Quinta.

With tee times starting at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, White believes it might be possible to finish the event on time “in a perfect world.” Most players are staying in Southern California next week for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

“I doubt it. I’ve done the math,” Wilson said. “I don’t know how they could get it done tomorrow, but if we do, I would love to get it done. More power to them.”

Clinton, who’s hosting the tournament, and Greg Norman had just hit their tee shots on the 10th hole of the Palmer Private course when play was suspended. A short time later, the scoreboard blew into the lake that’s flanked by the 10th and 18th holes, leaving oversized number placards floating in the water.

Wilson shared the lead after two rounds with Crane and David Toms, who dropped back to 15 under. Zach Johnson moved within four strokes of the lead after going 6 under through 13 holes.

“We knew there was wind in the forecast, but I’ve never really experienced anything like that,” Johnson said. “Not that quick and that fierce and that intense in that amount of time.”

Until the wind kicked up, extremely low scores had dominated the first two days. Robert Garrigus jumped into contention Saturday by making nine birdies in 13 holes on the Nicklaus Private course before play was suspended.

Garrigus joined John Mallinger and John Senden at 16 under, five strokes behind Wilson.

Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, made a hole-in-one on the fifth hole of the Palmer course.


Because of Saturday's weather delay, Golf Channel will begin its Sunday coverage of the Humana Challenge an hour earlier than originally scheduled. The Golf Central pregame show will run from 2:30-3 p.m. ET, then the live coverage of the tournament will run from 3-7 p.m. ET.

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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 Web.com 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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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.