David Toms running out of time to get to Masters

By Associated PressMarch 19, 2009, 4:00 pm
PALM HARBOR, Fla. ' The promotions start running on television at the start of the year. They last only a few seconds, but the images of Augusta National and the mere mention of the Masters are compelling.
They get guys jacked up, David Toms said.
Toms is running out of time to make sure hes part of this tradition like no other.
Coming off his worst season in 15 years, Toms was determined to get back among the elite. He started well in Hawaii and Arizona, but fell just short of qualifying for both World Golf Championships. Now, he has two weeks to move up from No. 66 in the world into the top 50, and failing that, would have to win the Shell Houston Open.
Im looking at playing the next three and giving it all Ive got, Toms said Wednesday afternoon at the Transitions Championship. Im going to have to have a great week somewhere. You cant play mediocre.
Toms isnt alone.
Of the 144-man field at Innisbrook, only 31 players already have qualified for the Masters. This might be a great opportunity for one of the other 113 players to pick up a victory and take a drive down Magnolia Lane.
The group hopeful of making headway toward the top 50 include Rod Pampling, Mathew Goggin and Chad Campbell.
The last time Toms was in this position was at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He had not played there in seven years, and only showed up because it was his last chance to qualify for Match Play.
He missed the cut.
I knew I was going to have to play well at Pebble, and then I pressed, he said. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. But here, Ive just had two weeks off, and Im fresh.
The field that will take on a tough Copperhead Course includes defending champion Sean OHair, Jim Furyk, Adam Scott, Kenny Perry, Doral runner-up Nick Watney and Ryo Ishikawa, the 17-year-old from Japan who is playing his second PGA Tour event. Ishikawa missed the cut at Riviera last month.
What they all have in common is a spot at the Masters.
Im definitely looking toward Augusta, Watney said. I love that course and just the whole feel. The tournament is different than pretty much any one that we play. So Im excited about it.
Ishikawa received a special foreign invitation, making him the second-youngest player in Masters history. He still remembers the phone call he received from Augusta National, followed by a formal invitation that came in the mail ' a regular-sized letter that felt heavy.
I have been watching the Masters since I was in school, and the broadcasts of the Masters in Japan starts at like 4 a.m., which is very early, Ishikawa said. But I woke up every morning and watched the program before I went to school. So Im happy about this, but it feels kind of strange for me to play in the Masters, because the Masters was only a TV thing for me.
The Copperhead Course is enough to keep their attention.
OHair won last year at 4-under 280, the highest score to par that won a PGA Tour event in Florida last year.
This is not typical Florida.
The course has a surprising amount of elevation as it winds through towering pine trees and around water hazards. And without much rain in the Sunshine State over the last several months, the course has been running firm and fast, and in the best condition that players like Kenny Perry can ever remember.
If the wind comes up again and they keep getting firmer and faster, I think a single digit (under par) is going to win again. This week, its all about ball-strikers. Youll see the guys who are better from tee-to-green have success this week, and thats always kind of been my bread-and-butter, the kind of courses I always seem to play well at.
Perry isnt sure what to expect this week because hes tired.
He is 48 and has been playing the PGA Tour for more than two decades, but Perry experienced an unusual feeling this year. His kids are grown and have moved out of the house, and Perry figures he has nothing better to do than play golf.
Perry has already played seven times in 10 weeks, winning in Phoenix and moving up to No. 8 in the world.
I just want to win golf tournaments, he said.
OHair never expected to win this tournament last year. He was struggling with his game when he found something on the practice range two days before his tee time. He never shot better than 69 all week. But at Innisbrook, he didnt have to.
This is a course that you can go low on, but its definitely one where a 2-under-par round is a good round of golf, which I like, OHair said. Its a thinking mans golf course. It takes a lot of patience.
Patience is what Toms will need this week, along with the rest of the players who already have the Masters on their mind.

Related Links:
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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.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    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

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''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.