Day one back at rain-delayed Zurich Classic

By Associated PressApril 24, 2015, 10:25 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Hudson Swafford didn't want to dwell on the pressure of the high-stakes weekend that awaits him.

Tied for the Zurich Classic lead after a 6-under 66 on Friday in the suspended second round, the 2011 Georgia graduate was eager to meet some college friends from New Orleans and take advantage of being in Louisiana during crawfish season.

''I'm probably going to eat some mud bugs with my wife, some crawfish downtown, just walk around,'' said the easygoing Southerner, winless on the PGA Tour. ''Got to see the sights here and take in the good food.''

Boo Weekley also was tied for the lead at 11 under when play was suspended ay at TPC Louisiana because of the threat of severe thunderstorms. Weekley, tied for first-round lead after a 64, had three holes left.

Jason Day, ranked sixth in the world, was 5 under for the round through 14 holes, pulling him into a five-way tie for third at 10 under with Brandon de Jonge, Cameron Tringale, former Zurich champion Jerry Kelly and Daniel Berger. Tringale had a 65, and de Jonge shot 70. Kelley was on the 18th green when play was stopped, and Berger had three holes left.

Second-round play was scheduled to resume Saturday at 8 a.m. CDT.

De Jonge, from Zimbabwe, was the co-leader after the first round and might have remained atop the leaderboard had he not narrowly missed several putts. But he was briefly tied for the lead again late in his morning round when he hit his tee shot within a few feet of the pin on the par-3 17th and made his birdie putt. He narrowly missed another birdie putt on 18.


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''I gave myself a lot of chances,'' de Jonge said. ''I just didn't make any putts.''

De Jonge, who has more than 220 PGA Tour starts without a victory, is well aware that seven of the past 10 Zurich Classics have concluded with first-time Tour winners, and hopes to continue that trend.

''Obviously, I would like to win and get the monkey off your back,'' he said. ''But when it's your time;, it will be your time.''

The field remained tightly packed with birdies seemingly harder to come by on Friday. Many players cited a combination of wind, soggy turf from recent rains and thick, swampy air as reasons the course to play even longer than usual.

Six players were tied for eighth, just two shots off the lead. They were Chad Campbell, Morgan Hoffman, Steven Bowditch, Justin Thomas, Chris Stroud and David Hearn.

Seven more players were at eight under, including Marc Leishman, who returned to the PGA Tour this weekend after taking a month off from golf to tend to family when his wife became gravely ill.

With his wife, Audrey, recovering, Leishman came to New Orleans saying he just wanted to ''knock off some rust.'' He did a lot better than that and is now in line for a nice pay-day, given officials were estimating the cut line at four under.

Leishman was 10 under for the round through 17 holes, putting him in position to set a course record with a birdie on the par-5 18th. But after a booming drive, Leishman gambled on an aggressive second shot, using his driver on the fairway. He pushed his ball to the right and into a water hazard. When play was stopped, he was on the fringe, lying four, needing to sink his next shot on Saturday morning to tie the course record of 62.

''Hopefully, I'll hole out or get up and down for bogey,'' said Leishman, who shot a 74 on Thursday. ''It was a good day, my expectations were pretty much non-existent this week.

''It's just good to be out there and knock the cobwebs off,'' the Australian added. ''Today, I hit some good shots and holed some putts and all of a sudden you're 10-under.''

Weekley, a three-time PGA Tour winner, continued to play well with new shafts that he credited for a strong first round after missing the cut in three of his previous four tournaments.

Swafford, in only his second season on the tour, had six birdies during his second round.

His best finish is tied for eighth at the Frys.com Open last October, though his most impressive outing may have been at last month's Arnold Palmer invitational at Bay Hill, where he tied for 11th.

Swafford said he has been gaining confidence since adjusting his back swing earlier this year and figured he'd contend for a win before long.

''I have seen it coming, I really have,'' Swafford said. ''I've seen a lot of good golf, seen a lot of good motions, displayed a lot of patience. So I'm not overly surprised with this.''

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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.


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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.