Donald wins weather-shortened Scottish Open

By Associated PressJuly 10, 2011, 5:41 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland – Luke Donald enjoyed the perfect warmup for next week’s British Open by shooting a flawless 9-under 63 to win a rain-affected Scottish Open by four strokes, his first victory since becoming the world’s top-ranked player in May.

The 33-year-old Englishman started the third and final round a shot behind a trio of joint leaders but rolled in nine birdies in a majestic bogey-free display at Castle Stuart.

With only a light wind leaving the links course defenseless, Donald romped home with a winning total of 19 under, ahead of Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed (62).

His eighth professional title – and third this year – didn’t just cement his top ranking, which he secured for the first time nearly two months ago by beating compatriot Lee Westwood in a playoff for the PGA Championship on his last appearance in Europe.

It also provided the ideal tonic ahead of the British Open at Royal St. George’s starting Thursday, where he’ll attempt to land his first major.

“I felt good out there, very comfortable, very in control. That’s a good sign for next week,” said Donald, who is half Scottish and wore Tartan trousers for the final day.

“There’s always a little added pressure when you’re No. 1 but hopefully I’ve proved I can handle that. It was a pretty strong field this week and the best way to prepare.”

Andersson Hed, ranked No. 128, began the third round tied for 44th on 5 under, but came from nowhere to overhaul a host of forlorn chasers behind Donald. His 10-under 62 was the lowest score of a wet week in Inverness, when Saturday’s play was completely washed out – reducing the tournament to 54 holes.

“I had gone 48 hours since I played on the golf course. I’d like to stay here a bit longer,” Andersson Hed said.

British Open hopefuls Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Mark Tullo of Chile finished in a seven-way tie for third.

However, it was the No. 203-ranked Jamieson – who sank a birdie at the last with the final shot of the tournament – who grabbed the available qualifying spot for the year’s third major, by virtue of having a higher ranking than Tullo by 29 places.

“It was the first putt I had all day that I was really confident on my read, and it just reached the hole,” said Jamieson, who will play at his first major. “It’s not registered yet, to be honest.”

Colin Montgomerie had also been looking to qualify for his home major for the 22nd straight year but could only card a 70 to close on 10 under, and a tie for 31st.

The former Europe Ryder Cup captain briefly shared the lead in the final round after a birdie at the sixth, but dropped four shots at the start of the back nine to shatter his hopes.

No player has ever won the Scottish Open and gone on to win the British Open the following week but Donald – a model of consistency this year – looks in good position to become the first.

“I only see this as a positive,” he said. “I’ll be high on confidence. I’m hitting the ball nicely and to do it on a links course is even better. I’m looking forward to bringing this game to next week.”

Donald completed his second round in overcast conditions early on Sunday with a second straight 5-under 67, giving him a good platform to make a charge for the title in his first Scottish Open since 2007.

He had to hit the ground running in the final round, with Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and Scots Peter Whiteford and Jamieson a shot clear.

Donald did just that with a birdie on No. 3, before draining a 40-footer across the slope on the short fourth to share the lead.

Two more birdies made it four in a row and although he was briefly joined in front by Tullo, the joint leader from the first round, the relentless Donald sank a 15-footer to pick up another on No. 9 and then benefited from a free drop out of a waterlogged bunker on the 10th fairway to make a sensational up and down.

That took him two strokes ahead and he closed with three birdies in the last four holes, recording three straight rounds in the 60s.

“It’s nice to get another victory – I can get used to this,” Donald said.

Second-ranked Lee Westwood shot a closing 68 to be tied for 14th on 12 under, a stroke behind eighth-ranked Matt Kuchar from the United States (67). Fellow American Phil Mickelson, ranked No. 6, had a 69 for 7 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.”


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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.


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''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.


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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.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.