Dougherty leads PGA Professional National Championship

By Associated PressJune 28, 2011, 1:04 am

HERSHEY, Pa. – Sean Dougherty shot an 8-under 64 on Monday on the Hershey Country Club’s West Course to break Sam Snead’s 36-hole scoring record in the PGA Professional National Championship.

Dougherty, the 32-year-old PGA head professional at Milburn Country Club in Overland Park, Kan., had a 12-under 131 total – a stroke better than the mark set by Snead in 1971. Dougherty opened with a 67 on the East Course,

Jeff Sorenson was two strokes back along with Scott Erdmann. Sorenson, a teaching professional at Columbia Country Club in Minneapolis, and Erdmann, a PGA assistant professional at Oswego Lake Country Club in Oregon, had 68s. Erdmann also played the West Course.

Eight-five players in the 312-man field made the cut for the final two rounds on the East Course, the site of Byron Nelson’s 1940 PGA Championship victory. The final top 20 players will earn spots in the PGA Championship on Aug. 11-14 at Atlanta Athletic Club.

“There are a lot of good players out here, and it’s fun to contend,” Dougherty said. “I had been told that the East is tougher than the West, but I like both of them. You have to work the ball, and that’s what I like to do.”

Dougherty finished his bogey-free round with an 8-foot par putt. He needed only 52 putts in the first two rounds and had only one bogey. Rob Shipman, the PGA director of instruction at Milburn, is working as Dougherty’s caddie.

“I got one of my best friends on my bag, my caddie and my teacher, so that makes it very special,” Dougherty said. “He keeps me loose and he gave me a lot of good reads and helped me to hit shots where I wanted. I hit a lot of putts on line, and some of them fell in, so I feel very fortunate.”

Sorenson also had only one bogey in the first two rounds.

“It was a good day, but it’s tough keeping up with him,” said Sorenson, looking at Dougherty. “The courses are in fantastic shape and the greens are just perfect and rolling awesome. They’re pretty soft because they got some rain, so if you hit a good, quality shot, you’re going to be able to get it close to the pin on most of them.”

Erdmann birdied three of the final five holes in his bogey-free round.

“This is all so new,” Erdmann said. “I have friends calling and rooting for me and telling me they’re watching. But to tell you the truth, I have never felt so comfortable with my game. My putter has been fantastic and my whole game is clicking.”

Defending champion Mike Small, the head coach at the University of Illinois, had a 71 on the East Course to fall seven strokes behind Dougherty. He’s seeking an unprecedented fourth national title.

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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

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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.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.