Dufner beats Lingmerth in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 25, 2016, 1:21 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Jason Dufner made two great escapes. The first, from Alcatraz, no less.

David Lingmerth got no such reprieve at PGA West's punishing TPC Stadium Course.

Dufner won the CareerBuilder Challenge with a par on the second hole of a playoff Sunday, taking advantage of Lingmerth's shot that bounced off the jagged rocks and into the water.

In regulation on the island-green 17th called Alcatraz, Dufner - tied with Lingmerth for the lead - pulled his 8-iron tee shot and thought it bounced into the water. Instead, it settled into a small sandy area between some of the tangled rocks that circle the green.

''I was like, 'Man, this is a great break I'm going to take advantage of it,''' Dufner said. '''This is what I need. I need this right now. I need this break to happen. I'm confident with what I can do with this shot and I need to make this happen and get a par.'''

He hooked a chip that struck the flagstick and stopped inches away.

''It's a shot that I've hit some, not in the hazard, but something similar,'' Dufner said. ''You kind of hit that low little spinning one with some check on it.''


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On the first extra hole on the par-4 18th with a rock wall and water running the length of the left side, Dufner hit his 3-wood drive near the front lip in a right-side bunker. He blasted out 100 yards to set up a 110-yard third shot that he hit to 11 feet.

''I wanted to hit 6-iron - about 180 to the front there,'' Dufner said. ''But it was probably a shot I pull off maybe two out of 10 times or three out of 10 times. The other seven or eight times it probably hits the lip or goes in the water.

''I felt like, 'My wedges have been good, I'm going to play the percentages. If he makes birdie, then he deserves to win. I'll try and get it up-and-down and extend it.'''

Lingmerth missed his 23-foot birdie try, giving Dufner a chance to extend the playoff.

He did, sending the two back to the 18th tee.

''I like those situation putts,'' Dufner said. ''It's kind of like what we see in the Presidents Cup in match play. Because if I miss it, there's no next putt, it doesn't really matter.''

Dufner switched to a driver and followed Lingmerth into a grass bunker on the right side. Lingmerth's approach from 184 yards crashed into the rocks and shot left into the water.

''The rough is a little heavy in some spots and it grabbed my club a little bit more,'' Lingmerth said. ''It really wasn't a bad swing. I should have probably choked up a little bit more on the grip. ... A small mistake that was very costly.''

Dufner hit the front of the green with his second shot and two-putted for par, holing a 5-footer after Lingmerth missed his par try from 22 feet.

Dufner finished with a 2-under 70 to tie Lingmerth at 25-under 263. Lingmerth shot a bogey-free 65, matching the best score of the day on the difficult course that was used in the tournament for the first time since being dropped after its 1987 debut.

The 38-year-old Dufner won for the fourth time on the PGA Tour and first since the 2013 PGA Championship.

''I'm excited for this year,'' Dufner said. ''I'm excited to accomplish one of my goals this early in the year. I'm excited to keep playing well. I feel like I'm doing some really good stuff.''

Lingmerth had a 62 on Saturday on the Nicklaus Tournament Course to pull within five shots of Dufner.

''I was just trying to focus on keeping my play the way I had been playing and, if Jason, for some reason didn't keep scoring the way he did, I was hoping to have a chance,'' Lingmerth said.

Lingmerth also lost a playoff in the 2013 tournament on PGA West's Palmer Private Course. That year, the Swede dropped out on the first extra hole after hitting into the water and making a bogey. Brian Gay went on to beat Charles Howell III with a birdie on the second hole.

Phil Mickelson shot a 68 to tie for third at 21 under in his first start since the Presidents Cup in October and first since splitting with swing coach Butch Harmon to work with Andrew Getson. Lefty will play the next three events, starting next week at Torrey Pines in his hometown of San Diego.

''I'm excited,'' Mickelson said. ''This is a really good week for me for validation that I'm on the right track and that it's continuing to get better as I go along.''

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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 played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


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Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, 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.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

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 PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

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 Course 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. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

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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Mickelson 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.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. 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.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.