Dufner nabs second career win at Byron Nelson

By Associated PressMay 20, 2012, 10:02 pm

IRVING, Texas – Jason Dufner made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the Byron Nelson Championship, his second victory in four weeks.

The winning putt wrapped up a closing 3-under 67 for an 11-under 269 total, one ahead of Dicky Pride.

Dufner got his first PGA Tour victory at New Orleans on April 29, then took a week off to get married. He also led alone by one stroke after the second and third rounds at the TPC at Four Seasons course.

Pride, whose only PGA Tour victory in a 20-year professional career came in 1994, was at 10 under with a par-saving 22-foot putt at No. 18 after hitting his drive into the water.

Moments later, Dufner made a putt that was only a few feet longer but on virtually the same line as the one Pride made to finish his round of 67.

J.J. Henry, who had an early hole-in-one, was in the lead at 11 under after consecutive birdies at Nos. 15 and 16, overcoming a bad tee shot on the first and a greenside bunker on the second.

But Henry, in the final group with Dufner, hit his tee shot at the par-3 17th over the green. The former TCU star lost the lead with a double bogey after a 4-foot putt slid just outside the cup.

After watching Henry's meltdown, Dufner made a tap-in par at No. 17 and then hit a big drive on No. 18 in the middle of the fairway. He hit his approach to the middle of the green, avoiding a playoff with the long putt and joining Hunter Mahan as the only two-time winners this season.

Pride had made a 13-foot birdie putt at No. 17.

Joe Durant, who was the final alternate added to the Nelson field, shot a 65 to finish in a tie for third at 271 with Henry (68), Marc Leishman (66) and rookie Jonas Blixt (66).

Phil Mickelson, making his first Nelson start in five years, had four consecutive birdies on the front nine and went on to a round of 66 to finish four strokes back. He tied for seventh with Ken Duke, who also had a string of four birdies in a row in his own 66.

While Henry and Dufner were playing the 17th hole, Pride drove his tee shot at No. 18 left into the water. After his drop, Pride hit his approach to 22 feet and made that par-saving putt to remain at 10 under, letting out a scream when the ball dropped into the hole.

Pride, who went to the University of Alabama, then watched the final group play the 18th hole and waiting to see if he would be in a playoff. Even he had to applaud on the clinching putt by Dufner, who went to rival Auburn.

Matt Kuchar, the fifth-ranked player who won The Players Championship a week earlier, had 70 and finished at 276 in a tie for 15th. He was trying to become the first PGA Tour player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks.

Henry's ace came at the 154-yard No. 5 hole, when he hit a pitching wedge. When the ball rolled back into the cup, Henry thrust both of his arms in the air, then had an emphatic uppercut and he celebrated with the gallery.

After Henry's drive at the 504-yard 15th was way right and under a tree, he hit his approach to the middle of the green and made a 32-foot birdie putt that led to another, though more subdued fistpump. His approach at the easier par-5 16th went in a greenside bunker, but he blasted inside 2 1/2 feet for a birdie to get to 11 under.

Then came the tee shot at No. 17 that carried over the green on the opposite side of the hole.

Dufner had consecutive bogeys at Nos. 2 and 3, but quickly responded with consecutive birdies on the following two holes.

After a bogey at No. 11 following a bad tee shot, Dufner got back to 10 under with his birdie at the par-5 16th, when he blasted out of a greenside bunker to 6 feet.

The last of Mickelson's four birdies in a row came when he holed a 30-footer at the 461-yard eighth hole. That got him at 6 under at about the same time the final group of Henry and Dufner were finishing at No. 1, both at 8 under.

Mickelson was 8 under after a birdie at the par-5 16th, but his 3 1/2-foot par putt at the following par 3 circled the cup and rolled back toward him for his first bogey of the day. He finished with another bogey at No. 18, though that could have been worse after his approach from the rough went into the water. After his drop, his 54-foot par-saving putt rolled over the cup, banged into the edge but didn't drop.

Vijay Singh, a 34-time PGA Tour winner whose last victory was in 2008, was within two strokes of the lead after his third-round 66. But he hit his first tee shot Sunday into the rough and his second into a greenside bunker on way to bogeys on his first three holes and a 71 for a ninth-place tie at 275.

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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.