Els and Ogilvy Go Down Together

By Associated PressApril 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Ernie Els and Geoff Ogilvy show was considered a must-see, two of the trendy picks to win if Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson faltered at the Masters.
 
It took all of two holes for that trend to run its course.
 
With one bad shot after another Thursday, Els and Ogilvy watched their scores climb and their chances tumble. Els, a three-time major winner, shot a 6-over-par 78 that matched his third-worst score in 14 years at Augusta National. Ogilvy, the reigning U.S. Open champ, came in at 3-over 75.
 
Ernie Els
Ernie Els was one of many top players who struggled in the opening round of The Masters. (WireImage)
'It was a difficult day, a very tough day,' Els said. 'I played some better stuff on the back nine and we'll try to work ourselves back into it. I don't quite know how, but we're going to give it a try.'
 
Any other tournament, and they may as well start packing. But this is the notoriously fickle Masters, and swirling winds mean almost nobody is out of it quite yet.
 
Justin Rose and Brett Wetterich were the leaders at 3-under 69. But there was a slew of people bunched up at 75, 76 and 77. Even Mickelson struggled, shooting a 4-over 76.
 
'You aren't going to get a lot of rounds in the 60s in this wind,' said Tom Watson, a two-time winner here who shot 3-over 75.
 
Tricky conditions and slick greens wouldn't seem to be a problem for Els or Ogilvy. Both are U.S. Open winners, the ultimate test in precision and putting. And Els has a claret jug from the British Open, where wind is as much a staple as grass and tea.
 
Not on this day, however.
 
Els was in trouble from the start, opening with a double-bogey on the par-4 No. 1 and three-putting from 30 feet for a bogey on the second hole. On the 240-yard No. 4, his tee shot went so far left he was almost up against the grandstand. He chipped on, but it rolled about 15 feet long and he missed the comeback by inches for yet another bogey.
 
He closed the front nine with back-to-back bogeys and didn't make his first -- and only -- birdie until the par-5 No. 13.
 
'It was terrible on the front nine,' Els said. 'It was a little windy and a little cold as well, and I wasn't comfortable on the greens, either.'
 
On the par-5 15th, he hit a little bump-and-run from behind the green on his third shot, but it picked up speed on the slick surface and trickled off on the other side. It looked as if he might salvage a birdie with a nice recovery pitch, only to see the ball skirt the cup and go a foot past.
 
He missed from inside six feet on the next hole, giving him another bogey.
 
'When it was blowing, some of the greens are really firm. Therefore, it is very difficult to keep the ball on the greens,' Els said. 'Some of the pins were difficult as well.
 
'If you mishit a shot today,' he added, 'you really paid the penalty.'
 
Ogilvy learned that quickly.
 
He was within 50 yards of the green on the par-5 No. 2 after his second shot. But he landed his third in a sand trap, then flew the green, chipped to within 5 feet and three-putted.
 
Throwing up a snowman that early in the round is going to do some damage, and it didn't get much better after that.
 
Ogilvy pushed his drive on the par-4 No. 5 so far right it landed on pine straw in a grove of trees. He hit a low screamer that reached the green, but it was at the very bottom, leaving him about 30 feet to the cup.
 
He got close, only to see the ball break just below the hole and roll 3 feet past. The second putt curled around the hole but refused to drop in, forcing him to take a bogey.
 
The par-5 15th might just have summed up his entire day.
 
Just as Els' did, Ogilvy's second shot hit the green and rolled off the back. But after watching Els, the Aussie hit a perfect chip that trickled straight to the hole. The crowd began cheering, and playing partner Fred Couples held up his putter, certain it was good.
 
But it skirted the edge and rolled 3 feet by. It was still a birdie, but an eagle might have turned the entire day around.
 
Normally easygoing and sociable, the Aussie didn't stop to talk after his round.
 
Conditions aren't supposed to be much different Friday, which could make for another long day.
 
Els has only missed the cut once in his 13 previous trips to Augusta, and he's battled back before. After opening with a 79 in 2003, he rebounded with a 66 in the second round and finished in a tie for sixth.
 
'I have no other choice, do I?' Els said when asked if he could rally. 'I have to try and get something going and, hopefully by Sunday, be back to level par. ... It's back to the drawing board, basically.'
 
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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.