Estes Armour Share Early Lead

By Associated PressOctober 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
  PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Bob Estes spent two days this week trying out new putters, looking for one that just felt right.
 
He succeeded.
 
Estes birdied six straight holes -- his longest streak of the season and one shy of his career best -- in a 9-under 64 that left him tied for the lead with Tommy Armour III on Thursday in the opening round of the Ginn sur Mer Classic at a soggy Tesoro Club.
 
'The game is still always a struggle,' said Estes, who also shot a 64 last week. 'So, even if I'm making six birdies in a row, or like when I was making seven birdies in a row in Memphis a couple years ago, people are like, 'Man, you must have been in the zone.' I'm still pretty relaxed, but I'm still working really hard.'
 
Play was suspended at 6:39 p.m. because of darkness, keeping 22 players from finishing, but Armour decided to complete the 18th. He made a 10-footer for a a birdie-birdie-birdie finish, and was 9 under after one round for the first time.
 
Estes was flawless -- nine birdies, no bogeys -- and only missed one green, capping his day with a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth hole.
 
Armour wasn't half-bad, either, with a 10-birdie, one-bogey day.
 
'When you make 10 birdies, it was all good,' Armour said. 'I hit it close a few times, made some putts, did everything.'
 
Craig Kanada and Daniel Chopra were three shots off the pace at 6-under 67, while another group including Frank Lickliter II and Steve Flesch -- a two-time winner this year -- finished another shot back.
 
Unlike many players in the field who are chasing a top-125 spot on the money list and full playing privileges for 2008, Flesch obviously isn't worried about his card.
 
He's here to secure a trip to the Masters, a perk that comes to those finishing in the top 30 in earnings.
 
'It's amazing how a couple weeks can change your whole year out here,' said Flesch, who has won two of his previous seven starts.
 
Estes started on the back nine and made the turn at 2 under, after birdies on both of the par 5s and nothing but pars on the remainder of his card.
 
But his second nine was one to savor.
 
He made birdies at Nos. 1-6, and had a chance for seven straight when his approach stopped about 20 feet from the cup at the par-5 seventh. Estes settled for par there, then put an emphatic end to the round with his long birdie at the ninth.
 
'It's only Thursday,' Estes said. 'That's the deal.'
 
Kanada has three children, so he already planned to play in the season finale at Disney next week. He tied for 10th at the Sony Open in January, and has made only three cuts in his last 10 starts -- watching his spot on the money list slip from 94th to 123rd.
 
'I have to admit, I've been looking and trying to figure things out about how much it's going to take,' Kanada said. 'It probably hasn't helped me, but at the same time, when you're out there inside the ropes it's still just the game of golf.'
 
Let's make the math real simple: First prize here this week is $810,000. That'd take care of everything.
 
'I've been doing this for long enough where I know that being inside of 125 would be a really good thing,' Kanada said.
 
Light rain started 10 minutes before play began, and the gray skies probably matched John Daly's mood.
 
With about 50 fans following him at 7:30 a.m., the ever-popular Daly was first off the tee. First to make double bogey, too, after his drive on the par-4 opening hole found a bunker and he three-putted from 60 feet.
 
He finished at 2-over 75, and will need to rally if he's to make a cut for only the ninth time in 24 starts.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.