Europe rallies for 5-3 lead over U.S. after Day 1

By Associated PressSeptember 26, 2014, 7:53 pm

GLENEAGLES, Scotland – For the first time in eight years, Europe is ahead after the first full day of play at the Ryder Cup.

Europe grabbed a 5-3 lead after Friday's two sessions at Gleneagles – even though big guns Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter contributed only half a point.

But it was an improbable half point that felt like a win, gave the home side a momentum boost and could prove decisive in the final outcome as Europe bids for its eighth victory in 10 Ryder Cups.

''We've seen in the Ryder Cups over the years how important momentum switches are and how it can really have a domino effect,'' European captain Paul McGinley said. ''So when the surge came from America at the end of the session this morning, for our guys to react as well as they did in all four matches, shows real strength of character.''

The last time the Europeans led after the opening day was at the K Club in Ireland in 2006. They went on to win 18 1/2-9 1/2. The Americans led after the first full day in each of the last three Ryder Cups.

Trailing the United States 2 1/2-1 1/2 after the morning fourballs, the Europeans won three of the alternate-shot matches in the afternoon. More dramatic was the late rally by McIlroy and Garcia, who came from two shots down with two to play to halve with Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.


Ryder Cup: Articles, videos and photos


McIlroy made a 30-foot birdie putt at the 17th and Garcia hit a beautiful approach from the rough on the 18th to set up another birdie.

''That was probably as good as a win, to come back from where they were,'' McGinley said.

The No. 1-ranked McIlroy and No. 3 Garcia had lost their fourballs match in the morning, beaten 1-up by Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Until the late comeback, it looked like McIlroy would become the first No. 1 player to lose two Ryder Cup matches on the same day since Tiger Woods in 2002.

''Sergio and I battled for all 36 holes out there today,'' McIlroy said. ''It was a long day for both of us, and just glad that we were able to contribute something to the cause today.''

He called the half-point a ''mini-victory.''

''It definitely is a huge halve in terms of momentum for the European team going into tomorrow,'' McIlroy said. ''It was huge. For Sergio and I, it's just nice to be able to walk away from today with at least something.''

The afternoon began with Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson pulling Europe level by beating Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar 2 up. Westwood, playing in his ninth Ryder Cup, enjoyed his role as mentor to the Welsh rookie.

''I love it, kind of watching somebody take to it like a duck to water,'' he said.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson won their second match of the day, beating Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson 2 and 1. Rose said he wouldn't complain if he's picked to play in both sessions again on Saturday.

''There's so many good players on this team but you can only field eight a day,'' he said. ''So if that's what's called of us, we'll be up for it.''

Graeme McDowell and French rookie Victor Dubuisson secured the final point, defeating Mickelson and Bradley 3 and 2. It's the first time Mickelson and Keegan have lost together in the Ryder Cup after four straight wins.

''Very fortunate to be playing alongside a player who I think really is Europe's next superstar,'' McDowell said of the 24-year-old Dubuisson, the youngest player on the team. ''I really believe that. He was awesome today. He didn't miss a shot.''

In the morning, the Americans seemed to strike a big psychological blow by taking down McIlroy and Poulter. Three rookies played a huge part in the U.S. effort.

In a stunning performance, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth and 24-year-old Patrick Reed – the youngest pairing in Ryder Cup history – beat Poulter and Scottish rookie Stephen Gallacher 5 and 4.

U.S. captain Tom Watson had singled out Poulter as the one player the Americans wanted to target – even more than McIlroy. Poulter had won seven consecutive Ryder Cup matches and was the catalyst of Europe's remarkable comeback in Medinah two years ago. This was Poulter's heaviest Cup defeat ever.

''We couldn't manage to get it done today, so it's a shame,'' said the Englishman, who went without a single birdie. ''We don't hole enough putts, that simple.''

Watson said he was proud of his rookies, but decided not to send them out for the afternoon foursomes, something which proved to be a mistake.

''I said, 'I know you're going to be mad at me, but you'll be playing tomorrow for sure,''' Watson said.

 

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


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."

Getty Images

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.