Flesch Goes Low in Reno-Tahoe

By Associated PressAugust 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
Reno-Tahoe OpenRENO, Nev. -- Steve Flesch had two eagles and five birdies in a 9-under 63 on Thursday that gave him a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Reno-Tahoe Open.
 
Flesch made an 18-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fourth to get to 4 under through four holes. He made the turn at 6-under 30 and got to 8 under when he hit a 3-wood within 10 feet for another eagle on the 584-yard 11th. He birdied from 4 feet on the final hole of his bogey-free round that was one stroke off the course record and one in front of Jose Conceres.
 
'If I ever had a chance to shoot 59, it would have been today,' said Flesch, who has two wins in 11 years on tour and more than $13 million in career earnings.
 
'It's probably the best I've played in the last five years out here on tour. Every hole I had a chance of making birdie. But I'm certainly not complaining about 9 under,' said the 40-year-old left-hander from Kentucky who has three top-10 finishes in eight previous appearances at the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.
 
Conceres had six birdies, a bogey and a hole-in-one on the 220-yard seventh in his 64. He said the ace was extra special because it came on the 16th birthday of his daughter, Maria Jose, who was home in Argentina.
 
'It was a very good score for my daughter,' Conceres said. 'I hit a 6-iron straight at the hole and I was very lucky that it wound up in the hole.'
 
Steve Allan, who missed a 4-foot bogey putt on the last hole that would have won the tournament in 2004, and PGA rookie John Merrick were at 65.
 
Defending champion Will MacKenzie, former University of Nevada golfer Charlie Wi and Jason Gore had 66s. Corey Pavin, Bob Tway and Lucas Glover were in a group of eight at 67. Notah Begay III, winner of the inaugural Reno event in 1999, shot a 68.
 
Tadd Fujikawa, a 16-year-old Hawaiian making his pro debut, double-bogeyed his first and 10th holes in struggling to a 6-over 78.
 
Dialed in all day with his irons, Flesch hit 17 greens and the fringe of the other one, leaving him on average inside 18 feet of the pin. He missed a 5-foot birdie attempt on the first hole and a 3-footer on No. 5. He also missed an 8-foot birdie attempt on 14 and a 6-footer on 17 that would have given him a share of the course-record 62 that Bill Glasson set in 2005 and Joe Ogilvie tied last year.
 
Flesch said he doesn't remember the last time he had two eagles in the same round.
 
'Putt-Putt, probably,' said Flesch, whose best finish this year has been a tie for fifth last month at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. He is 132nd on this year's money list with $406,586. He expects low scores through the weekend if the wind doesn't pick up and the greens remain soft.
 
'It's going to be the `O.K. Corral' out here. It's going to be a shootout,' he said.
 
MacKenzie birdied his first three holes despite a minor crisis that playing partner Rich Beem helped solve on the opening green.
 
'I get out there and I don't have anything to mark my ball with,' MacKenzie said. He asked his caddie and girlfriend for help, but no luck.
 
'So I said, `Hey, Beemer. You got any coins on you?'' said MacKenzie, an avid kayaker, surfer and snowboarder whose victory in Reno last August was his first on tour.
 
'He had lots of them. I picked out a 1963 nickel that's all black. It was probably his favorite. It was old school. But he's fired up after the third birdie in a row. He said, `I want that nickel back,'' MacKenzie said.
 
On the par-5 4th, MacKenzie sent a 60-foot birdie attempt rolling toward the cup.
 
'Beemer was like, `If that putt goes in. ...' I was going to be injured going to the next hole,' MacKenzie said. 'But anyway, he didn't ask for his nickel back. I've got it and I putted well so maybe I'll keep if for the week, unless he sees me at the craps table and he wants it back.'
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.