Funk Bogey Free Leads Turtle Bay

By Associated PressJanuary 27, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Turtle Bay ChampionshipKAHUKU, Hawaii -- The bank stayed open for Fred Funk on Saturday.
 
Funk had another spectacular day on the greens, shooting an 8-under 64 for a three-stroke lead after the second round of the Turtle Bay Championship.
 
The 50-year-old Funk had his second straight bogey-free round to break the tournament record with a 15-under 129 total.
 
'I kind of look at birdies like deposits in the bank. You can never have too many deposits because you're always going to have withdrawls,' he said. 'So far, I haven't had any withdrawls.'
 
Japan's Kiyoshi Murota, playing on a sponsor's exemption, shot a 65 to finish at 12 under. Tom Kite (66), coming off a second-place tie in the MasterCard Championship, was another stroke behind in the Champions Tour's first full-field event of the year.
 
Unlike the wind-swept opening round, it was unusually calm on the 7,044-yard oceanside Palmer Course.
 
'The course was there for the taking,' Funk said.
 
Funk had eight birdies and, using a wider stance he picked up during the pro-am, putted just 24 times. After holing a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th that gave him a three-stroke lead, Funk swung his putter as if he hit a home run.
 
'My putter's been really hot. I like that,' he said.
 
Funk said he was playing like he was behind and thinks he needs a 66 or 67 for a wire-to-wire victory.
 
'It would be nice just to keep making deposits in the bank, especially early to make those guys maybe try something they normally wouldn't do and play a little aggressive and make a mistake so I can cruise,' he said.
 
Funk, who missed the cut at the PGA TOUR's Sony Open and last week tied for 28th in the 41-man MasterCard, is seeking his second Champions Tour victory in his fifth start. He joined the senior tour after turning 50 in June and made three starts last year, going wire-to-wire to win the AT&T Championship and tying for 11th in the U.S. Senior Open. He also had three top-10 finishes last year on the PGA TOUR.
 
The former University of Maryland coach has seven PGA TOUR victories, including the 2005 Players Championship.
 
With several players making a move early, Funk holed a 35-foot downhill putt on No. 5 to reach 9 under. He made a 10-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole to make the turn at 32 and regain the outright lead.
 
'I've gotten off to two dream starts in a row on the front nine and if I can continue to do that, it'll be great,' said Funk, who also sank an 18-foot birdie on the next hole that was set up by an 8-iron from the left rough.
 
Murota, a six-time winner on the Japan Tour, made his move early with five birdies on the front side that moved him to 10 under, a stroke behind Funk. He also closed with two birdies, just missing an eagle on 18.
 
Murota tied for 17th last year at Turtle Bay and is trying to become the first sponsor invitee to win since Christy O'Conner Jr. in the 1999 State Farm Senior Classic.
 
The 57-year-old Kite, who won twice last year, birdied five of the first seven holes on the back nine to shoot up the leaderboard. His only mistake was a bogey on the first hole.
 
Vicente Fernandez had a 64 to join Denis Watson (65), Tom McKnight (69) and David Eger (69) at 8 under. Bob Gilder (65), Mike Reid (67), Tim Simpson (67) and D.A. Weibring (69) were 7 under.
 
Hale Irwin, going for a record seventh victory in the event, rebounded from an opening 74 that included a quadruple bogey 8 with a 67. He was at 3 under with seven others.
 
Irwin had a 23-under 193 total at the MasterCard last week to beat Tom Kite and Jim Thorpe by five strokes for his tour-record 45th victory and first in 15 months.
 
Seventy-one-year-old Gary Player shot his age and was at 3 over. It was the 14th time in his Hall of Fame career, including the third time in his last five rounds, he has shot his age or better.
 
Last year, Loren Roberts snapped Irwin's Turtle Bay winning streak at five and completed a two-week Hawaiian sweep, holing a 9-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a two-stroke victory over Scott Simpson.
 
Divots
Tadd Fujikawa, who two weeks ago became the youngest player in 50 years to make a PGA TOUR cut, was a guest commentator in the Golf Channel booth alongside Mark Rolfing and Frank Nobilo. When Rolfing asked Fujikawa if he enjoyed watching golf on TV, the candid 16-year-old replied: 'Not really. The first two rounds are pretty boring.' Before putting on the microphone, Fujikawa strolled around the course with his parents and signed autographs. He said life hasn't been the same since he tied for 20th the Sony Open. 'It's been hectic and a little busy,' he said. The sophomore at Moanalua High School said he was impressed with the seniors, many of whom were stars before he was born. 'All of them have won tournaments and done really well. You have to look up to them,' he said.
 
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    Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

    John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

    The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

    That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

    He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.