Funk Closes the Gap in Hawaii

By Associated PressJanuary 26, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Turtle Bay ChampionshipKAHUKU, Hawaii -- Gil Morgan failed to break par but was satisfied with his round, considering the conditions.
Morgan held steady in the whipping wind, shooting an even-par 72 on Saturday to maintain a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Turtle Bay Championship.
'It was pretty wicked out there,' Morgan said.
The 61-year-old Morgan had a birdie and bogey on the each side of the wind-swept Palmer Course for a 36-hole total of 7-under 137 in the Champions Tour's first-field event of the year.
Jim Thorpe (71), seeking his second win in three starts, and rookie Bernhard Langer (71) were 5 under.
Defending champion Fred Funk, coming off a win last week in the winners-only MasterCard Championship, shot his second straight 70 to match Morris Hatalsky (73) and rookies Phil Blackmar (72) and Fulton Allem (72) at 4 under.
The surf was up on Oahu's North Shore. So were the breezes and scores.
'The hardest element to throw at a golfer is wind,' Funk said. 'Wind is the biggest thing that creates the biggest problems because it makes us guess. It makes us think. You've got to create.'
The wind was so strong, Funk's drive on No. 3 was about 70 yards shorter than last year, when he ran away with an 11-stroke victory.
There were 16 players in the 60s on a calm Friday. Don Pooley (69) was the only one on Saturday.
The players did everything they could to neutralize the pin-bending, cap-grabbing 30 mph gusts that tested them from tee to green. They tried using wider stances, playing more conservatively and hitting lower trajectories.
'It could be one of the hardest rounds of golf since I've been on the Champions Tour,' Thorpe said. 'It was a guessing game. It was absolutely a guess game. ... Basically, what we tried to do out there was hold on to what you've got. Making birdies was almost out of the question.'
Thorpe said when the biggest problem was keeping the putter steady. If the wind continues Sunday, he believes the 'winning score might be posted already.'
Morgan is hoping for a strong start Sunday.
'If I play poorly, it gives everybody an opportunity,' he said. 'If I put a good number out there, it would be beneficial for me.'
Morgan has won 16 of 31 events when leading or tied for the lead heading into Sunday. He was in a three-way tie after 36 holes at 2007 Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, where he went on to beat Hale Irwin by two strokes.
Morgan wants to avoid a final round collapse like last week at Hualalai, where he had a bogey, double bogey and triple bogey and finished in a 37th-place tie in the 41-player field.
Morgan, seeking his 26th Champions Tour victory, began the day with a two-stroke lead over Hatalsky.
Thorpe birdied three of four holes before the turn to pull within a stroke of Morgan, who had two eagles in a four-hole stretch in the opening round.
Morgan then missed a 12-foot par putt on No. 10, dropping him in a tie with Thorpe at 6 under. But the optometrist quickly regained the outright lead by sinking a 4-footer for birdie on the par-5 12th.
Thorpe fell two strokes back when he sailed his tee shot into the bunker and bogeyed the par-3 13th. He nearly lost another stroke on the par-4 16th after driving 366 yards over the ironwood trees and into the lake. The shot left him shaking his head, but he managed to save par and stay at 5 under.
'When the wind is gusting like today, anything around par was very, very solid,' Thorpe said. 'Anything under par was an excellent round.'
Thorpe dropped into the crowd at 4 under when he three-putted No. 17, but countered with a 5-foot birdie putt on 18.
Langer, a two-time Masters champion, had an up-and-down round with four birdies and three bogeys. He's seeking his second Champions Tour victory in six career starts.
Last year, Funk had the most-lopsided victory ever in a 54-hole Champions Tour event, finishing with consecutive 8-under 64s for an 11-stroke, wire-to-wire win. He had a tournament-record 23-under 193 total.
'I think anybody who gets to double digits will win this thing,' Funk said. 'I think 10 under is looking awfully good.'
Funk is seeking his second straight Hawaiian trophy after his two-stroke victory over Allen Doyle at Hualalai. The victory came after he opened the year by tying for 25th in the PGA Tour's Mercedes-Benz Championship and tying for 10th in the Sony Open.
The 51-year-old Funk parred 10 straight holes before finishing with a pair of birdies.
Tom Kite (73), Jerry Pate (70), Scott Simpson (72) were 3 under. They were followed by Doyle (70), who finished second to Funk last week, Robert Thompson (71) and Lonnie Nielsen (72) and Donnie Hammond (74).
Irwin, the six-time Turtle Bay champion, shot his second straight 72 and was tied for 23rd at even par.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.