Funk Going for Hawaiian Sweep

By Associated PressJanuary 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Turtle Bay ChampionshipKAHUKU, Hawaii -- Fred Funk's winning ways in Hawaii continue, even off the golf course.
Fresh of his victory at the MasterCard Championship, Funk is seeking a Hawaiian sweep at the Turtle Bay Championship, where he ran away with a record 11-stroke victory a year ago.
The Champions Tour's first full-field event of the year begins Friday but Funk already created a buzz with a thrilling victory in the turtle race.
'I thought it was a great team win -- me and my turtle,' he said Thursday. 'I really enjoyed it. It was better than the Ryder Cup.'
The only problem is, no golfer has ever won the race and went on to win the tournament. It's become sort of like the Par-3 Contest at Augusta.
'I didn't know that,' Funk said. 'I would've thrown the race.'
The 51-year-old Funk is looking to continue his success in the islands, where he has spent the past month.
On Sunday, Funk won at Hualalai, birdieing the final two holes for a 7-under 65 and a two-stroke victory over Allen Doyle. 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.
'I played really well last week, obviously and I played good at Sony as well,' he said. 'I'm playing well right now.'
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 like runaways. No question,' he said. 'Birdies are like deposits in the bank. There are always withdrawals, so you can never have too many deposits.'
Funk will be challenged to repeat last year's performance. He caught a sinus infection Wednesday and wasn't feeling well.
Six-time Turtle Bay winner Hale Irwin was feeling good and looking to bounce back from a poor performance at Hualalai, where he finished a career-low 30th in the winners-only field of 41. He won the event last year and in 1997.
The 62-year-old Irwin said his thoughts were with his wife, Sally, who slipped and hit her head in the middle of the night just before the MasterCard. She sustained a concussion and was taken to the emergency room where she received 10 stitches.
'I was kind of concerned about that. My Thursday was very disconcerting and I wasn't ready to play on Friday,' Irwin said.
Irwin said his wife was much better and considers last week a 'dress rehearsal' for Turtle Bay, where he won in 2005 to become the first player to win a PGA Tour-sanctioned event five straight times.
Last year, Irwin tied for 28th at Turtle Bay.
'Having won at Hualalai the week before, I came over here and was a little on the euphoric downside,' he said. 'It's just the reverse this year. I'm looking forward to this week. Last week, my mind was somewhere else.'
Irwin said his goal this year was to play well in the majors. Last season was his worst since joining the 50-and-over circuit. For the first time, he failed to make the cut at the U.S. Senior Open, an event he has won twice and finished runner-up twice.
'I think I lost that intensity and focus,' he said. 'I find that as I get older, it's not so much being physically being able to do it, it's maintaining that level of intensity and concentration.'
Players will need concentration this weekend.
Unlike last week's serene conditions at Hualalai, the wind was whipping at 25 mph at the oceanside Arnold Palmer-designed layout during Thursday's pro-am.
Funk said he doesn't mind a little wind. Besides playing well in the final windy holes at Hualalai, he became the oldest winner of THE PLAYERS Championship in 2005 after overcoming gusts up to 40 mph.
'I don't think of myself as a guy that really enjoys playing in the wind. But I've played really well the last few years in a lot of wind,' he said. 'For whatever reason, I don't know.'
If Funk is able to win Sunday, it will be his second straight win and third Champions Tour title in Hawaii in four starts. He'll also be on his way to dethroning Irwin as the golf king of Hawaii.
'He's got a way to go,' said Irwin, who has nine official and 12 overall victories in Hawaii. 'I won't let him. I'll bushwhack him first.' ^
Irwin was asked by a fan to sign a baseball-type card Thursday that featured his name, but Graham Marsh's photo. 'We all look alike after a while, I guess,' Irwin said. ... Peter Jacobsen withdrew from Turtle Bay because of a knee injury suffered at Hualalai. He was replaced by Walter Zembriski. ... Bob Gilder will make his 95th straight Champions Tour start, the longest current streak. The last event Gilder missed was the 2004 Greater Hickory Classic.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Turtle Bay Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.