Funks 65 is Rd 1 best at US Senior Open

By Associated PressJuly 31, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGACOLORADO SPRINGS, Co. ' The only thing that spoiled John Cooks comeback was Fred Funks finish.
 
Cook, who blew a big lead on the back nine at the British Senior Open on Sunday, played a practice round with Greg Norman at The Broadmoors East Course this week to prepare for the U.S. Senior Open and to commiserate over their respective final-round failures across the Atlantic.
 
Norman couldnt hold on to the 54-hole lead at the British Open two weeks ago.
 
All that pity paid off Thursday when Cook carded a 4-under 66, which was good for the clubhouse lead for most of the day until Funk birdied the 16th and 17th holes to go 6 under before three-putting the final hole and finishing at 5-under 65.
 
Funk had two birdies and an eagle on the first four holes of a spectacular round that was bogey-free until the 18th hole.
 
Obviously, I got off to a ridiculously good start, Funk said. It was a good day. You cant be displeased with a 65 on this course ' or any course.
 
Four players were tied for third place at 1 under: Morris Hatalsky, Eduardo Romero, Juan Quiros and Tom Kite.
 
Norman shot a solid 70, the same as defending champion Brad Bryant.
 
Cook birdied his first hole and was the only one in the 156-man field to play in the red numbers all day, but it was Funk who really conquered the East Course with its treacherous back nine and deceptive greens.
 
The winds kicked up after his fantastic start and he played even par until 16 as a handful of birdie chances eluded him.
 
I hate to say it, I think I could have shot a 61 or 62 today, Funk said.
 
Cook, who blew a three-shot lead with eight holes to go and then lost to Bruce Vaughan in a playoff at Troon, Scotland, said he spent Monday moping around, walking this course without so much as swinging a club.
 
After a pep talk from his friend Tiger Woods that night, Cook teed off with Norman and Mark OMeara on Tuesday.
 
I mean, his was the Open Championship, mine was the Senior Open Championship, but still, when you have it in your grasp like that, you have something a little bit in common, Cook said. So, it was a nice walk on Tuesday with these guys, and I got up and struck the ball nicely. I said, OK, new week, lets just go at it again.
 
Norman, who credits his rejuvenated golf game to new bride Chris Evert ' he finished third at the British Open and fifth at the Senior British Open ' followed each of his three birdies with bogeys on the next hole.
 
I played well. I just couldnt get it over the hump, he said.
 
The notoriously tricky greens, where golfers must try to keep the pin between themselves and the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun atop nearby Cheyenne Mountain, were surprisingly inconsistent, Norman said.
 
Some were very mushy, very soft. They put a lot of moisture in some greens and not in others, he said. It was tough judging, especially the second shot, not knowing what the golf ball was going to do. It got into a bit of a guessing game at the end of the day.
 
Norman figures that will even out Friday when he tees off in the afternoon in the 100-degree heat.
 
The 7,254-yard course, the longest for a U.S. Senior Open, sits more than 6,400 feet above sea level, so the golfers not only had to adapt to the tricky greens that left many of them red-faced but they had to adjust for altitude on their irons and tee shots.
 
Its such a mental brain drain by the time you do your calculations and try to figure out whether its 20 percent or 30 percent or 18 percent, Norman said. By the time you do the math in your head, then you have to figure out what shot you want to hit.
 
The days biggest gallery followed Normans group that included Curtis Strange and Fuzzy Zoeller, who kept the mood light. On the third hole, a gaggle of geese even joined in, swooping in on the green as Strange putted for par.
 
Two holes later, Norman sank a 25-foot birdie putt and Strange was good from 18 feet. As Zoeller approached his 7-footer for birdie, he exclaimed, The pressures on me now!
 
He played the hole for a 2-inch break but it didnt work, and before tapping in for par, Zoeller groaned, Wheres that mountain when you need it?
 
Cook collected five birdies to go with one bogey, a turnaround from his slip-up in Scotland on Sunday, when he lost a playoff to Vaughan in a final-round disappointment reminiscent of the 1992 British Open when he missed a 2 1/2 -foot putt on the 17th to lose to Nick Faldo.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

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    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

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    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry