Garcia leads Nelson with 63; Spieth one shot back

By Associated PressMay 20, 2016, 3:29 am

IRVING, Texas - Jordan Spieth covered his mouth in disbelief on the 16th green when his long eagle putt stopped short of falling in for a share of the lead. His group then rushed to complete the final two holes before dark.

Spieth finished with consecutive pars for a 6-under 64 on Thursday and was within a stroke of the lead when the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson was suspended because of darkness.

The world's No. 2-ranked player and Dallas native, whose first PGA Tour event was the Nelson as a 16-year-old amateur six years ago, is playing only his second tournament since squandering a five-stroke lead on the back nine at the Masters. He missed the cut last week at The Players Championship, but had only one three-putt to start at rain-softened TPC Four Seasons.

''This week felt a bit different than the past couple years as a professional. I don't know what it is,'' Spieth said. ''I came out and maybe kind of the bad weather has kind of softened the crowds and hasn't felt the same. ... Everything has been a bit more calm this week and it's been a lot easier to just stay in a normal rhythm.''

Sergio Garcia, Danny Lee and Johnson Wagner shared the lead at 7-under 63. Garcia played in the morning, and Lee and Wagner, like Spieth, were just able to complete the round that started 2 1/2 hours late after early morning rain.

Dustin Johnson and Freddie Jacobson matched Speith with 64s.


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Tom Hoge, one of 30 players who have to finish their first rounds Friday morning, was 6 under through 14 holes. His only bogey was after he missed the green and then two-putted from 10 feet at the par-3 fifth, the last hole he completed. His final shot Thursday was an approach at the par-4 sixth, onto the green and 41 feet from the cup.

Garcia finished his round with eight consecutive one-putts. Wagner and Lee, the 25-year-old South Korean who lives in Irving and is playing on his home course, also were bogey-free.

There was a loud cheer at No. 1 when Spieth teed off, and another when he holed a shot from the intermediate rough for a birdie after missing the first green.

Spieth was 3 under through 10 holes before four consecutive holes without a par. He made a short birdie at 11 and a 20-footer at No. 12 before his only three-putt, from 50 feet at the par-3 13th. He quickly got back that stroke with a 13-foot birdie putt at No. 14.

Then at the par-5 16th, Spieth's 40-foot eagle chance was rolling toward the middle of the cup when it stopped just short.

The 64 matched Spieth's best round at the Nelson, where his best finish is still a tie for 16th in his debut as a teenager. He tied for 30th last year when he played after winning the Masters.

After his short appearance at The Players, Spieth talked about needing to do a better job being positive and having more fun. This was a good start at the Nelson.

''It's just kind of something that everyone goes through. You got to learn to deal with it your own way and everyone gets frustrated when you play golf. You can't be perfect in this game,'' he said. ''It's just little bits and pieces here where I can maybe stay a little more neutral and yeah, when you're playing well, when you're 4, 5-under par, it's a lot easier to be happy.''

Garcia had a quick answer for what he changed midway through the opening round when all of his putts started going into the hole, including a 60-foot eagle putt on the par-5 seventh after a 25-foot birdie putt the previous hole.

''Nothing,'' said Garcia, the 2004 Nelson champion. ''The hole got in the way. Simple as that.''

Garcia finished a stroke off his Nelson-best 62 he shot as a 19-year-old in 1999 in his first round at Lord Byron's tournament on the way to a third-place finish. He is back for the first time in five years.

He had only one birdie and needed 18 putts on his first 10 holes, including a 21-foot par-saver after his tee shot into the greenside bunker at the par-3 17th.

''Nice par putt on 17 to stay 1 under and then kind of caught fire on the other nine,'' Garcia said.

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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.


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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.”


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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.


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''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.


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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.