Goydos takes 3-shot lead in Schwab Cup Championship

By Associated PressNovember 12, 2016, 1:10 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Paul Goydos shot an 8-under 62 on Friday in windy conditions to take a three-stroke lead in the PGA Tour Champions' season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

The 52-year-old Goydos holed out from 167 yards for eagle on the par-4 12th and closed with birdies on the par-3 17th and par-5 18th on Desert Mountain Club's Cochise Course.

''It started off hard, it calmed down a little bit as the day progressed,'' Goydos said. ''In tough conditions we need to do good things. I made a bomb on the first hole for birdie, which kind of maybe relaxes you a little bit. I thought if I shot under par today, you'd have a good day.

''You knew the first five or six holes were going to be difficult, and to get a birdie early kind of calms you down. Actually, there were two. I made about a 12-footer for par after a mediocre iron shot. If I don't make that, I might shoot 70 today, but I made that putt and kept the momentum going.

Colin Montgomerie, third in Charles Schwab Cup season standings, was second. The Scot birdied the final two holes.

''I must say Paul Goydos' score this morning, because it was windy this morning, I think that 8 under this morning was one of the best scores we've seen all year,'' Montgomerie said. ''Tremendous score. Even to get within three for me was a delight.''

Points leader Bernhard Langer topped the group at 67.

''I actually played very nicely,'' Langer said. ''I maybe hit two bad 5 irons, came out of it a little bit and that was it. One resulted in a bogey and the other one I three-putted for bogey. But the rest of the day I hit the ball very solid, gave myself opportunities and just didn't make a whole lot of putts. ... Not too far behind, right there to still challenge for the championship.''

The top five in the standings - Richmond winner Scott McCarron is second, followed by Montgomerie, Joe Durant and Miguel Angel Jimenez - can take the season title with a victory Sunday. McCarron holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-5 15th in a 69. Durant shot 70, and Jimenez had a 74.

''I'm a scoreboard watcher and I know exactly what's going on, especially with my German friend behind and Scott McCarron and Joe and also Miguel,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just great to get in after just one round ahead of these guys at least to give myself a chance.''

Tom Pernice Jr., the winner of the playoff opener two weeks ago in California, also was at 67 along with Paul Broadhurst and Duffy Waldorf.

The season standings were reset after the event last week in Virginia, with Langer's lead over McCarron reduced from 935,657 to 200. The tournament winner will receive $440,000 and 2,000 points.

Langer is recovering from a left knee injury that forced him to withdraw from the playoff opener at Sherwood, The 59-year-old German has a tour-high four victories and has wrapped up the season money title with $2,836,459. He won season titles in 2010, 2014 and 2015.

Goydos entered the week 24th in the standings. He birdied four of the last five holes in a front-nine 30, and bogeyed the par-4 10th.

''I messed up 10 a little bit, made a bad swing and that's going to happen,'' Goydos said. ''It's hard to be perfect in tougher conditions.''

He rebounded with the eagle on 12.

''On the fly, didn't damage the cup, couldn't have been more center cup,'' Goydos said. ''It didn't even touch the cup. I had 167 yards, a 6-iron into the wind. It wasn't blowing too hard.

The two-time PGA Tour winner won the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in July for his third senior title. He shot a 59 in the PGA Tour's 2010 John Deere Classic.

''I remember when I did the 59 group and I talked to Annika (Sorenstam) about it, talked about being in the zone,'' Goydos said. ''When you play good, you're always in the present. You're not worried about what you're shooting, you're worried about the shot at hand. You're not worried about the green or the bunkers or whatever's up there, you're worried about your target and making a good swing.

''Today, I was very much in the present almost the entire day and that tends to be at least one of the prerequisites to playing good and then good things happen.''

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.

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Ortiz leads LAAC through 54; Niemann, Gana one back

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz shot a 1-under 70 Monday to take the 54-hole lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship in Chile.

At 4 under for the week, he leads by one over over Argentina's Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Chile's Toto Gana and Joaquin Niemann, and Guatemala's Dnaiel Gurtner.

Ortiz is the younger brother of three-time Web.com winner Carlos. Alvaro, a senior at Arkansas, finished tied for third at the LAAC in 2016 and lost in a three-way playoff last year that included Niemann and Gana, the champion.

Ortiz shared the 54-hole lead with Gana last year and they will once again play in the final group on Tuesday, along with Gurtner, a redshirt junior at TCU.

“Literally, I've been thinking about [winning] all year long," Ortiz said Monday. "Yes, I am a very emotional player, but tomorrow I want to go out calm and with a lot of patience. I don't want the emotions to get the better of me. What I've learned this past year, especially in the tournaments I’ve played for my university, is that I have become more mature and that I have learned how to control myself on the inside on the golf course.”

In the group behind, Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who is poised to turn professional, unless of course he walks away with the title.

“I feel a lot of motivation at the moment, especially because I am the only player in the field that shot seven under (during the second round), and I am actually just one shot off the lead," he said. "So I believe that tomorrow I can shoot another very low round."

Tuesday's winner will earn an invitation to this year's Masters and exemptions into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, and final qualifying for The Open.