Haas Funk set for seniors final major

By Associated PressOctober 8, 2008, 4:00 pm
Champions TourTIMONIUM, Md. -- Nothing Jay Haas accomplished during his unspectacular career on the PGA Tour foreshadowed the astonishing success he has experienced playing golf with the 50-and-older crowd.
Haas is poised to become the first player on the Champions Tour to finish atop the money list three years in a row. He will tee off Thursday at the Senior Players Championship as the 2008 money-leader with $1,677,626'his take from winning twice and compiling 11 top-10 finishes in 17 tries.
Haas has already claimed 12 tournament titles'including two majors'and earned more than $8 million in 4 1/2 years on the Champions Tour. In nearly 30 years on the PGA Tour, he won nine tournament titles, no majors and never closed higher than 13th on the money list.
Haas is a different player now, and his only lament is that he didnt retool his game sooner.
Later in my career, I tried not to play tentatively, he said. I guess I felt like, when I stand up to a tough shot, it makes me madder if I take a tentative swing and dont take a good shot than if I take a rip at it and dont hit a good shot.
There havent been many poor shots this year for Haas, who is closing in on two goals he set before the season: to be the top money-winner and win the Charles Schwab Cup, a points-based competition to determine the top player on the Champions Tour.
Im there. Im in position right now, he said. This is a big stretch, but I dont think Im going to hang over a shot and say, Ive got to hit this shot or else Im going to blow the Schwab Cup.
But winning the Senior Players Championship, a 72-hole major tournament with the top prize of $390,000, would provide a huge push in his bid for an unprecedented third straight money title.
That would be a neat thing to have my name on, with all the great players that have played in the past, he said.
Haas finished tied for 17th at last years tournament at the Baltimore Country Club. Loren Roberts won the event and finished first in the Schwab Cup, one notch ahead of Haas.
The par-70, 7,037-yard course features wide fairways and well-groomed greens, but only 22 of the 78 golfers broke par last year.
Haas, Fred Funk, Eduardo Romero, and Roberts are among the favorites. Longtime veteran Tom Kite, now 58, also has a decent shot.
I cant do anything about Jay, or Eduardo, or Fred Funk or Loren Roberts or any of the other great players. I know theyre going to score well, Kite said. Its just up to me to try to score as well as I can, and hopefully that will be good enough to have a chance to win.
Kite is having an excellent year, moving up to ninth on the money list after finishing first, 14th, tied for second and second in his last four tournaments. His play on the Champions Tour is merely an extension of his outstanding run on the PGA circuit.
Haas, conversely, is still getting used to the concept of playing in the final twosome and cashing winners checks.
Not ever having been to the mountain top, this is my chance to do that, Haas said. Not having the success that I would have loved to have on the PGA Tour, now I have this chance to do something Ive never done before. That drives me.
So does the concept of winning now, before a new crop of spry 50-year-olds takes aim at winning some of that prize money.
There is an end to this. Im 54, he said. I realize the window of opportunity is closing. Maybe not so quickly, but I can see the end here so I want to get it while I can.

Related Links:
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.