Haas rolls to Champions Tour victory

By Associated PressJune 3, 2012, 10:38 pm

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - Kirk Triplett put together the best round of golf anyone had ever played Sunday in the Principal Charity Classic.

But Jay Haas was brilliant for three rounds instead of one, proving yet again that nobody can dominate the Glen Oaks Country Club like he can.

Haas finished with a 16-under 197 total to win the tournament by five strokes, becoming the first golfer to win the Champions Tour event in Iowa three times.

Haas, the winner in 2007 and 2008, led by three shots after shooting 65 in the second round and made it stand up with a final round 5-under 66.

Haas' 16-under tied the tournament mark set by Gil Morgan in 2006 and matched the largest victory of the season in the Champions Tour.

''(Saturday) I really played well, but (Sunday) was a special round. And to kind of take hold of it and not give them a chance...that was pretty special,'' Haas said.

Triplett set the course record with a 9-under 62 and finished second at 11-under 202 along with Larry Mize. Fred Funk and Tom Lehman tied for third at 10-under.

Haas couldn't match Triplett's theatrics. Then again, he didn't need to.

Haas had built up enough of a lead to be able to play it safe - notching a victory that felt strangely similar to his easy one at Glen Oaks in 2007.

Haas birdied the par-3 second hole for some breathing room, and saved par on No. 9 despite three putts. Haas nailed another birdie on the 14th hole, giving him a four-shot cushion with four holes to play.

Haas capped a brilliant weekend by leaving his tee shot on the par-3 No. 16 within two feet. He tapped in, but a bogey on the next hole kept him from passing Morgan.

''There was no smoke and mirrors. It was good solid golf, and hopefully it will boost me for the rest of the year,'' Haas said.

Triplett was playing just his fourth Champions Tour event this year, and a tie for eighth in Tampa Bay in April had been his best finish. He started Sunday in equally unassuming fashion at 2-under, nine shots back of Haas, before playing the best round Glen Oaks had ever seen.

Triplett notched birdies of half of his holes, including a 10-foot putt on the notoriously difficult No. 17 to reach the record low. He nearly went to 10-under, but his long putt on the 18th hole stopped a few feet shy of the cup.

Triplett tied his personal best of 9 under he shot at the Greater Hartford Open and the John Deere Classic in 2000. But the 73 he shot on Saturday doomed him to a tie for second.

''I'm still kind of in shock I guess. I hadn't really been playing that well. Evert time I made a mistake it came up par, birdie, and then all of a sudden I felt like if I could get a couple more I might shake those leaders up a little bit,'' Triplett said.

He certainly did. But while Triplett was waving his famous white hat to a cheering crowd on No. 18, Haas was quietly wrapping up a birdie on the 11th hole.

Haas did make the crowd smile on the 14th hole, known around Glen Oaks as ''the beer hole.'' Haas's birdie putt had the gallery in a roar in part because the price of a beer is slashed on No. 14 whenever someone makes a birdie.

The reaction didn't surprise Haas. He's made more than a few birdies on that hole and many more in Iowa over the years.

''Every hole just kind of looks good to me. When I stand up on the tee, I see where I'm supposed to hit it. I'm not really uncomfortable on any hole out here, and the greens were at a really good pace this week,'' Haas said. ''This course just seems to suit me. I don't know what it is. I just feel comfortable here.''

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x