Herron Leads a Tight Race at Pebble Beach

By Associated PressFebruary 8, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Tim Herron was so frustrated that he changed putters for the first time in seven years at a tournament renowned for having some of the most unpredictable greens on the PGA TOUR.
 
Desperation slowly gave way to satisfaction Friday in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when Herron shot a 2-under 70 at Poppy Hills and emerged with a one-shot lead in a tournament loaded with possibilities.
 
'Everyone who makes the cut is going to be right in the tournament,' said Herron, who was at 7-under 137.
 
The cut won't be made until after Saturday, when the 180-man field has played all three courses in the rotation, but one look at the muddled leaderboard makes it perfectly clear what Herron is talking about.
 
A 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole at Poppy gave him a one-shot lead over four players, including FBR Open winner J.B. Holmes and Nicholas Thompson, who was tied for the lead until missing a 20-inch putt on No. 8 at Pebble Beach, his 17th hole.
 
Holmes was fortunate to stay one shot behind after his tee shot on the 18th at Pebble Beach dropped into that big water hazard left of the fairway known as the Pacific Ocean. He took a drop, belted a fairway metal onto the green and two-putted for par.
 
Jason Day, the 20-year-old Australian and youngest member of the PGA TOUR, had a 70 at Spyglass Hill and was among a half-dozen players at 5-under 139.
 
Three dozen players were within four shots of the lead.
 
That group did not include defending champion Phil Mickelson, who played his final 11 holes at Spyglass with no birdies and three bogeys for a 72, although he still was in range at 1-under 143.
 
'This is the round that could've been,' Mickelson said. 'I really could have had it going. I had a number of birdie opportunities to be well under par and just gave it away.'
 
Mickelson joins the movie stars and corporate VIPs at Pebble Beach on Saturday, when the tournament might finally take shape.
 
'If I shoot a good round tomorrow ... at Pebble, you can shoot 6 or 7 under and get back in it, and that's what I need to do,' he said.
 
But those rounds have been hard to find.
 
The peninsula has rarely been this majestic for the AT&T, but those blue skies have been accompanied by a cool, stiff breeze that has made scoring higher than unusual. Ryan Palmer has the best score at Pebble this week, a 65 that was 13 shots better than his opening round.
 
Davis Love III was disappointed when he walked off Pebble Beach with a 71 until he looked at the leaderboard behind the green and realized his 3-under 141 was right in the mix.
 
'It's harder than you think,' Love said. 'The ball isn't going anywhere.'
 
He left a number of iron shots well short of the hole to limit his birdie chances, but playing for the first time in four months because of ankle surgery, he had no complaints about the way he walked or played. Love has two months to qualify for the Masters, and he could finish in the top four, it might be enough to qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks.
 
'I've got to look at the positives,' he said.
 
Floyd catches himself looking at the past when he gets to Pebble Beach, primarily because his name is in bronze on the wall of champions leading up to the first tee.
 
'That's my claim to fame among my friends, that I won Pebble Beach,' said the 32-year-old son of Raymond Floyd. 'I don't really tell them it's the amateur portion of it.'
 
Floyd was a teenager playing with Dudley Hart when they won the pro-am in 1994, the year Johnny Miller won his final PGA TOUR event at age 46, by one shot over a group that included Tom Watson.
 
Floyd had a solid amateur career but has yet to make it to the big leagues. Even though he earned his real estate license and still works a few days a week, he has not given up on his dream. Floyd played the mini-tours last year, failed to advance through Q-school, but received a sponsor's exemption to Pebble Beach. He also is playing next week at Riviera on an exemption.
 
He opened with a 68 at Pebble Beach, then followed that with a 70 at Poppy Hills.
 
'To come out here and be able to perform is really exciting,' Floyd said. 'It's only two rounds. I knew I was playing well enough to do this. I didn't know if I was going to be able to handle my nerves well enough to play. So far, I guess, good enough.'
 
But there's still a long way to go, and so many players within the lead.
 
Tennis great Chris Evert got to watch her fiance, Greg Norman, play all 18 holes on Friday, and the Shark played most of them well. He shot a 70 at Spyglass and was at 2-over 146, needing a low round at Pebble Beach to make his first cut on the PGA TOUR in three years.
 
DIVOTS
 
As expected, Tiger Woods will skip the Northern Trust Open at Riviera next week for the second straight year. Riviera again drew a strong field however, with 17 of the top 20 in the world ranking. ... Tadd Fujikawa took two double bogeys on his way to an 81 at Pebble Beach, and the 17-year-old from Hawaii was headed for another missed cut since turning pro last summer. ... Pat Perez rallied for a 70 at Spyglass Hill and was on the cut line. He has to make the cut to have any chance of qualifying for the Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks.
 
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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.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    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.