Hoffman leads wind-swept Texas Open

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2015, 1:27 am

SAN ANTONIO - Charley Hoffman took advantage of calmer afternoon conditions to take the first-round lead in the wind-swept Texas Open, shooting a 5-under 67 on Thursday.

After wind gusts threatening 40 mph pummeled the morning starters, Hoffman faced steady 15 mph wind in the afternoon at TPC San Antonio. He had the lone bogey-free round, birdieing Nos. 2, 3, 9, 11 and 17.

The winner last year in Mexico at the start of the wraparound season, Hoffman has eight top-10 finishes in nine appearances in San Antonio. He was second in 2011 and third in 2013.

''I don't know the answer to (the success here),'' Hoffman said. ''Visually, the course sets up nice for me off the tee. It was just a pretty low-stress round for me.''

Aaron Baddeley was second after a 68. The Australian had a remarkable birdie on the par-4 17th when he snap-hooked his drive deep into thick woods, went back to the tee and holed out from 336 yards.

''That was crazy,'' Baddeley said. ''I hit it, started walking, and the crowd starts going nuts. So, I'm 'Wait. I just made birdie.' It rolls up and goes in.''

Max Homa had a 69, and Phil Mickelson and Ryan Palmer shot 70.

Mickelson, winless since the 2013 British Open, lost the clubhead off his 8-iron when it came flying off while he hit from a fairway bunker on the 12th hole.


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''That was weird,'' Mickelson said. ''But I thought it was playable out there, for the conditions. It's nice, selfishly, to be on the good end of the tee times in the afternoon. It really looked tough for the guys in the morning.''

With gusts reaching 38 mph early in the day, no one with a morning tee time managed to break par. Only Matt Kuchar and Cameron Percy matched it, and conditions might have been worse if not for maintenance crews slithering hoses onto some of the greens to water them down.

The stroke average for the morning wave was 78.61 and the overall average was 75.9.

From the 69 players in the morning, 23 failed to break 80. Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson managed to keep it in the 70s, but they had their struggles with the wind.

Furyk opened his day with a 52-foot birdie putt, but he shot 76. Johnson had a 78, his worst since shooting a first-round 80 before withdrawing last year from the Houston Open.

U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer had two triple bogeys in an 82.

Defending champion Steven Bowditch opened with an 80.

Sam Burns, an 18-year-old high school senior from Sherevport, Louisiana, who earned a spot in the field by winning the Junior PGA Championship last summer, carded an 89 with a quadruple bogey at No. 9.

Hoffman took the lead when he drove near the collar of the 17th green, chipped up and made a 6-footer for birdie.

''I got lucky that when it was blowing hard, my first four holes were downwind,'' Hoffman said. ''I was able to birdie a couple of them. The wind started to die down a little bit at No. 5, and I felt comfortable.''

Graeme McDowell was one of three players from the morning wave who withdrew while shooting high numbers, citing injuries. McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, said his left ankle and foot were bothering him when he pulled out after a 5-over 41 on his first nine. Sang Moon Bae (back) was 6 over through seven, and Colt Knost (thumb) had it at 9 over through eight with a quadruple bogey at No. 3.

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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