Langer, Maggert lead U.S. Sr. Open; Watson 1 back

By Associated PressJune 27, 2015, 11:40 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The crammed leaderboard at the U.S. Senior Open has some familiar faces heading into the final round and one notable name nobody expected to challenge for another major.

Good luck predicting what will happen Sunday.

Bernhard Langer and Jeff Maggert shared the lead at 5-under 205 at Del Paso, where conditions cooled off Saturday after consecutive days above 100 degrees. But the competition remained hot, with eight players one shot off the lead, including 65-year-old Tom Watson and defending champion Colin Montgomerie.

''It's like a horse race,'' Watson said. ''Getting close to the wire.''

Langer shot a 2-under 68, and Maggert had a 70.

Watson, who was tied with Maggert and Peter Fowler through 36 holes, salvaged a 71 after making a 20-foot par putt on the 18th hole that sent the gallery into a roar. Montgomerie had a 70, and Kenny Perry surged into contention with a 64.

The trio was joined by Fred Funk (68), Grant Waite (69), Scott Dunlap (68), Woody Austin (69) and Jim Carter (70). Fowler shot a 72 and was among six players at 3 under.

''The only way to separate yourself is by playing great golf,'' said Langer, who should feel comfortable in this position.

Langer and Montgomerie have combined to win six of the previous seven senior major championships. Maggert had the other victory during that stretch earlier this year at The Tradition, where Perry won in 2014.

''I'm kind of getting sick of seeing them, actually, especially on top of the leaderboard,'' Maggert said. ''But it does seem to be a pretty constant theme out there.''

The lone contender nobody saw coming is the Hall of Famer who has made a career of winning on golf's biggest stages.

It's just been awhile.

Watson, an eight-time major champion on the PGA Tour, is decades past his prime. He's is trying to become the oldest winner of the event, the oldest to win a senior major and the oldest to win on the Champions Tour.

''I don't know what that will require me to do, but I hope that I'm within a body length of the leader - if there's a leader out there,'' Watson said.

Each leader took a different route through 54 holes.

Nobody more than Perry, who came out of nowhere with six birdies on his front nine - tying a nine-hole event record with a 28 - and before shooting par on his back nine. Perry, who began the day seven shots off the lead, was so far out of contention he started his round on the back nine under the split-tee setup.

''I felt like I was playing a round of golf with my buddies. Just very relaxing, didn't have much spectators,'' Perry said.

Now he'll try to complete another huge comeback in this championship in front of a crowd.

Perry rallied from 10 strokes behind after 36 holes to win the 2013 U.S. Senior Open in scorching heat at Omaha Country Club. He turned in finals rounds of 64 and 63 for a five-stroke victory.

''I know I did it once. Hopefully, I can do it a second time,'' Perry said.

Montgomerie shot 2 under on his front nine before giving it back after the turn. Maggert made three birdies and three bogeys, including on the 18th for a chance to take sole possession of the lead. And Langer looked comfortable again with his usual caddie, Terry Holt, back on the bag for him.

Holt sat out the first two days recovering from a reaction to a spider bite on his leg. Bobby Siravo, a Del Paso member and former professional golfer, caddied for Langer on Thursday and Friday.

Langer's long putter carried him again, including a 25-foot birdie on No. 13. But his approach on the 18th landed in the long, lush rough below the green, and he missed an 8-foot putt to save par.

Even still, Langer has been as good as anybody on the Champions Tour in this spot.

The 57-year-old German won his second straight Senior Players Championship two weeks ago. And he has won five senior majors, which is tied for fifth most.

Just don't call him - or anybody - a favorite Sunday.

''You've got to try and avoid mistakes and make some putts and hit some incredible shots,'' Langer said. ''It's the only way to really separate yourself.''

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

Getty Images

Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.