Lowery Takes Advantage of Singhs Collapse - COPIED

By Associated PressFebruary 10, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Steve Lowery had gone more than seven years and 199 tournaments without winning, a drought that would have continued Sunday at Pebble Beach if not for a stunning collapse by Vijay Singh.
 
Three shots behind when he stood on the 15th tee, Lowery made up quick ground when Singh made three straight bogeys, then won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with a 7-foot birdie. At 47, he became the oldest winner in the 71-year history of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
Lowery closed with a 4-under 68 and won for the third time in his career, all of them in playoffs.
 
Singh recovered from his three bogeys with a wedge that stopped 2 feet away for birdie on the final hole for a 71 to force the playoff. Both players finished at 10-under 278.
 
But the Fijian's troubles only got worse playing the famous 18th hole at Pebble Beach a second time. His drive found a bunker to the right, and his second shot clipped the top of the bunker, leaving him 192 yards short of the green. A 4-iron for his third shot plugged into the side of another bunker, and he did well to blast out to 8 feet and make par.
 
Lowery's birdie putt was good all the way, an amazing victory for a variety of reasons, least of all Singh's collapse.
 
Lowery was No. 305 in the world when he arrived on the Monterey Peninsula. He finished 148th on the money list last year because of a wrist injury, and was given eight tournaments to make $282,558 to keep his card for the rest of the year.
 
That's no longer a problem. Lowery earned $1.08 million and a two-year exemption, sending Singh home to question whether his retooled swing can hold up under pressure.
 
The first playoff at Pebble Beach since 1992 didn't even seem remotely possibly when Lowery walked off the 14th green with a bogey. He was three shots behind Singh, who had just hit a brilliant flop shot to 6 feet to save par on the 13th.
 
Turns out that was a sign of sloppy play that followed.
 
Singh went at the flag on the 14th with a sand wedge from 92 yards, but it was a tad strong and spun down the slope, and the best he could do was chip to 20 feet and make bogey. He missed the 15th green to the left, chipped weakly and missed an 8-footer for par.
 
His fairway metal found a bunker off the 16th tee, and Singh powered that shot over the green, down the slope and into the back bunker. He blasted through the green and two-putted for bogey from the fringe to fall into a tie. Singh arrived on the 17th tee in time to watch Lowery hole a 20-foot birdie putt to take the lead, and if not for a couple of fortuitous bounces, Singh might not have been in a position for a playoff.
 
Singh's 3-foot par putt on the 17th swirled around the inside of the cup before falling, and his tee shot on the 18th was headed for a tree until it bounced off the trunk and deflected to the right. That gave him a clear shot at the green, setting up his wedge to 2 feet.
 
Dudley Hart, who started the final round tied with Singh, didn't make a birdie until making three in a row at the end for a 72 to finish one shot out of the playoff. He tied for third with John Mallinger (65) and Corey Pavin (66).
 
Jason Day, the 20-year-old from Australia, finished alone in sixth after a 70.
 
Pebble Beach was the final tournament to qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship. Pat Perez shot 72 and tied for 24th, but it was enough for him to get into his first World Golf Championship. Perez moved up two spots to No. 64, and with Ernie Els not playing, he will face Phil Mickelson in the first round.
 
J.B. Holmes, who missed the cut at Pebble, dropped to No. 65 and gets Tiger Woods, provided no one else withdraws.
 
Singh won Pebble Beach four years ago, his first of nine victories that season, and he was poised to capture his 32nd career victory to become the leader among international players.
 
He made three birdies on the opening six holes, and winning looked as easy as sliding into a recliner. He stopped on the edge of the cliffs along Stillwater Cove, soaking in the warm sunshine and gentle surf, a man without a care in the world.
 
No one else made a lasting charge until Lowery ran off three straight birdies along the Pacific, including a terrific shot out of the bunker on the tough ninth hole that settled 15 feet away to put him at 11 under to pull within one shot.
 
Singh answered, however, with a long iron from the rough that barely cleared a hump of grass and trickled to 14 inches of the cup for his easiest birdie of the round. And when Lowery dropped shots on the 11th and 14th, victory for Singh looked as certain as a tap-in.
 
That changed when his sand wedge from spun off the green, and it ended with two shots into the bunker on the playoff hole.
 
DIVOTS
 
Fredrik Jacobson and Bill Walters won the pro-am by a record 10 shots, finishing at 38-under 250. ... Nicholas Thompson birdied five of his first six holes and was tied for the lead when Singh and Hart teed off, but he didn't make another birdie and finished with a 70 to tie for seventh. ... The other two players Lowery beat in playoffs were Rick Fehr at the 1994 International and Skip Kendall in the 2000 Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.