Maggert wins at Fallen Oak in Champions Tour debut

By Associated PressMarch 23, 2014, 10:47 pm

SAUCIER, Miss. – Jeff Maggert admitted his decisive putt on No. 17 at Fallen Oak wasn't supposed to be one that actually dropped. He was just trying to get it close.

So when the 50-foot putt rolled up and down a big ridge as it broke from left to right – and then fell into the hole – the Champions Tour rookie was as surprised as anyone.

He had been consistent all week. Now, just a little bit of luck had pushed him to victory at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak on Sunday.

''You can't count on those going in very often,'' Maggert said with a grin.

Maggert became the 17th player in Champions Tour history to win in his debut, shooting a 4-under 68 to capture his first victory since the 2006 St. Jude's Classic on the PGA Tour.

The 50-year-old fell into a tie for the lead with Billy Andradeafter making bogey on No. 16, but responded with the astonishing putt that pushed him back ahead.

''I was just trying to hit an easy lag putt,'' Maggert said. ''I wanted an easy tap-in for par and it was just one of those things – the ball found the hole.''



When it dropped, Maggert shook his head in disbelief. He finished the tournament with an 11-under 205.

Maggert is a three-time PGA Tour winner who turned 50 in February. His consistent weekend included a 68 on Friday, a 69 on Saturday and he capped his debut performance at Fallen Oak with four birdies on the back nine on Sunday to earn the $240,000 paycheck.

''I had expectations to play well, but I didn't know if I would play well enough to win,'' Maggert said. ''I'd been struggling a little with my game, but everything just kind of came together. It was one of the best tournaments, as far as ball striking, that I've had in a few years in any event. That really carried me through.''

Andrade, who started the day tied with Fred Funk for the lead, shot a 71 to finish in second two strokes back.

Andrade and Funk started the final round on top of a tight leaderboard, with a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples, Jay Haas and Maggert. The round was pushed back two hours because of rain, but the slightly soggy course didn't affect scoring much.

Funk fell off the pace quickly, finishing with a 75. Haas was steady, but could never get on a roll and shot a 71 to finish tied for third with Bernhard Langer, who jumped up the leaderboard with a 68.

Couples – who won the Toshiba Classic last week – faded after shooting a 66 to take a two-stroke lead in the opening round. He shot a 72 on Sunday to finish fifth.

That left Andrade as Maggert's biggest challenger. The 50-year-old was playing in just his fourth Champions Tour event and had the lead at the turn, but made three bogeys on the back nine to fall out of contention.

Andrade hasn't played much the past four years while working part-time as an analyst for The Golf Channel. He said Sunday's back nine was frustrating, but that the weekend had shown him ''that I still do have a little talent and I can play with these guys.''

''I haven't been in this type of situation in a long time,'' Andrade said. ''It's probably going to take me a little while to get the rust off when it comes to nerves and being in the hunt.''

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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.


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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.