McIlroy stumbles, five back in Dubai

By Associated PressDecember 9, 2011, 3:17 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Rory McIlroy’s bid for the Race to Dubai title was in doubt after he hit into the water on 18 and finished five shots off the lead halfway at the Dubai World Championship on Friday.

No. 2-ranked McIlroy needs to win at Jumeirah Golf Estates and hope No. 1 Luke Donald finishes no better than ninth to claim the European money title. Donald hopes to become the first ever to win the European and PGA Tour cash crowns.

McIlroy admitted the failed last-hole gamble makes it unlikely he can overtake Donald for the European money title, though he insisted he wasn’t conceding it just yet.

“I’ve got a bit of an uphill battle on my hands now to try and win the tournament,” he said. “But it’s still very possible. I’m only five shots back with 36 holes to go which you can make up in nine holes … I’ve got to stay very patient and bide my time.”

Donald helped his cause, finishing with three birdies in a row to post a 4-under 68, tied for 12th.

“It was a struggle today. I’ve been making a few uncharacteristic mistakes, not sure what that is down to, maybe just the situation and what is at stake,” said Donald, who has finished outside the top 10 on the European Tour only three times this year.


Highlights: Four! Quiros takes control in Dubai


“But yeah, to make three birdies in a row will make lunch taste great and hopefully make the next two days a little easier.”

McIlroy, with his second consecutive bogey on 18, carded 71 to finish five shots behind Spanish leader Alvaro Quiros, who eagled the 18th for a 64.

Quiros’ bogey-free low round of the day included six birdies. He’s at 12-under 132 for the tournament, four shots clear of Sweden’s Peter Hanson (72). England’s Robert Rock (69) was a further shot behind at 7 under, tied with McIlroy.

McIlroy started out strong, much as he did on Thursday, with two birdies on the front nine. But on the back nine they were offset by three bogeys. On the 18th, he gambled on his approach shot and ended up in water.

“It obviously wasn’t the way I wanted to finish,” McIlroy said.

“You know, 3 under after 16 holes. If I had picked one up at the last two which I was trying to do and get to 10 under par for the tournament, it would have been a really good day. But unfortunately it wasn’t the case.”

McIlroy said the effects of a lingering illness didn’t have an impact, adding he “didn’t feel too bad.”

He said he came down with a mild case of dengue fever while he was in South Korea and China in October and early November. Blood results came back on Friday that showed his “platelet count was low and my white blood cell count was low as well.”

McIlroy said he will see a doctor again on Saturday before deciding whether to pull out of the Thailand Golf Championship next week.

“To be honest, I’m ready for the season to be done,” said McIlroy, who never considered pulling out of the Dubai finale. “But you know, it’s up to her (the doctor) at the end of the day. If she feels like I can go, then I’ll make the decision whether I can go or not.”

For Donald, it looked like he was headed for another disappointing day.

An errant drive on the first hole led to a bogey, but he bounced back with two birdies in a row. He then managed one birdie to go with a bogey over the next 11 holes as he struggled to keep his drives on the fairway.

But on the final three holes, the Englishman ran off three consecutive birdies. On the 18th, Donald’s drive landed in a pile of wood chips in the rough, but his 200-yard approach shot landed on the green and he sank a 12-footer for birdie.

“Well, it was certainly a lot of pressure out there,” Donald said. “It’s just that I’ve got to handle it. I’m making a little bit too many unforced errors and I need to play the weekend like Luke Donald knows how to play.”

No. 3-ranked Lee Westwood (70) was at 2 under, and No. 4 Martin Kaymer (71) on par for the tournament.

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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

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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.

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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

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''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.

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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.


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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.

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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.