Mediate looking forward to hometown tournament

By Associated PressAugust 1, 2013, 5:35 pm

BLAINE, Minn. – Rocco Mediate already loves Minnesota.

This weekend, he's hoping to add a professional highlight to his personal experience in the state.

The Champions Tour rookie is engaged to Minnesotan Jessica Somers and has a summer home in Excelsior, a suburb west of Minneapolis. When he takes the course at the TPC Twin Cities on Friday morning, Mediate will be one of several first-timers to play in the 3M Championship, the annual senior tour stop in the land of lakes.

''It's going to be a great week. It's good to be home,'' Mediate said Wednesday after playing in a pro-am with a group that included former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. ''All of our friends and all my new friends will be out.''

Mediate, who turned 50 in December, has had a decent season.

He won the Allianz Championship in February and finished fifth or sixth in his next three events. After finishing no higher than 22nd place in four June events, he rebounded with a third-place finish at the U.S. Senior Open two weeks ago. He tied for 18th at last week's Senior British Open.

''I putted good for five weeks and the next five weeks I putted normal,'' said Mediate, who is 38th on the tour rankings in putting at 29.74 per round. ''If you putt normal out here against these guys, game's over.''

Struggles on the greens also have been a problem for the newest, and one of the most decorated, players on the 50 and over tour.

Colin Montgomerie, who turned 50 on June 23, has played in the three tour majors since then (finishing ninth, 30th and 21st), but will be competing in his first regular tour stop this week.

''The Champions Tour is a much more friendly atmosphere away from the course. On the course, it's incredibly similar, and I'm glad it is,'' said Montgomerie, who has won 31 European Tour events in his career and finished second at five major championships.

The Scot said he's hitting his drives and irons as well as ever, but he, too, is struggling with the putter. He had the club beside him at a news conference Wednesday and said it would be by his side everywhere he goes and whatever he does the next few days.

''The only way you're going to score low is if you putt well. I don't care where it is. It could be a runway or a pitch-and-putt. If you're not putting well you can forget it,'' he said.

Mediate, who recorded six wins during his 27-year PGA Tour career, might be best known for losing to Tiger Woods in a 19-hole playoff at the 2008 U.S. Open. He will be paired with Kenny Perry and Craig Stadler for Friday's opening round. Perry has won two majors this year and leads the tournament points race. Stadler has five top-eight finishes in seven starts at the 3M Championship.

''It's good to play with the best guys because you want to put yourself up against those guys to see if you can beat them, whether it's this tour or any tour,'' Mediate said.

Montgomerie will play with Jay Don Blake and Brad Faxon.

The tournament's winning score has been at least 15 under in each of the past six years. The last 10 champions all have had three consecutive scores in the 60s.

General admission to the tournament is free for the third straight year. The largest crowds are expected Saturday when, in addition to the tournament's second round, three of the top women's golfers in history are scheduled to play in the Greats of Golf Challenge, an 18-hole scramble.

Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley will compete against a pair of men's teams. One will feature Lee Trevino, David Graham and Fuzzy Zoeller; the other will have Johnny Miller, Dave Stockton and Bill Rogers. Arnold Palmer is scheduled to captain the women's team while Billy Casper and Don January will serve as men's team captains.

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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 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.


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.