Mediate opens Sr. PGA with record-tying 62

By Associated PressMay 27, 2016, 1:36 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Rocco Mediate played the first 13 holes in 9 under and closed with five pars for a 62 to match the Senior PGA Championship and Harbor Shore records Thursday.

Taking advantage of greens softened by overnight rain, Mediate matched the marks set by Kenny Perry in the 2012 final round.

''It wasn't wet, as far as soaking wet. A couple wet spots. But it was fine,'' Mediate said. ''Greens were good. Soft. They received pretty good. ... I know it rained like heck last night. I heard it last night. But the golf course was fine. Greens were good. Everything was good. A little softer.''

The 53-year-old Mediate capped a front-nine 29 with an eagle on the par-5 ninth and added birdies on the par-3 11th and 13th holes at Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores.

''Solid stuff,'' Mediate said. ''A lot of fairways. A bunch of greens. When I missed it was in the right spot. ... I hit it close, so I had a lot of short putts for birdie. I didn't really make a long one. It was one of those days. I just drove it really well. I hit a lot of solid irons.''

Mediate has two victories on the 50-and-over tour after winning six times on the PGA Tour.

''Stuff I'm working on is coming around,'' Mediate said. ''I'm just trying to get back to what I used to do and that's hit the ball in the middle of the face most of the time. It's been a few years since that's happened. So it was a lot of fun. A lot of fun.''

Gene Sauers had a bogey-free 63.

''I like being up early in the morning. It was nice,'' Sauers said. ''You get fresh greens and I hit the ball really solid. Just tried to concentrate on just where I wanted to place the ball and just not have too many long putts, because you can get some really pressure putts out here.''

Mike Goodes shot 64, and Kenny Perry, Kirk Triplett and club pro John DalCorobbo were another stroke back. Perry played alongside Mediate and two-time defending champion Colin Montgomerie, who had two late bogeys in a 67.

''We were all feeding off each other,'' Perry said. ''Rocco shot 29 on the front nine and drug us all along in there. He hit it close and made a lot of putts. It kind of set the tone for the whole group.

''The whole group played nice until the last couple holes, I don't know if we got tired or what, but they're hard holes, 16, 17 and 18 are tough holes. I bogeyed 17 and I think Colin bogeyed 16 and 17. But Rocco parred them all. So he had an amazing round.''

Bernhard Langer, fresh off the 100th victory of his career - at a major, no less, at the Regions Tradition in Alabama, opened with a 69.

The 58-year-old German is going for an unprecedented sweep of all five PGA Tour Champions majors. In Alabama, he won his sixth major championship as a senior and joined Nicklaus as the only players to win four different senior majors. Nicklaus had largely retired when the Senior British Open was added to the major rotation. He only played that once in its first year as a major in 2003.

John Daly struggled to a 75 in his second senior major start. He had a 9 on the par-4 16th, a double bogey, three bogeys and six bogeys. Daly tied for 15th and 17th in his first two senior starts since turning 50.

Montgomerie played the first 10 holes in 6 under, with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10. The Scot won in 2014 at Harbor Shores and last year at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

DalCorobbo holed out with a 9-iron from the fairway for an eagle on the par-5 18th. A PGA assistant professional at Brickyard Crossing in Indiana, he won the Senior PGA Professional Championship in October.

''For not playing in a competitive event for quite some time, I think that the focus, really, the plan was, to not so much to score, but can I handle my mental routine and stay within that. So for the most part I think I did a good job. I hit a tremendous shot on 18 and a lot of that is luck, but I hit some good shots during the day and really happy about that.''

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”