Mixed bag of major victors, winner wannabes at Canadian Open

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2011, 2:23 am

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Michael Thompson followed up his even-par opening round with a 4-under 66 on Friday to move into a tie with Chad Campbell after the second round of the Canadian Open.

Campbell shot 67 in cloudy morning conditions, and Thompson bettered it on a sunny afternoon, finishing with a birdie on the tough 472-yard, par-4 18th.

Paul Goydos (69) and Lee Janzen (68) had a share of the lead before bogeys on their final hole dropped them to 137 after another tough day in the thick rough along the tight, tree-lined Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.

For Thompson, a 26-year-old from Alabama who was the rookie of the year on the Hooters Tour last year, the only comparison was the 2007 U.S. Amateur, where he made the finals before losing to Colt Knost, who was at even par Friday.

“What I’ve learned on a golf course like this is you pick your line and you get really focused in on your target,” said Thompson, who has now made five straight cuts in his first PGA Tour season, and 10 of 17 overall.

Playing under mostly sunny skies in the afternoon, Thompson followed an early bogey with five birdies, including his effort on the 18th.

“On top of that, just accepting where it goes,” he said. “If it goes in the rough, you deal with it. There’s no reason to freak out or panic.”

Current Masters champion Charl Schwartzel (67) and former U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy (68) were among seven players at 2 under, two strokes off the lead.

“Good players are playing well in this tournament,” said Ogilvy, who wasn’t a fan of the rough. “It’s a quality looking leader board and at the end of the day that’s all you can ask for. It doesn’t really matter what people shoot.”

Joining Ogilvy and Schwartzel at 2 under were Rickie Fowler (69), Jerry Kelly (67), first-round leader Kris Blanks (71), and Canadians David Hearn (68) and Adam Hadwin, a local playing on a sponsor’s exemption who bogeyed 18 for a 66.

For the 23-year-old Hadwin, in his second year on the tier-3 Canadian Tour, the round was extra special because younger brother Kyle, who has had five major surgeries while battling Crohn’s disease was able to leave a nearby hospital and walk the course. It was the first time since last year’s Canadian Open, when Hadwin was the top Canadian, that Kyle was able to see his brother play in person.

Kyle wasn’t able to travel when Adam qualified for this year’s U.S. Open.

“He’s a tough kid, he’s been battling hard for a while,” Hadwin said. “It’s great that he’s able to get out here and enjoy this with me.”

Scott McCarron shot the lowest round of the tournament, a 65 that moved the veteran into a group of seven players at 1 under, and Tommy Gainey, who opened with a 77, matched it to move to 2 over and get below the 4-over cutline.

Despite no overnight rain to soften the course like early Thursday, scores were down by almost half a shot, but considering that first round was third-toughest on the PGA Tour this season at more than 3 over par, it was all relative.

Anthony Kim, coming off a tie for fifth at the British Open last week, was disqualified after signing for less than his 11-over 81.

“A.K. just got it going sideways a little bit and out here there’s no faking it,” said Fowler, who played with Kim and Lucas Glover, who is 1 under. “You’ve got to hit the ball in the fairway and stay out of trouble here.”

The number of players under par was down – from 21 after Round 1 to 18 going into the weekend – and Campbell, Goydos, Fowler and Janzen were the only ones to stay under on both days as the thick rough claimed more than just scorecards.

Canadian favorite Weir, whose 2003 Masters win is a distant memory as he plummets to No. 475 in the world, withdrew after hitting out of the long rough and aggravating an elbow injury that cut short his 2010 season. Weir was 8 over after six holes when he pulled out.

“Very disappointing,” he said. “This is our national championship. I want to play and have great fan support. But I’m just not going to re-injure it again. With this deep rough, I just can’t hit it.”

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry