Molder takes one-shot lead at Colonial

By Associated PressMay 27, 2016, 2:46 am

FORT WORTH, Texas - Bryce Molder was joking around with playing partner Scott Langley as the sky darkened over Colonial.

''It was almost like they were about to blow the horn for darkness,'' Molder said.

Except it was early in the morning after Molder - the leader after a 6-under 64- and Langley began play in the first group off the 10th tee Thursday in the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial.

''It wasn't dark to where you can't see the ball flight, but you're kind of reading putts looking a little funny at it,'' Molder said. ''It was dark. It was weird. It was almost like late, late, late in the day.''

They were on the 16th green next to the clubhouse when play was stopped because of rain and lightning in the area. After the 75-minute delay, when clouds thinned considerably, Molder had six birdies in his last nine holes and the 64 held up for a one-stroke lead over Patrick Reed, Anirban Lahiri and Webb Simpson.

Ryan Palmer, the Colonial member whose caddie James Edmondson is the four-time club champion, joined Jason Dufner, Martin Piller and Kyle Reifers in a tie for fifth at 66.

''It's a golf course I can step on to each tee and don't even need my yardage book,'' Palmer said. ''To shoot 4-under out here on a Thursday, you're not hurting.''

Jordan Spieth, the world's No. 2-ranked player, was among nine players at 67 after his breezy afternoon round when he missed the first six fairways. But he hit eight of the first nine greens and 14 overall while carding only one bogey - at the 244-yard, par-3 fourth hole.


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''It was so tough to gauge the wind correctly and get the ball close to the hole,'' Spieth said. ''On a day like this, you're just really looking to hit greens in regulation, be as stress-free as possible, and it felt like we were out there.''

Seventh-ranked Adam Scott, who in 2014 won at Colonial to cap his first week at No. 1, had an opening 72 with four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey.

Jason Kokrak was at 6 under and tied with Molder for the lead when he hit a drive in the center of the 18th fairway. But his approach went into the water to the right of the green, as did the next shot after his drop. His quintuple bogey 9 ended a round of 69.

Kevin Chappell (68) had the shot of the day with an eagle on the 387-yard 10th hole when his 8-iron approach from 158 yards went into the hole on the fly.

Molder, with one win in 251 career PGA Tour starts, had his first 18-hole lead since the 2002 Byron Nelson. He finished Thursday with four consecutive birdies - all from more than 10 feet, including a 20-footer at No. 7 after his drive into a fairway bunker on the 438-yard hole.

His only non-birdies on the front nine were at Nos. 3-5, known as the Horrible Horseshoe because of the layout and difficulty of that trio. He had pars on each of those holes, the 452-yard dogleg left third hole, the long par 3, and the 465-yard fifth hole parallel to the Trinity River.

''I hit a lot of greens early, 20, 30 feet, and just kind of rolled it up close,'' Molder said. ''And then all of a sudden hit a couple close when I made the turn, Nos. 1 and 2, got some close birdies. ... Maybe (the delay) just kind of helped me wake up. Actually, I went back out on the range and just kind of one little tinker here or there and found a little groove for the rest of the 12 holes.''

Langley had a 70.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.