Notes Bubba Needs Focus Hole-In-Three

By Associated PressMay 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Bubba Watson has every shot in the bag. He just may not have the required patience and self-restraint to hit them all the time.
'My goal every week is just to stay focused,' he said Thursday after shooting a 6-under 66 to finish a shot behind leaders Sean O'Hair, Rod Pampling and Nick O'Hern in the opening round of the Memorial. 'I'm not worried about hitting shots.'
Watson hates to wait or kill time -- two things professional golfers have to do 18 holes at a time. He'd prefer to do something, anything, other than just standing around.
For Watson, patience is certainly not a virtue.
'Going out there for five hours, I can't sit still,' Watson said. 'When I'm at home, on my week off I play golf with everybody back home. I might go out there for 36 holes. I've got to do something. I'll go play basketball, play tennis. I just get bored, so going out there in the heat and waiting on the group in front of us -- I've got a weak mind, I guess. I've got other thoughts going through my head, like what movie I'm going to watch tonight. Just random stuff.'
One of the longest hitters on tour, Watson is off to a strong start this season. He has four top-10 finishes this year and ranks 29th on the money list. He's already made more money than he did all of last season, when he finished 90th on the list as a rookie.
When his mind wanders, Watson takes chances.
For instance, a year ago in his first trip to the Memorial, he was 5 over for the tournament when he came to the 14th hole on Saturday. Now the 14th is a simple hole, a long iron off the tee and a wedge to the narrow green which is surrounded by bunkers and water.
Yet Watson pulled out driver on the 363-yard hole. And he drove the green.
'That was just immature stuff compared to now,' he said. 'I'd already made the cut, so I figured why not get somebody to remember who I am?'
Mission accomplished. The gallery went wild when it realized that someone had driven the green. After accepting applause at the green, he two-putted for the birdie.
Even moments that like have taught him that he needs to rein in his racing thoughts.
'I've just got to keep grinding away and keep trying to stay focused -- somehow something has got to click when I stay focused,' he said. 'That's what I have to learn. The physical part of the game, I have all the shots. I'm not saying I'm going to be No. 1 in the world, but that's my goal. If I can stay focused, I have a better shot at it.'
The cheer behind the 12th green was loud enough to signal a hole-in-one. Jose Coceres had to settle for par.
Coceres hit a 6 iron into the water right of the 184-yard, par-3 hole off the tee, so he had to go to the drop area. His 99-yard third shot with a sand wedge took a hop and disappeared into the cup for a par, although the Argentine celebrated as if it were an ace. He raised both arms in the air, removed his cap and took a bow.
'Very nice. A very good par -- with no putter,' he said with a smile.
The first round of the Memorial tournament started with word that Phil Mickelson was withdrawing because of a wrist injury. It ended with another top player leaving the course.
Masters champion Zach Johnson withdrew due to strep throat after hitting his drive on the 16th hole.
Johnson got a ride to the clubhouse, where he consulted with a doctor. Then he slowly walked to his waiting car.
'I can hardly talk,' he said before departing, pointing to his throat.
Last year's Memorial winner, Carl Pettersson, actually improved on his first-round score from 2006. He shot a 68, a stroke better than a year ago, when he finished 67-69-71 to get to 12-under 276 and win by two shots over Brett Wetterich and Johnson.
Unlike a year ago, he was recognized as he moved around the course.
'Yeah, it was nice,' he said. 'A few guys shouting 'Go champ!' and stuff like that. It was nice to play well and get off to a good start.'
Phil Mickelson, after withdrawing because of an injury to his left wrist: 'I'm not really worried yet, no. It's never happened before, so I'm not really sure what to think of it.'
The Memorial hadn't had three or more players tied for the first-round lead since 1998. ... Wetterich, tied for second a year ago, shot a 77, tied for worst on the day. ... Mickelson's withdrawal was only the second of his career. He bowed out of the 2004 Las Vegas Invitational because of food poisoning. ... Lucas Glover also withdrew, because of back spasms.
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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.