Ozaki Needs Only 22 Putts to Take Lead

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2008, 4:00 pm
Champions TourENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Joe Ozaki was so pumped after the first round of the Dicks Sporting Goods Open, he didnt mind doing most of the talking in his halting English. Then again, there was no alternative.
 
Ozaki shot a 9-under 63 on Friday, his low in three years on the Champions Tour, to gain a two-shot lead over Argentinas Eduardo Romero.
 
Joey Sindelar, Ronnie Black, and Fulton Allem were tied for third at 66, while John Harris, Des Smyth, Bobby Wadkins, and Morris Hatalsky were another shot back.
 
Bernhard Langer, second on the Champions Tour in earnings and playing the En-Joie Golf Club course for the first time, shot a 73.
 
R.W. Eaks, who won the first edition of this event a year ago with a 17-under total of 199, had a 75 while playing on two bum knees.
 
The playing on a cloudy day with just a hint of wind was the easy part for Ozaki, who had never played the narrow, tree-lined course before Mondays pro-am. His manager in the United States had the holiday weekend off, so his Japanese manager, Mitoki Adachi, who speaks only a couple words of English, just had to smile and let Joe describe a round that matched his best as a pro.
 
Very, very well today, Ozaki said with a big smile. Perfect. Greens perfect. Easy to stop. Between the trees, no problem.
 
OK, finished! Thank you! Ozaki said as he began to leave.
 
Not so fast, Joe.
 
When PGA TOUR media official Dave Senko told him he needed only 22 putts, Ozaki halted, but only momentarily.
 
Twenty-two? Really? he said. Thank you!
 
Because heavy rain soaked the course overnight, players were allowed to lift and clean their balls in the fairways, and Ozaki took full advantage. He had no bogeys and closed with a 29 on the back nine, making birdie on six of his final seven holes.
 
After sinking a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 9 to reach 3 under, Ozaki made birdie putts of 12 and 6 feet at Nos. 12 and 13, then chipped in from 71 feet at the par-4 15th hole to start a string of four straight birdies.
 
Romero made his mark on the front nine. He started with three straight birdies and after two pars made three more birdies with a trio of putts that traveled a total of 13 feet. The only blemish on his day was a double bogey at the par-4 10th after he hit his second shot into one of the 10 water hazards on the course.
 
You make a mistake and youre dead. I lost concentration at No. 10, I never lost it after that, said Romero, whose best finish this year was a tie for fourth at the Allianz Championship in February. I think this is my week.
 
Sindelar and his large gallery seemed to share that sentiment. He has three top-5s in eight starts since turning 50 in March to become eligible to play the Champions Tour, and he knows the course better than anybody. Sindelar, who grew up in nearby Horseheads and still lives there, had four birdies on the front side and three more on the back, a bogey at the par-4 sixth hole his only slipup on the round.
 
Sindelar, who won the B.C. Open in 1985 and 1987 at En-Joie before the tournament was taken off the PGA TOUR prior to the 2007 season, hit 14 greens in regulation and made birdie putts of 12 feet at No. 7, 15 feet at No. 9, and a 19-footer on the final hole. He also chipped in from 25 feet after missing left with his tee shot at the par-3 17th hole and got up-and-down for par from 40 yards after driving the right trees at the par-4 13th hole.
 
I finally made some putts. I basically hit bottom at (the Senior PGA Championship in May) at Oak Hill, said Sindelar, who still managed a tie for third, his best finish of the year. I couldnt get a putt in the hole. I had five birdies for the week. This course has worked for me through the years.
 
It worked a year ago for Eaks, but limping often on his aching knees, he made three double bogeys on this day and hinted afterward his career might be over.
 
I need two knee replacements. Im going to play two more tournaments and then Im quitting'done, said Eaks, who was in a threesome with Sindelar and Andy Bean (69). Its not any fun at all. I wanted to come back and play here one more time before the curtain closes, so thats what I did, tried to make the best of it. I saw some good golf today, so that was worth it.
 
Im a 15 handicapper now. I cant practice anymore. I show up on Thursdays and play in the pro-am and try and play. But I can ride my Harley, though, and thats a good thing. At least Ive got that to look forward to.
 
Divots:
Because of the possibility of early morning fog on the weekend, the final two rounds will be played off two tees starting each day at 9:30 a.m. Tom Wargo withdrew because of a bad back. Although 40 players broke par, nobody carded an eagle.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.