Parry leads Scottish Open; Mickelson two back

By Associated PressJuly 11, 2013, 7:50 pm

INVERNESS, Scotland – Phil Mickelson eased back into links golf with a 6-under 66 at the Scottish Open, leaving him behind two Englishmen after a low-scoring first round on Thursday.

John Parry, ranked No. 471, held the clubhouse lead after a bogey-free 64 and Simon Khan (65) also tamed the Castle Stuart course in perfect morning conditions in the Scottish Highlands to finish alone in second.

Mickelson is tied for third with six others after quickly hitting his stride in the warm-up event for next week's British Open, finding his range on and around the greens to produce six birdies and an eagle.

Twenty-one years into a trophy-laden professional career, the four-time major winner insists there is still time for him to ''conquer links golf.''


Scottish Open: Articles, videos and photos


And his stylish opening round suggested a first win in Europe since 1993 could come either here or a few hours south in Muirfield next week.

''It's great for me to get off to a decent start because I have gotten off to poor starts the last couple of years here, and I have been fighting just to make the cut and get into reasonable contention,'' said Mickelson, who at No. 8 is the highest-ranked player in the tournament. ''I'm not having to battle uphill.''

After a three-putt for a bogey on his first hole left him muttering, Mickelson made a 15-foot putt for eagle at No. 12 – his third hole. The decision to install five greens, all with different surfaces, in his garden to improve his putting is paying off this year.

''Many of my great rounds in the past have started with a bogey,'' Mickelson said, ''so I wasn't too worried.

''The very first shot I tried to get a little greedy and it comes back to bite me. So it was a good wake-up call.''

Mickelson, fresh off missing the cut at The Greenbrier Classic last week and the heartbreak of his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open last month, felt he still ''let a few shots go'' in his first round of links golf since missing the cut at last year's British Open.

The same can't be said of Parry.

Outside the world's top 600 in December, Parry is in his first year back on the European Tour after losing his card in 2011. His confidence improved with a surprise 28th-place finish at last month's U.S. Open – his first major.

''I played with some top players and saw what they are like – you realize you are not a million miles away, that they are just more consistent,'' Parry said.

Everything went right for him after going out in the second group at 7:40 a.m., with birdies on four of his first six holes. Picking up a shot at the last pushed him ahead of Khan, who had just finished as part of the first group, and left Parry with a grin on his face.

''It was one of them where it just keeps happening,'' said Parry, whose only tournament win came in the Vivendi Cup in 2010. ''You wonder why you can't do that every week.''

Shane Lowry, Mikko Ilonen, James Morrison, Kiradech Aphibarnrat all shot 66s with Mickelson in the morning session. Thongchai Jaidee and Chris Doak joined the seven-man group in a tie for third place a few hours later.

Only 14 of the 78 players setting out in the morning session finished over par, and 117 of the 156-man field broke par.

But with the wind picking up off the Moray Firth, the afternoon starters – among them the last two British Open champions, Darren Clarke and Ernie Els – found things slightly tougher and no one came close to threatening Parry's score.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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 Web.com 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.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


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."

Getty Images

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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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.