Pernice Green grab Sony Open lead

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007 Sony OpenHONOLULU ' On the kind of day where Tom Pernice Jr. kept his head down to battle the wind and rain, he looked up just in time to see his final shot disappear into the hole for eagle on Friday that gave him a 7-under 63 and a share of the lead in the Sony Open.
 
It was a fitting end of a second round that delivered a few surprises, starting with the weather.
 
Those 50 mph gusts in the forecast, which forced school closings across Oahu, never quite made it to this corner of the island, leaving Waialae wet and windy, but no worse than the opening round.
 
Tadd Fujikawa, the 18-year-old who turned pro after his sophomore year in high school, secured his first PGA Tour paycheck by ripping two shots onto the green at the par-5 ninth for a birdie and a 69.
 
But nothing was more stunning than Pernice making eagle into the strength of the wind, tying for the lead with Nathan Green (66).
 
The finish was spectacular, Pernice said. Youre not thinking about holing it from the fairway. It was tough out there today. Luckily, I scraped it around when I needed to and didnt make any bogeys, and just kind of hung in there.
 
Pernice and Green, who played in the morning, were at 8-under 132 going into a weekend that could be wide open.
 
Shigeki Maruyama had a 68 and was one shot behind, and the dozen players within four shots of the lead included former Masters champion Zach Johnson, Mercedes-Benz Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy, Boo Weekley and David Toms.
 
Only nine shots separated the top from the bottom.
 
Fujikawa finished his two rounds at even-par 140 and was eight shots behind, the same margin he faced in 2007 when he became the youngest player in 50 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour. He wound up tied for 20th that week, and was hopeful of something similar.
 
I have a lot of good memories from that year, Fujikawa said. I want to keep it going. Im playing well.
 
Lorens Chan, the 14-year-old amateur qualifier who was trying to become the youngest player in PGA Tour history to make the cut, lost hope early when he played his first nine holes in 42. He birdied two of the last three holes for a 75 and missed by six shots.
 
The par-5 ninth was the scene of other high drama.
 
Andres Romero, still struggling to find his form from his offseason rust, was headed home to Argentina until he holed an 18-foot birdie on the seventh, then made a 15-foot eagle putt on the ninth to make the cut on the number.
 
Davis Love III wasnt so fortunate. A runner-up last week at Kapalua that moved him to No. 54 in the world as he tries to qualify for the Masters, had a 12-foot eagle putt to make the cut, but he missed.
 
Johnson finished birdie-birdie-eagle to turn a decent day into a great one with a 65.
 
Even so, Pernice stole the show.
 
After ripping a driver and a 3-wood into the wind, he had 92 yards left to the hole, which typically would be a lob wedge. Pernice went with a punch pitching wedge just right of the hole, and it spun to the left and into the cup.
 
Its not necessarily something where you feel like youre going out and hitting every shot perfect, he said. Its not going to happen, even in these conditions, because your good shots dont always turn out good. The mentality was to hang in there and keep plugging along. Obviously, the eagle at the last was quite exciting.
 
Green didnt have too much excitement except for the fifth hole, when it started raining hard and he hooked his tee shot toward the hazard. It was one of the few times a player is happy to see a tree in the way, for it allowed him to escape with bogey.
 
That was the only glitch on an otherwise solid start to his season. And like so many other players, Green considered it a minor victory that he got to play at all considering the forecast.
 
All the news that maybe we wouldnt play had a few of us pretty scared, and that it was meant to blow all day, Green said. But you get patches out there where it was not really blowing at all. They have the tees forward on a lot of holes. So as long as you get your tee shot in the fairway, you still have a few fair opportunities to make birdie.
 
The rain was so strong at times that Greg Kraft had a 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th, and as the ball was not even halfway to the hole, he was running toward his caddie to get under the umbrella.
 
Toms watched the wind carry one shot across the green into the rough, but he chipped nicely to 3 feet for par. Then came the 17th, playing 188 yards, and Toms selected a 3-iron. He came up some 40 yards short of the hole.
 
Im hitting into the wind, trying to hang onto the club, everything soaking wet, he said. It was tough.
 
But it could have been much worse.
 
The course was slightly shorter, and the greens a little slower because the greens were cut only once in case of high wind.
 
Ernie Els, a two-time Sony Open champion who has never finished lower than fifth at Waialae, played bogey-free over the final 16 holes to scrape out a 69 and finish at 1-over 141 to make the cut on the number, as did former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger
 
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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.