Price Two Back of Fading Romero at Sr PGA

By Associated PressMay 26, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Senior PGA ChampionshipKIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Eduardo Romero's not worried about how big a lead he might have had -- only that he's the one on top at the Senior PGA Championship.
 
Romero missed the chance to take a four-shot lead or more into the final round, bogeying his last two holes Saturday.
 
Nick Price
Nick Price is looking to add another major title to his resume. (WireImage)
'It's OK,' he said. 'I'm still leading. I've got one more round to go.'
 
Romero was 9 under and four shots ahead after a birdie on the par-3 14th, but hit into a bunker on the 17th hole, leading to one bogey. Then he missed a 7-foot par putt on the 18th hole to tighten up a tournament he appeared to have a lock on.
 
Still, the Argentine star was 7 under after his 71, two strokes better than Denis Watson (69) and Nick Price (70). Naomichi 'Joe' Ozaki (72) was fourth at 4 under.
 
Romero's miscues 'let the three of us back in the tournament,' said Price, whose three major titles include two PGA trophies.
 
No one else was under par after three days at Pete Dye's seaside layout.
 
Romero had played the best of anyone through two rounds of wind gusts as high as 31 mph -- and urged the nearby Atlantic to do its worst because Romero grew up playing far breezier rounds in his native country.
 
Even though gusts slackened, Romero's game did not until the end. He had gone 17 holes without a bogey before closing with two straight.
 
Even with Romero's late mistakes, Price thinks chasing him down Sunday will be a chore.
 
'I don't think he's going to lay down. He's playing so well,' said Price, who was part of Romero's threesome.
 
Romero remains poised for a second straight major on the Champions Tour -- he captured The Tradition in his rookie season last summer -- and to become the first international player to take this tournament since Gary Player did it in 1990.
 
Romero's not concerned about the pressure -- he said he saw his face on the front page of an Argentine newspaper -- of trying to close out the tournament.
 
He'll approach the last round as he the first three.
 
'Nothing changes,' he said. 'Don't see the scores. Don't see the players. Just make birdies and go (to the next hole).'
 
That worked to perfection for most of the third round.
 
He birdied the par-5 seventh for a third straight day and, after his ball skipped through a sand dune and landed in front of the 11th green, Romero lengthened his lead to two shots with a birdie there -- also his third straight on that par 5.
 
Romero extended his lead to three with a birdie on the par-3 14th. When Romero found trouble in a sand dune alongside the 15th hole, he simply chipped up to 2 feet and saved par.
 
Romero, though, could escape problems down the stretch, missing similar putts on both closing holes.
 
Watson's run was fueled by consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th holes that got him two shots behind. But a bogey on No. 17 dropped him back. Watson is seeking his first tour victory since winning three PGA TOUR titles in 1984.
 
Ozaki stayed close enough to Romero for most of the round. He fell back, though, when he drove into a dune left of the 15th fairway, could not hack his way out on his next shot and made double-bogey 6.
 
The Atlantic wind that blasted the course Thursday -- and reminded some competitors of what they faced in the 1991 Ryder Cup matches here -- were much calmer Saturday.
 
'Not that it laid down,' said Tom Kite, who shot the tournament's best round with a 5-under 67. 'I mean it always blows here, even when it doesn't blow.'
 
Once again, officials shrunk the 17th, this time to 158 yards, its lowest total of the tournament and 39 yards under its scorecard listing.
 
Divots:
Bruce Lietzke opened strongly with four birdies on his first seven holes for front-nine 32. However, he faded with four bogeys on the final nine to finish at even-par 72. ... Club pro Bill Schumaker on his first-round 80 played amid 30 mph winds: 'I'm from Indiana,' he said. 'If we got wind like that we don't even go outside, let alone play in it.'
 
Related Links:
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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 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.


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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.

    @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.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."