Putnam, Knox share 36-hole lead at Shriners

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2014, 1:53 am

LAS VEGAS - Andrew Putnam birdied two of the last three holes Friday for a 6-under 65 and a share of the second-round lead with Russell Knox in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Putnam is playing his fourth PGA Tour event. He earned his tour card this year through the Web.com Tour.

''It was a good round,'' said Putnam, who birdied all three par 5s. ''I started off slow, one bogey, but played good out there. I played the par 5s well today, was able to take advantage of those.''

Knox, from Scotland, had a 67 to match Putnam at 10-under 132 at TPC Summerlin. Knox had six birdies and two bogeys - on Nos. 2 and 3 - in the second round.

''I got a bit worried, though, because I was all over the map,'' Knox said. ''I didn't feel real good with my swing, and I knew if I just made some pars, eventually something would click. And I made a couple putts, which really settled me down.''

Andrew Svoboda and Tony Finau were a stroke back. Finau shot 65, and Svoboda had a 67.

''I putted really well today,'' Svoboda said. ''I made some long putts.''

Defending champion Webb Simpson topped the group at 8 under after a 65.

''I just kept it right in front of me,'' Simpson said after his bogey-free round. ''That's what I did last year on this golf course. If you keep hitting the fairways, you're going to have opportunities to make birdie. I made some putts today. Didn't make many yesterday. All around, just a good, solid day.''


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Martin Laird, the 2009 winner who was tied with Stewart Cink for the first-round lead, was in the group at 8 under after a 70. He had a double bogey on the par-4 seventh - his 16th hole of the day.

Spencer Levin, George McNeill, Ben Martin, Bo Van Pelt, Scott Piercy and Wes Roach also were 8t under. Levin and McNeill shot 63 - the best rounds of the week.

Levin birdied seven his last eight holes.

''I was 1 over through three, so to shoot 8 under is pretty cool,'' Levin said. ''I made a couple nice putts on my 17th and 18th holes, which kind of makes you feel a little better. I really didn't play that bad, I just didn't putt well yesterday. I probably played a little better today tee to green, but not much. It's just the putts went in today.''

McNeill birdied seven of his last 10 holes.

''Obviously, I knew what I had to do,'' McNeill said. ''I wasn't trying to really force anything, but fortunately got off to a decent start, and again in the middle of the round kept it going, and then a nice finish birdieing 18.''

Cink followed his opening 64 with a 75 to drop into a tie for 45th at 3 under. He had a quadruple bogey on the par-4 11th - his second hole of day - and made a bogey on the 12th. He also had a bogey on No. 6 and a double bogey on No. 7.

Stuart Appleby went the other direction, rebounding from a 74 with a 64 to move into a tie for 30th at 4 under.

Jarrod Lyle had a 71 to fall into a tie for 22nd at 5 under. The Australian is making his second PGA Tour start since a recurrence of leukemia some 18 months ago.

FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel missed the cut with rounds of 71 and 72. At No. 13, he was the top-ranked player in the field.

Sang-Moon Bae, the Frys.com Open winner Sunday in the season opener in Napa, Calif., also shot 71-72 to miss the cut.

 

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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.