Rose birdies 17, 18 to win Zurich Classic

By Associated PressApril 26, 2015, 10:25 pm

AVONDALE, La. – Whatever derailed Justin Rose's game appears long gone now.

Sensing he needed to birdie the final two holes to keep the lead, Rose pulled it off with aggressive swings and clutch putts for a one-stroke victory over Cameron Tringale on Sunday in the Zurich Classic.

''Earlier this year it looked impossible to win,'' Rose said, referring to his three missed cuts and failure to finish better than 37th in his first five starts of 2015. ''I'm very happy to have turned my game around.''

Rose completed a 7-under 65 in the rain-delayed third round Sunday morning and closed with a 66 at TPC Louisiana for his seventh PGA Tour title. He finished at 22-under 266, a record total on the course southwest of New Orleans that has hosted the city's PGA Tour stop 10 times since 2005.

The Englishman has won at least once in six straight seasons, the second-longest streak on the tour behind Dustin Johnson's eight straight. He's projected to jump from ninth to sixth in the world ranking.

Rose said his drastic improvement two weeks earlier at the Masters, where he tied for second, helped him in the Big Easy.

''I took my Masters performance with a huge amount of confidence,'' Rose said, recalling in particular the sense of calm he was able to maintain down the stretch at Augusta National.

Playing aggressively on the soggy TPC Louisiana, Rose made six birdies in the final round and played the last 66 holes without a bogey.


Zurich Classic: Articles, videos and photos


Rose's final two putts from 10 and 13 1/2 feet allowed him to hold off Tringale, who birdied the 18th for a 65.

''I'm pleased,'' said Tringale, who was looking to become the eighth first-time winner in the last 11 years in New Orleans. ''To finish one back is still a pretty good week.''

Boo Weekley, who led after the first round, finished third at 20 under, and Jim Herman and Jason Day, ranked sixth in the world, tied for fourth at 19 under.

When Rose sank his final putt, he punched his right hand high above his head and looked straight behind the green at roaring fans in the suite of one of his main sponsors, Zurich, which also sponsors the tournament.

He then took off his white cap whipped it across his body and later flexed his left arm to bring attention to the sponsor's logo on his sleeve.

He had to wait about a half-hour before his closest pursuers completed their rounds, but allowed himself to soak up adulation from fans before the result was official.

''I obviously walked off the golf course feeling like I'd done enough,'' Rose said. ''The reception when I came off the golf course was I'd done enough. So it's hard not to enjoy it.''

Rose began the final round tied with Day for the lead at 16 under. But Day, who had to finish most of his third round Sunday morning, hooked his drive into trees lining the left boundary of the second fairway. On the next swing, his ball smacked a tree and bounced right back to him.

He wound up with a bogey on the par-5 hole that he birdied in first and third rounds. On 13, he left a 70-yard approach shot short of the green. He said hot, steamy conditions wore him down over the course of 32 holes.

''The early days and the hot days, and just the long days in general kind of finally caught up to me,'' Day said. ''I played great all week, but this final round just had a lot of mental errors.''

Rose made birdie putts beyond 10 feet on the par-5 seventh and par-4 eighth to improve to 19 under. That was good for the lead until Tringale, several holes behind, birdied the sixth, chipped in for eagle on the seventh and birdied the eighth to reach 20 under.

The course, carved out of a cypress swamp, was soggy from rain that had fallen for much of the past month, including heavy downpours that delayed parts of the second and third rounds.

There was standing water on the edges of some fairways and mud in well-worn spots. As players walked the course, their steps produced a sound similar to water being squeezed from a sponge.

Allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways and with no roll of any significance to be found, players swung aggressively and aimed approach shots pin-high.

With the top of the leaderboard tightly packed as Rose stepped to the par-3 17th, he showed no interest in playing it safe, even though the pin was placed to the left side of the green, near a bulkhead dropping down into a water hazard from which alligators looked on. Rose took out his 5-iron and belted a 210-yarder straight toward the pin, landing about 10 feet behind the hole, setting up his clutch birdie putt.

''It would have been easy to hit it 20, 30 feet right of that pin, but I kind of knew that - because I was three or four holes ahead of some of the other guys in contention - I knew they had birdie opportunities.''

On the par-5 18th, with water to the right, Rose unloaded a 295-yard drive down the middle, then smacked a 3-wood 243 yards just left of the green and chipped over a sand trap to set up what would be his winning putt.

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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.