RW Eeks Out First Champions Tour Win

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2007, 4:00 pm
Champions TourENDICOTT, N.Y. -- The long wait is over for R.W. Eaks.
 
Eaks, who never finished better than seventh in a PGA TOUR event and was winless in 90 events over six seasons on the Champions Tour, shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the inaugural Dick's Sporting Goods Open.
 
Eaks, a self-taught golfer from Colorado who has five runner-up finishes the past two years, completed the three rounds over the narrow and tricky En-Joie Golf Club course at 17-under 199. He won $240,000 to push his earnings for the year past $1 million.
 
Not bad for a guy who was told after his only golf lesson to give up the game.
 
'I honestly didn't know if I could win a tournament,' Eaks said. 'Man, this is great! I want to do it again.'
 
Tour rookie Bruce Vaughan, bidding to become the first open qualifier to win a tournament since Pete Oakley won the 2004 Senior British Open, provided the only real challenge. But Vaughan (68) never mounted a charge over the closing holes and finished second, three shots behind.
 
Lonnie Nielsen had a closing 67 to finish third at 10 under, one shot better than D.A. Weibring (66) and Andy Bean (68).
 
Scott Hoch (73), seeking his second win of the year, missed four birdie putts on the front nine, never found his touch on the backside and finished tied for sixth with John Harris (69) and Boonchu Ruangkit (69), nine shots behind.
 
Eaks began the day with a one-shot lead over Vaughan and a two-shot advantage over Hoch. It was just the second time in his Champions Tour career that Eaks had led going into the final round. He led Bob Gilder by one stroke after 36 holes at the 2005 SAS Championship before closing with a 77 and finishing in a tie for 10th.
 
This time he was aggressive from the start and didn't falter, even with Hoch and Craig Stadler, who counts the 1982 Masters as one of the 13 tournaments he won on the PGA Tour, in close pursuit.
 
Stadler was three shots behind Eaks to begin the round. He was 2 under on the front side and a birdie at No. 10 moved him to 11 under. But a bogey at No. 14 and a double-bogey at 15 took him out of contention. He finished with a 73, tied for ninth with Jack Ferenz.
 
Eaks is known for his distance off the tee and he used it to open a three-shot lead at the turn.
 
After making birdie at the par-4 second hole, he hit his second shot at the 554-yard, par-5 third hole within six feet of the pin and made eagle to get to 14 under.
 
The thunderstorms that were forecast never materialized, but a stiff, gusting wind briefly buffeted the course while the final threesome was playing the par-5 fifth hole.
 
And the 55-year-old Eaks, who had five drives ricochet harmlessly off trees on his bogey-free, second-round 62, kept his string of good luck going. His drive struck a spruce tree along the right side of the fairway, the ball bounced back onto the fairway, and he parred the hole.
 
Eaks saved par at the par-3 seventh hole, which he aced on Saturday, with a brilliant shot out of a greenside bunker that traveled across the expansive green and stopped 3 feet from the pin.
 
And when Hoch and Vaughan elected to lay up at the par-5 eighth hole, Eaks took a wood from his bag, drilled a shot over the five greenside bunkers onto the green, and two-putted from about 15 feet for birdie to reach 15 under.
 
Vaughan rallied with a birdie on the next hole, but Eaks replied with one of his own to maintain his three-shot cushion at the turn.
 
'I'm throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them, but they're hanging right in there,' Eaks said as he headed for No. 10.
 
Vaughan moved within two shots of the lead with a birdie on the next hole, but when Eaks faltered at the par-5 12th hole Vaughan failed to capitalize.
 
Eaks' second shot landed under some trees to the right of the green and he had to punch out, the ball landing short of the green. But Vaughan drove into the right rough and hit his third shot just over the green to the edge of a sand trap, and both players ended with pars.
 
Eaks secured the breakthrough triumph when Vaughan dropped a shot at the par-4 16th hole, two-putting for bogey from just over 7 feet.
 
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    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.

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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.


    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."

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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.