Sabbatini Leads at Firestone

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- Rory Sabbatini is taking all bets that par golf on the weekend at Firestone will pay him $1.35 million.
 
Sabbatini continued to make a difficult golf course look like a breeze Friday, running off three straight birdies toward the end of his round for another 3-under 67 and a two-shot lead over Masters champion Zach Johnson in the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
What appeared to be a tuneup for the final major of the season next week at the PGA Championship is starting to look like it might be an even tougher test. Sabbatini was at 6-under 134, with only seven other players able to break par.
 
Five-time champion Tiger Woods was one of them after an even-par 70 in which he had no complaints until reaching the green. He made only two birdies despite hitting 15 greens in regulation, and those were wiped out by a pair of three-putts from about 35 feet in which he left the first putt some 8 feet short of the hole.
 
'They looked fast, but for some reason they putted a little bit slower than I thought they did (Thursday),' Woods said. 'I just had a hard time making the adjustment.'
 
He was at 138 along with Scott Verplank (68) and Kenny Perry, who had his second straight 69.
 
Someone asked Sabbatini if two more rounds at 67 would be good enough to win, and the spunky South African was almost speechless.
 
'On the weekend?' he said. 'I'd take that with that $1.35 million in a heartbeat. If I shoot 12 under, I'm winning. There's no doubt in my mind. The way I look at it, I'd take even money right now shooting even par on the weekend. The course is only going to get tougher.'
 
For once, not many could argue with him.
 
Johnson and Davis Love III had the best round of the tournament at 65, proving that it could be done. Love wound up in the group at 139 that included Lee Westwood and Chris DiMarco.
 
Johnson attributed his score to hitting fairways and making a bunch of putts, his recipe for winning at Augusta National. Indeed, the greens felt as quick as they are at the Masters, although Johnson had another major on his mind.
 
'Some of the guys were joking around at lunch that this is one of those courses where if the U.S. Open needed an emergency course, I think you could probably come here within a week's time,' he said.
 
Paul Casey and Hunter Mahan, who shared the first-round lead with Sabbatini, both sputtered. Mahan didn't make a birdie until the final hole in his round of 73, while Casey got hung up in the rough on the 18th on his way to a double bogey to also shoot 73. They were at 140.
 
Sabbatini was headed in that direction, especially after finding the rough left of the 14th fairway and taking bogey. But he holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th, wisely laid up on the 16th and made a 15-foot birdie putt, then hit an 8-iron up the hill on the 17th to about 12 feet right of the pin for this third straight birdie.
 
'It's a matter of picking and choosing your targets out there,' he said. 'There are opportunities you have that you can be aggressive, but you have to kind of back down and just give the course respect. Otherwise, it'll hit you pretty quick.'
 
No need to explain that to Sergio Garcia.
 
Playing for the first time since losing the British Open in a playoff, Garcia was at even par for his round when he made the turn at the 18th hole and paid dearly for a risky shot.
 
He tried to go through a cluster of trees from the left rough, heard it smack a tree, but he never saw where the ball wound up. His group searched 5 minutes for it before the ball was declared lost, a two-shot penalty, and Garcia had to return to the rough. The next one went over the green, over a cement path and next to a villa.
 
Garcia was given a free drop, but chipped short of the green and missed a 6-foot putt to take quadruple-bogey 8. He wound up with a 77, leaving him 14 shots behind.
 
Woods didn't do anything that outrageous, although he must have felt like banging his head against the putter. He missed four birdie putts inside 12 feet and wound up with 33 putts for the round. Walking toward the 14th tee, he muttered to caddie Steve Williams that he should have figured the greens out by then -- he had just left a 35-foot putt some 6 feet short, making that for par.
 
The grind at this World Golf Championship would seem to be the perfect way to prepare for Southern Hills next week.
 
Or maybe not.
 
'It just gets to the point where every course is a long, long golf course with deep, deep rough,' Love said. 'You can't get away with very much and you have to be right on perfect. You miss a fairway, you're hard-pressed to get it back on the green. They keep lengthening courses that are already long. It's just tough.
 
'We see the same basic thing week after week after week. And it's very, very tough on you mentally.'
 
The good news in northern Ohio is it might be slightly cooler.
 
It should be no surprise that Johnson found the conditions to his liking. It stirred memories of the Masters, which was firm and fast and made him pay attention to keeping the ball in play. And lightning-quick greens seem to suit him.
 
'Augusta ... my game plan really was pretty obvious,' Johnson said. 'I've got to hit my driver solid and get it in the fairway, just like it is here, and then putt well. I guess for the most part, I tend to putt pretty well on fast greens.'
 
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.