Sabbatini Makes Final Push Before Break

By Associated PressMay 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
Crowne Plaza Invitational at ColonialFORT WORTH, Texas -- Rory Sabbatini knows he will need to take a break to avoid becoming fatigued and frustrated.
 
Since his impressive streak of three straight top-3 finishes that included the Masters and Wachovia, Sabbatini has started to feel the effects of playing so much.
 
'Actually, everything still is really good,' Sabbatini said Wednesday. 'Last week, I kind of felt my body at the end of the week and just wasn't able to keep myself mentally focused. That's just wear and tear from playing a couple of events in a row.'
 
Still, time off will have to wait until after the Colonial, his fifth straight tournament -- and one not far from his home in Southlake.
 
'I look forward to it every year. It's a great event,' Sabbatini said. 'There is obviously a great tradition behind it.'
 
Sabbatini didn't skip Hogan's Alley, where the course itself is one of the biggest parts of the tradition. He has already withdrawn from next week's Memorial, another tournament he has always enjoyed, but knows he needs a breather before the U.S. Open next month.
 
But a lot of other top players are skipping the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, which begins Thursday.
 
Only two players in the Colonial field are higher in the world ranking than 16th-ranked Sabbatini. They are Jim Furyk, now third after Phil Mickelson took over the No. 2 spot last week, and No. 14 Trevor Immelman.
 
Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are among former Colonial winners not playing, but defending champion Tim Herron is back, along with two-time winners Kenny Perry and Corey Pavin.
 
Furyk said Colonial is 'probably my favorite course to play and probably my favorite tournament' even though he has only four top-10 finishes in 11 Colonial appearances.
 
While length is a premium at so many modern-day layouts, the old-style par-70, 7,054-yard tree-lined Colonial course is pretty much the same as it was when Ben Hogan won there five times from 1946-59.
 
The only three top-10s for Furyk this season came in consecutive tournaments before the end of February. He was 13th at the Masters, but hasn't been better than 28th in any other tournament since, allowing Mickelson to leapfrog him in the world ranking after Mickelson won THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
'I wish I was playing great golf and he was just playing better,' Furyk said. 'He has been playing great golf and my game has been only mediocre the last couple of months. ... I just haven't been doing the things that I needed to do to score well.'
 
Sabbatini tied for third at the Wachovia Championship despite a closing 74, which came a day after he matched the course record of 64 and said how much he wanted to play in the final group with Tiger Woods. Sabbatini was 44th at The Players Championship and closed with a 73 at last week's AT&T Classic to tie for 24th.
 
'I could tell my body was getting a little tired,' he said. 'I felt good going into the last two weeks, but just haven't felt that same ability to be able to maintain my focus throughout the rounds.'
 
After getting home from Georgia, Sabbatini didn't hit a golf ball until playing in the pro-am event Wednesday. He spent Tuesday driving a stock car 160 mph during a NASCAR driving school at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
This is Sabbatini's 15th tournament this season. He has made 11 cuts with four top-10 finishes (only one fewer than last season) and is 13th on the money list with $1.7 million.
 
The youngest player on the PGA TOUR when he was a 22-year-old rookie in 1999, Sabbatini is now a veteran who knows when he can't keep pushing himself to play.
 
'That's definitely getting to know my body better and realizing that being worn out and fatigued and getting frustrated is not exactly beneficial to me,' the South African said.
 
Herron, who beat Richard Johnson in a two-hole playoff last year, is defending a title for the first time since the 1999 Bay Hill Invitational. But the husky golfer known as 'Lumpy' who is popular among his peers and the fans isn't exactly playing top-notch golf.
 
In 26 tournaments since winning Colonial for his fourth career victory, Herron has no top-10 finishes and has been better than 31st only three times -- the last time when he was 19th in the season opener this year.
 
'I don't know if I'm completely prepared to defend,' Herron said. 'I've struggled since probably last year's Colonial. But you know what, before I won Colonial last year, I was struggling. So you just never know in golf.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Crowne Plaza Inviational at Colonial
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    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. 

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

    Getty Images

    Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:18 am

    All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.

    “I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    “I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”

    Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.

    “This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.

    Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.