Scott Shares Early Lead in Houston

By Associated PressApril 3, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Shell Houston OpenHOUSTON -- Adam Scott went straight to the clubhouse for medical treatment after his first round at the Houston Open.
 
Imagine what he wouldve shot if he was healthy.
 
The defending champion took advantage of placid early conditions to shoot a course-record 9-under 63 on Thursday, his third straight spectacular round at the Tournament Course at Redstone.
 
Johnson Wagner matched Scotts 63 late in the day. The Amarillo, Texas, native also shared the first-round lead last year and shared the previous course record (64) with Bubba Watson.
 
Charley Hoffman was two behind the leaders after a 65 and Steve Stricker was three back. Phil Mickelson, one of several top players using Houston as a tuneup for next weeks Masters, shot a 72 in the afternoon, when blustery wind produced higher scores.
 
Scott was too ill to worry about the weather, suffering since he arrived in Houston with a fever and swollen glands around his throat. He struggled to get out of bed before his tee time and visited a doctor after his round.
 
In between, he was practically flawless, reaching 17 of 18 greens in regulation and needing only 28 putts.
 
I was just about conserving energy and thought about hitting the fairway and hitting the green and not having to work too hard, he said. Fortunately, thats kind of how today went. I need to keep going that way.
 
If only he could feel this sick'and play this well'at Augusta.
 
Id like to stay like this for about another two weeks, he joked. Maybe I shouldnt get the antibiotics.
 
Redstone seems to be tonic enough.
 
Scott was 22 under in his last 54 holes at Redstone and hasnt made a bogey since the 18th hole of his second round last year. He shot 65-66 on the weekend to earn a three-shot victory.
 
I feel really comfortable on this golf course, Scott said. A lot of the shots really fit my eye. I feel like I know where to hit it.
 
Last year, Scott became the sixth Australian to win the Houston Open and the second straight on this course, following Stuart Appleby in 2006. Appleby, the runner-up last year, shot a 70 on Thursday.
 
Starting on the back nine, Scott made a 55-foot birdie putt on his first hole, then added birdies on 12, 13 and 15. He holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the tough 18th to finish at 6-under 30, missing the tournaments nine-hole record by one shot.
 
I didnt start the day out feeling like I was playing great, Scott said. But certainly, as the round went on and the more birdies I made, the confidence came and the swings became better.
 
The wind was gusting by the middle of Scotts round, but he didnt seem to mind. He birdied Nos. 4 and 5 for the third straight round at Redstone, then made a 28-foot putt on the par-5 eighth.
 
Scott two-putted for par on his last hole to beat the course record set by Wagner and Watson in last years third round. Scott and Wagner missed the tournament record by a stroke.
 
Wagner has missed six cuts in nine starts this year, his second on the tour, but his average score in five rounds at Redstone is 68.2.
 
I dont think Ive ever held another course record anywhere other than this place, he said.
 
Wagner teed off long after Scott was finished. He noticed immediately that his course record was history.
 
Walking down our first hole, I looked over at my caddie (Steve Hale), we saw the board, Wagner said. I said, There it goes, its gone. He said, Well, the days not over yet. You still have a chance.
 
Wagner started on the back nine and was 6 under with two holes left. With his mother watching, Wagner knocked a 260-yard approach within a foot on the eighth and tapped in for an eagle. He was 5 under on his last five holes.
 
Heard my mom whistling, he said. Shes got a loud whistle.
 
Hoffman shot a 31 on his front nine, then overcame a three-putt bogey on his 11th hole with birdies on two of his last three.
 
Nice to see those when there hasnt been so much of that this year, said Hoffman, currently 105th in the money list.
 
Stricker was 1-over after five holes, then birdied six of his next nine, finishing the stretch by holing a bunker shot on the par-4 5th. He added a birdie on the par-5 8th to secure his sixth sub-70 score in his last seven rounds at Redstone.
 
Divots
 
Davis Love III, needing a victory to qualify for next weeks Masters, shot a 69. Love has the longest active streak of major appearances (70). Jason Gore withdrew on Thursday morning with an illness. John Daly opened with a 78.
 
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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.