Singh Looks to Spark Hot Streak

By Associated PressApril 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Shell Houston OpenHUMBLE, Texas -- Vijay Singh is winless in 17 starts on the PGA Tour, his longest victory drought in four years.
 
He can snap out of it this week at the event where he ended his last long dry spell, the Shell Houston Open.
 
'I've got good feelings over here,' Singh said. 'I've had great success in Houston.'
 
Singh won the 2000 Masters, then went 50 starts without a victory before setting the tournament scoring record at the TPC at the Woodlands in 2002.
 
The tournament moved to Redstone Golf Club in 2003. Singh finished ninth that year, then regained his Texas touch, winning in 2004 and last year, beating John Daly in a playoff.
 
The event is once again at Redstone, but it has shifted across the street to The Tournament Course, a 7,422-yard, Rees Jones-designed layout that was completed in August 2005.
 
'They keep changing the golf course on me,' Singh said.
 
Singh knows what he has to do to win again -- and that's the frustrating part. He said his eighth-place finish in the Masters illustrates why he hasn't won since the Buick Open last August.
 
'I'm just not playing well enough to win on Sunday,' he said. 'There are too many mistakes. I play two or three holes that really put me down. That's what's been happening.'
 
Singh is still the favorite in Houston, the top-ranked player in the field.
 
The rest of golf's Big Five -- Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els -- are skipping Houston and only three others among the top 30 in the world ranking are here: Darren Clarke, the 2004 runner-up to Singh; Padraig Harrington; and David Toms, who helped design the new course with Jones.
 
'I feel like I'm due,' Singh said. 'I'm playing well enough to win. It's (a matter of) putting everything together.'
 
Singh had a mixed review of the new course, with its wide fairways and large, undulating greens.
 
'Under the gun, you can play for the middle of the greens and be OK. That's one little issue,' he said. 'Apart from that, I think it's OK.'
 
The players expect to score well if the wind stay down.
 
'The course could be vulnerable if it's soft and still,' said Stuart Appleby, the 1999 champion. 'But if it's the opposite, firm and breezy, guys will be doing a lot of thinking.'
 
Appleby said the course is 'very predictable,' meant as a compliment.
 
'It's not a tricky golf course,' he said. 'You go out there and it's inviting, but it's penalizing if you make a mistake.'
 
Toms appreciates any comments he can get this week. He worked on the layout with Jones, the son of renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, and wants to become an architect after he's done playing.
 
'I'd like to know what each and every player thinks,' Toms said. 'I wish I had some kind of a questionnaire I could put in their locker on just what they think about each hole, which ones might not necessarily fit the eye and which ones they like.
 
'This is one of first golf courses that I was very involved in,' he said. 'I don't want it to be the last.'
 
One of Toms' suggestions was a 'risk-reward' par 4 and the result was the 338-yard 12th. It's reachable with a big drive, but a pond lurks down the right side and will swallow any tee shots that veer right.
 
The course has plenty of lengthy holes, too.
 
The front nine ends with a 238-yard par 3, the 15th is a 608-yard par 5 and the 17th and 18th are both 480-plus-yard par 4s.
 
'If I had it in a perfect world, I'd like 12 under par to win the tournament,' Toms said. 'I've always said if you can do that, you've challenged the players, but they're not playing the U.S. Open, either.'
 
The course is open to the public and Toms said he and Jones tried to strike the balance between a tour-caliber test that also was reasonable for average players.
 
'It's hard to make a golf course that will please everybody,' Toms said. 'What you try to do is make one that everybody can play and then it doesn't necessarily play into one person's type of game. That's what we tried to do here.'
 
Divots
A golf instruction center near the 18th hole was dedicated to renowned teaching pro Dick Harmon, who died Feb. 10. The 58-year-old Harmon was the director of golf at Redstone. His clients included Fred Couples, Craig Stadler and Lanny Wadkins. ... Shell said Wednesday it has renewed its tournament sponsorship through 2011.
 
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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.