Singh one back in Senior Players Championship

By Associated PressJune 9, 2016, 10:04 pm

FLOURTOWN, Pa. - Jay Don Blake birdied three of the last five holes Thursday at windy Philadelphia Cricket Club for a 2-under 70 and the first-round lead in the Constellation Senior Players Championship.

The 57-year-old Blake had five birdies and three bogeys on the A.W. Tillinghast-designed Wissahickon Course. He won the last of his three senior titles in 2012, and won at Torrey Pines in 1991 for his lone PGA Tour victory.

''Tough golf course out there and I'm just happy to get done with a couple under par,'' Blake said. ''Hit it pretty decent all day. ... Hit it well, played well and just kind of executed some good shots out there today.''

Blake birdied the first two holes, then bogeyed the par-4 sixth, par-3 eighth and par-4 11th. He rebounded with birdies on par-3 14th, par-5 15th and par-4 17th in the third of the PGA Tour Champions' five majors.

''It was chilly early, still had some wind,'' Blake said. ''Luckily, the first couple holes were downwind so that was kind of a little help off to start. The first two holes, made birdie, so got off to a good start. Then we started about three, four holes right in a row just dead into the wind and it was cold, ball was going nowhere. It was just kind of survival.''

Vijay Singh bogeyed the par-4 18th to fall a stroke back along with Jeff Sluman, Brandt Jobe and Bart Bryant.

''It's a tough day,'' said the 53-year-old Singh, winless in seven career starts on the 50-and-over tour. ''Regardless of what club you've got in the hand, wedge or 9-iron or 3-wood, it's still long, gusty crosswinds. I played pretty good. I kept the ball in play most of the day, and unfortunately, had two three-putts, but that was pretty easy to do out here.''

The 34-time PGA Tour winner has made 15 starts this year on the regular tour.

''I think the last three or four events when I came over here, I kind of put too much pressure on myself that I have to win,'' Singh said. ''I just came this week just to have a good time and enjoy it and play good golf.''

Colin Montgomerie topped the group at 70.

''You get out of position off the tee and then you're struggling,'' Montgomerie said. ''But I think it's terrific, I really do. I think this is marvelous. This is a real major. This has a major feel to it. You could put these greens on any course worldwide and everyone would be thrilled with them.''

Two-time defending champion Bernhard Langer bogeyed three of his last four holes for a 71.

''It was really windy. That was tough,'' Langer said. ''Gusty winds, so it's difficult to control. And the greens are lightning fast. On 18, I was in the right bunker and it was downwind, down grain, downhill, hard to stop the ball, it just keeps rolling and rolling and ended up making bogey. You've got to be aware of trying to keep the ball below the hole, which is tough to do when it's windy like this.''

The German star won in 2014 at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh and last year at Belmont in Massachusetts.

''It's a great venue,'' Langer said. ''It's any bit as good as the ones we played the last couple years. They always pick great golf courses and this is no exception.''

Sluman bogeyed 16 and 18 after reaching 3 under with a birdie on 15. Jobe also bogeyed the 18th.

''Overall, pretty happy with the day,'' Sluman said. ''Played solid golf in very trying conditions and this golf course is very challenging. It's a great test of golf.''

Billy Andrade, Scott Dunlap and Doug Garwood matched Montgomerie at 70.

Tom Watson, at age 66, was in the group at 71.

''It's a Tillinghast golf course. I've played a lot of Tillinghast golf courses and they are difficult,'' Watson said. ''You really have to hit a lot of quality shots. The greens are very quick and, with this northwest wind, it played very tough today. ... This golf course is all you want.''

John Daly had a 76. Playing his fifth event on the tour since turning 50 in late April, he had a double bogey on the par-5 fifth, five bogeys and one birdie.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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.