Stadler Hoch Enjoy Good Starts at En-Joie

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
Champions TourENDICOTT, New York -- Craig Stadler's golf game isn't where he'd like it to be. For one day, though, it was good enough to put him atop a leaderboard.
 
Stadler shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to tie Scott Hoch and qualifier Rod Spittle for the first-round lead at the inaugural Dick's Sporting Goods Open.
 
After a one-year hiatus, professional golf returned to En-Joie Golf Club on a perfect summer day, with temperatures around 80 under partly cloudy skies. But gusting 25-mph winds in the afternoon helped prevent low scores on the narrow 6,974-yard course.
 
Only 20 players broke par, but 17 of them were within two shots of the lead. And Bruce Vaughan, Massy Kuramoto, Ed Dougherty, Bruce Fleisher, Tim Simpson, Tim Conley and Jack Ferenz were tied for fourth just one shot back.
 
This Champions Tour stop replaced the PGA Tour's B.C. Open, which had been staged annually at En-Joie from 1971-2005. It was eliminated after last year, a victim to the major modifications to the tour schedule that began in 2007.
 
Stadler didn't come close to duplicating what he accomplished here four years ago when he shot a stunning 9-under 63 on the final round to win the B.C. Open by one shot at age 50. He started slowly, bogeying the par-3 fourth hole when he hit 3-wood left and couldn't get up and down.
 
Stadler recovered and reeled off four straight birdies, closing the string by hitting a 6-iron to 20 feet and making a birdie putt on No. 7 and chipping to 4 feet at No. 8. He nearly made it five straight, but his birdie putt attempt at the par-4 ninth hole stopped at the lip, eliciting groans from the gallery as Stadler stared skyward.
 
Stadler faltered with consecutive bogeys after the turn, then rallied with birdies at Nos. 12 and 18. And he was happy when the day was over.
 
'A lot of everything -- a lot of good shots, a lot of horrible shots, a lot of good putts, a lot of horrible putts. Very much a combination,' said Stadler, who has broken 70 only four times in his last 21 rounds. 'Kind of a little roller-coaster. But I got in under par, which I haven't done in about three years anywhere. It's nice for a change not to be teeing off at No. 10. If we were going off one tee tomorrow, I'd still be going off 10 the way I've been playing.'
 
Hoch played En-Joie six times in the 1980s, the last in 1986 when he missed the cut. All 18 greens were redone for the 1998 B.C. Open, and the small trees that many players remembered have grown to great heights, making the fairways seem even narrower.
 
On this day, Hoch, a native of North Carolina who thrives when it's warm, started by sinking a 50-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first hole, then missed an 8-foot par putt at No. 2 to give the stroke right back. Still, Hoch rallied with four birdies in a seven-hole span before hitting a poor tee shot at No. 15 and missing a downhill putt from inside 3 feet for bogey.
 
'The wind was blowing pretty good, and the thing that made it tough was that it seemed to be crossing, and this is a very tight course anyway,' said Hoch, who played in a threesome with Fuzzy Zoeller (79) and Jim Thorpe (72). 'It made it extremely difficult. It was a difficult day. The two guys I played with didn't make a birdie. It wasn't that easy.'
 
Stadler blamed his problems on the fairways, which still are recovering from the flood waters that inundated the course a year ago and forced the PGA to move the final B.C. Open about 90 miles northeast to Turning Stone Casino's Atunyote Golf Club.
 
'The fairways have struggled,' Stadler said. 'They haven't come back the way they were.'
 
Spittle, who shot 68 on Monday to qualify, didn't seem to mind, and he was by far the biggest surprise of the day. Three years after giving up a lifelong job of selling health insurance, he sits in heady company.
 
'I'd just like to tiptoe around a couple more days,' said Spittle, who with Thorpe were the lone players to record bogey-free rounds. 'I hope I just stay solid the next two or three months. My job Mondays is to see if I can get work on weekends.'
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

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    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

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    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry