Stroud, Moore share CIMB lead though 54 in Malaysia

By Associated PressOctober 26, 2013, 4:10 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Chris Stroud and Ryan Moore both overcame mistakes and bogeys on the back nine Saturday to take a share of the lead after the third round of the CIMB Classic.

Stroud started the day five strokes back but surged into contention after five birdies on the front nine - including four in a row - before hitting into the water on the 12th hole and carding two bogeys for a 4-under 68.

Moore (69) opened up a three-shot lead on the back nine only to bogey four of five holes to give it right back. Both were on 12-under 204, one stroke ahead of their nearest rivals.

''There's trouble everywhere,'' Moore said. ''It doesn't take that bad of a shot to get in a very bad spot out here, with the rough the way it is, the fairways as narrow as they are.''

The tricky conditions led to huge momentum swings throughout the day at the PGA Tour event, with plenty of balls in the water and in the rough beneath the palm trees lining the course at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Overnight leader Keegan Bradley looked nothing like the golfer who shot 65 and 66 in the first two rounds, carding 76 to fall back to a share of sixth place.

There won't be much room for mistakes on Sunday.

Eight players are within four shots of the lead, with Gary Woodland (67) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (69) a stroke back in a tie for second.

Even Phil Mickelson, who this week called his swing ''terrible'' and said he sometimes has no idea where his drives are going, is back in contention, shooting a 68 to sit just five shots off the lead.

The back nine proved the most problematic for the top players on Saturday, with its narrow fairways and multitude of water hazards and bunkers.

Moore had six birdies through 10 holes, only to hit into the water on No. 12 and 16 on his rough back nine.

''It was almost two different days out there,'' said the American, who is aiming for this third PGA Tour title. ''I got really hot early making a lot of putts, making a lot of birdies and then turned into the backside and still continued some good play and then kind of hit a pretty rough stretch in the middle. I kind of made a mess of it.''

Bradley shanked drives to the left and right, finding himself in the water and under trees. On the greens, he left some birdie putts short and missed others by inches.

He finished his disappointing round with a double bogey and three bogeys on the back nine, plus another bogey on the front.

''Just didn't play very well today, just was pretty ugly,'' Bradley said.

Still, Bradley is just three shots off the pace and thinks he can turn it around. Kiradech, too, believes he has a good shot at capturing the title, even though he also wasted opportunities to take the lead on the back nine with a double bogey and a missed 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th.

The Thai golfer has a lot on the line – a win on Sunday would give him a two-year PGA Tour exemption, as well as invitations to the Masters, the PGA Championship and other top-tier tournaments.

Stroud, winless on the PGA Tour in nearly 200 events, believes he's ready for a breakthrough. This is the first time he's had a share of the lead through 54 holes.

''My coach and I sat down this past week and we talked hours about what I need to do to win a golf tournament,'' he said. ''I think I need to play one or two tournaments max in a row and just practice, practice, practice at home and put a lot of reps into the golf swing and get the golf swing a lot sharper than it usually is.''

His goal for Sunday is simple - keep the ball on the fairways.

''That's what I'm really focusing on the most - keep the ball in front of me, let everybody else make mistakes.''

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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.


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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

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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.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."