A Tale of Two Leaders at Memorial

By Associated PressMay 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio -- The first sign of hope at the Memorial came from the scoreboard, which showed Mathew Goggin coming back to the pack after a blazing start. The second sign came from a gray sky that promised relief from a brutal test of golf.
 
Goggin birdied four of the first five holes before strapping in for a wild ride of birdies and bogeys that ultimately added up to an even-par 72 that tied him for the lead with two-time champion Kenny Perry, who recovered from a rugged start for a 71.
 
They were at 7-under 137, one shot clear of Jerry Kelly.
 
All those scores seemed so much lower on a Muirfield Village course that felt like a major with its ankle-deep rough that swallowed up errant shots and greens as slick as glass.
 
Only three players broke 70 on Friday, with Johnson Wagner turning in a remarkable 67. Twenty players couldnt break 80.
 
The U.S. Open starts in two weeks in San Diego, but Joe Ogilvie came up with an environmentally friendly plan. He suggested the second major be contested at Muirfield, so players wouldnt have to travel as far in their private jets.
 
Youd save millions of pounds of carbon dioxide in the air, and golf would be a green sport again, Ogilvie said after a 75. All they have to do is change out the pins, replace the rakes and take away press parking.
 
Goggin is the 36-hole leader for the first time on the PGA TOUR, and part of him wishes he had it alone. He was bogey-free through seven holes, but then made only two pars the rest of the way. Three straight bogeys preceded a birdie, and he followed that with a double bogey into the water at No. 12, then two more birdies.
 
I had seven birdies today, so that was the same, Goggin said, alluding to his 65 in the opening round. The five bogeys and a double, well, that was probably a negative.
 
Perry knows all about the latter. He faced the brunt of the wind, and it showed when he bogeyed three of his first five holes, slipping down the leaderboard with so many others. But on the par-5 15th, he hooked a 3-wood into the gallery'a good place to miss because the pin was to the right'then watched his chip from the hill tumble into the cup on its last turn for eagle.
 
Hit the shot of my life to keep the ship from sinking, he said.
 
A birdie on the par-3 eighth allowed him to salvage a 71 and a share of the lead. But the 47-year-old Perry sure didnt look like he had just played a round of golf on a beautiful course.
 
Im tired, he said. Im mentally tired right now. That was a very stressful round to try to hang in there and keep it together. I hope that Saturday and Sunday, the weather will cooperate a little bit and not be as dicey out there.
 
Help might be on the way, with rain in the forecast. Tee times were pushed back for the third round because course officials expect to need extra time in the morning to get the course ready.
 
Phil Mickelson chopped his way to a 75 and was 10 shots behind. He was 35 feet behind the hole in two on the par-5 11th and rarely felt so hopeless with a wedge in his hand, given how badly his ball was buried. He hacked through the grass and watched his ball roll through the green into more rough, making him work for a par.
 
Someone asked him if he had a chance to win.
 
Did you see I was 10 back? he replied. I dont know if you saw that. I need some rough weather so the scores dont go too low, and theyve got to play a great round.
 
Ernie Els waffled on his decision to come to Ohio, flying over at the last minute and leaving just as quickly. He shot a 43 on the front nine, made eight pars and a birdie on the back and shot 78 to miss the cut by one shot.
 
The cut was 6-over 150, the highest at the Memorial since 1989, the year 40 mph gusts were accompanied by temperatures in the 50s. It was pleasantly warm Friday, and the gusts were only about 20 mph, but that was more than enough to punish anyone slightly off his game.
 
Sergio Garcia, coming off his victory in THE PLAYERS Championship, was going along nicely until he chunked a shot out of the rough and into the water on the 14th, missed a 4-foot putt and took double bogey. That was the start of him playing the final five holes in 5 over for a 77, leaving him a dozen shots behind.
 
Goggin took only nine putts on his final nine holes Thursday, and he kept right on going. He chipped in for birdie on the first hole, then holed a 35-footer on the second and a mere 10-footer on the third. That good start allowed him to keep some perspective when it got ugly.
 
Having seven birdies and you shoot even par, youre probably disappointed, he said. But the way the round went through the middle and coming back and then dropping back, its still pretty satisfying. And youre still around the lead. So thats all you can ask for.
 
Luke Donald had a 71 in the afternoon and was at 5-under 139, while former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy had a 69 in the morning and was in the group at 140.
 
There was plenty of muttering about the thick rough, which might be as deep as it gets all year, and the slick greens, which might be as fast as players see all year. But those atop the leaderboard figured out a way to score.
 
It tests your short game, tests your mental game, Justin Rose said after a 73 left him four behind. Thats what golfs all about.
 
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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.