Tiger Falters Late One Behind Furyk

By Associated PressDecember 13, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Target World Challenge pres. by CountrywideTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Tiger Woods went 10 weeks and four days without hitting a golf shot that mattered, and it hardly showed Thursday in the Target World Challenge when he struck just about everything where he was aiming.
 
Until he got to the final hole.
 
Woods pulled his approach into the hazard on the 18th hole to finish with a double bogey for a 3-under 69, leaving him in a pack of players one shot behind Jim Furyk in the final tournament of the year.
 
'It's frustrating the way it ended, no doubt, because it was a good round of golf,' Woods said.
 
The only regrets were failing to birdie two par 5s on the back nine at Sherwood Country Club because of poor pitches, and making a mess of the final hole. Otherwise, he figures his first competitive round since Sunday at the Presidents Cup could have been a 65 without too much stress.
 
But that's true for many of the 16 players invited to this year-end bonanza.
 
Furyk had not played since the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda on Oct. 17, and was pleasantly surprised how he recovered from a shaky opening tee shot. He dropped only one shot on a gorgeous day in the Conejo Valley, and his birdie on the final hole eventually put him atop the leaderboard.
 
Masters champion Zach Johnson came on strong down the stretch, with back-to-back birdies and an unlikely scramble on the par-5 16th. He hit what he called a 'chunk-push' with his 3-wood into the water, took a penalty drop that landed on shredded bark, dumped that one into a greenside bunker and holed it for a routine par. He wound up with a 69.
 
Also at 69 were Henrik Stenson and Rory Sabbatini, two guys who have no rust at all.
 
Sabbatini played in the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, then the Australian PGA Championship last week. Stenson has been all over the world the last six weeks, going from his home in Dubai to Spain for the Volvo Masters, then Shanghai for the HSBC Championship, then Japan for the Dunlop Phoenix, then South Africa for the Nedbank, then to his other home in Orlando, Fla., before going to Los Angeles.
 
Not to worry -- a rest is on the way. He goes back to Florida for two weeks before heading to Maui for the Mercedes-Benz Championship, then back to Dubai.
 
'Air miles are not a problem at the moment,' Stenson said.
 
But his tee shot on the 16th was a problem. He was at 5 under and figured to be in the lead until he pulled his tee shot left of the bunkers and into a water hazard. After taking his penalty drop, he chipped back into the fairway and made bogey.
 
'I've come back a little bit in form,' Stenson said.
 
The only other players under par were British Open champion Padraig Harrington and Mark Calcavecchia, both at 71.
 
Steve Stricker, the back-to-back comeback player of the year on the PGA TOUR, was among those at even par after a shaky time on the greens. Stricker also hasn't played since the Presidents Cup, taking a quick trip to the TPC Sawgrass last week to get ready.
 
He hit the ball fine, but when his 30-foot birdie on the third hole raced 4 feet by, he walked off the green with wide eyes.
 
'We don't have greens this fast in Wisconsin,' he said, 'unless they've got ice.'
 
But it's a good week for Stricker, who has come to Sherwood the last two years to make some Christmas cash in the pro-am. He still wasn't sure he would be eligible, even as his world ranking climbed into the top 10 and settled as high as No. 4. It has become a running joke for Stricker whenever someone mentioned he got to stay all four days this year.
 
'This is better than the pro-am,' he said, walking off the seventh green. But as he motioned toward Woods, who couldn't seem to miss a putt or a shot, Stricker added with a smile, 'I'm starting to wonder why I even came.'
 
Woods has won his tournament three times in the six years it has been at Sherwood, and he was off to a good start despite coming off the longest unforced break of his career.
 
'I was surprised at how quickly I got into the flow of the round. It basically took a hole-and-a-half,' Woods said. 'Long layoffs, sometimes it takes you three, four, five holes before you feel comfortable.'
 
He was challenged early with a sidehill lie and a tree in his way. From 75 yards, he played a low hook with his 60-degree wedge to 15 feet, then followed that by pounding a 3-wood over the water to 18 feet on the par-5 second.
 
The end was messy, but everyone had problems. Some got over them quickly.
 
Paul Casey took a triple bogey on the second hole and was 4 over through four before birdies on the next three holes allowed him to recover on his way to a 72.
 
No such luck for Colin Montgomerie. He took double bogey on the second hole and it only got worse. Montgomerie was the only player in the field not to make a birdie. He shot an 80.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Target World Challenge
  • 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.