Tighe leads Australian Open; Spieth, Scott 5 back

By Associated PressNovember 26, 2015, 8:09 am

SYDNEY - Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott struggled to even-par 71s in the hot, windy opening round of the Australian Open on Thursday, leaving the top two-ranked players in the tournament five strokes behind little-known leader Lincoln Tighe.

Spieth and Scott, tied for 19th with 11 others, were in good company. Australia's Tighe, with seven birdies and two bogeys, had a one-stroke lead after his 66, one of only 18 in the 156-player field who broke par at The Australian Golf Club.

Australia's Matt Jones, who is a member at The Australian, birdied the par-5 18th for a 67 and was in second place.

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2010 champion who was playing in the same group as Spieth, was two strokes behind after a 68, tied for third with fellow Australian Todd Sinnott and 17-year-old Taiwanese amateur Yu Chun-an.

"Maybe I've played here a lot, so I've got a little more local knowledge," Jones said. 'I actually enjoy playing in wind most of the time; I play well in it."

The top-ranked Spieth birdied his opening hole and bogeyed his last to go along with birdies on a pair of par 5s and bogeys on two par 3s.

Scott, who hasn't had a season without a victory since 2001 and is thus far winless this year, had two double bogeys in three holes but came back with a birdie on the last to match Spieth.



"To have something this windy, it's been awhile," Spieth said. "The toughest part is when you have the crosswinds and you've got to pick what shot to play, because you can use the same club and it can go 30 yards' difference in the air."

It could have been worse for Scott - he chipped in from off the green on the ninth for his second double bogey.

"I walked to the 10th tee kind of with my head held high after making a double, and that's a good feeling," he said.

Lee Westwood, the 1997 Australian Open champion, shot 70, as did U.S. Amateur and 2015 NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau.

The northwest winds of about 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph) shifted to the south late in the day, causing more havoc for the afternoon groups. The high temperature reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit).

Spieth, who shot a course-record, final-round 63 in similarly tough conditions here last year, was also plagued by poor tee shots Thursday.

"I hit two fairways on the back nine, so when you're playing out of rough or bunkers, it's hard to control," he said. "Conditions were tough but I still could have found the fairways."

The long-hitting Tighe has advanced to the Dec. 10-13 final stage of the Web.com Tour qualifying tournament in Florida, meaning he won't defend his New South Wales PGA championship that is being held on the same weekend.

"I'm not surprised to be here," Tighe said. "The course suits me down to the ground, I can carry a lot of the bunkers. I'm just getting more and more comfortable playing in the bigger tournaments."

Ogilvy, who has missed five cuts in a row since the U.S. Open, said he putted well thanks to the state of the greens.

"They were incredible, it feels like you're the first group out there on any hole," he said. "There's no evidence that anyone else has walked on them."

Champions Tour regular Peter Senior, who won last week's Australian Masters at Huntingdale in Melbourne, shot 80.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

Getty Images

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.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

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.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

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