Toms, Crane, Wilson share Humana lead

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2012, 1:52 am

LA QUINTA, Calif.—When Mark Wilson got to 8 under through 11 holes on the Palmer Private course Friday, he seriously discussed golf’s magic number with playing partner Harrison Frazar, who once shot a 59 on another Humana Challenge course.

“I don’t know why the conversation went there … but I thought about it,” Wilson said.

Wilson ended up posting the lowest score of his career, and that 62 wasn’t even the best round of the day in the desert. Bob Hope’s name is no longer on this reformatted tournament, but its tradition of stunningly low scores is still going strong.

Wilson pulled even with Ben Crane and David Toms at 16-under 128 to share a three-stroke lead after the second round of the Humana Challenge on Friday, topping a leaderboard covered with bogey-free rounds and personal bests.

Extremely low numbers always dominate the erstwhile Bob Hope Classic, which features two of the PGA Tour’s three easiest courses. Add a second day of ideal Palm Springs weather, and exceptional play is necessary just to stay in contention.

For example, Ryan Moore tied the Nicklaus course record with a 61, yet he was still five strokes back of the lead—and he wasn’t even among 23 players who played bogey-free rounds Friday.

“Everything has been much improved, and we got a much better field because of it,” said Crane, who had just 48 putts in his first two rounds.

“This is a great place for players to start their year, because it’s like playing indoors.”

To illustrate his point, Crane mimed his caddie picking grass blades and dropping them from shoulder height.

“I’m like, `Where’s the wind?”’ Crane said. “He’s like, `I don’t know.’ I’m like, `OK, let’s just hit a normal shot here.”’

Crane shot a 63 on the three-course tournament’s Palmer Private course, and Toms had a 65 on the Nicklaus Private course to match Wilson at 16-under 128. Rookie Harris English had a 62 on the Nicklaus Private course to join five players in fourth place at 13 under.

“That’s what you’ve got to do out here,” said English, the University of Georgia graduate playing his sixth round on the PGA Tour. “Put it in the fairway and then try to go out and get after it. I was getting my putter hot, and it was a lot of fun.”

Moore tied Charlie Wi’s 2009 record on the Nicklaus course despite starting with consecutive bogeys on his second and third holes before an eagle on the fourth. He then birdied 11 of 12 holes, including six straight around the turn.

“Really the last thing I remember was being 2 over through three, and then I just walked off the 18th hole,” said Moore, who rose 103 spots on the leaderboard. “Maybe that just freed me up. I just let go. … I don’t know if I ever putted that good in my entire life.”

Wilson earned a reputation as a fast starter when he won in Hawaii and Phoenix during the first five weeks of last season. He also gets a boost from his offseason connection to the Coachella Valley, including a membership at the Ironwood Country Club near his in-laws’ home in Palm Desert.“It’s always been very good to me, and then Q-school has been good to me in the desert,” Wilson said. “I get a lot of good vibes here.”

Toms shot a fairly pedestrian 65 on the Nicklaus course with a second straight day of steady play—but not everybody chewed up the three courses. Toms’ playing partner, Phil Mickelson, shot a 69, but remained well back of the leaders after opening with a 74.

“I’m excited about how I was playing heading into this tournament, but I had a bit of a slap in the face with my first two scores,” said Mickelson, who tried out a new driver Friday.

Mickelson is the tournament’s career money leader despite not playing in Palm Springs since 2007. He has made seven straight cuts, but sits in 124th place heading to the third round.

Dustin Johnson, the world No. 8 and the tournament’s top-ranked player, withdrew after nine holes Friday. The two-time Pebble Beach champion with exceptional power off the tee underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in November and hadn’t walked 18 holes until Thursday, when he started with an even-par 72.

Scott Stallings also withdrew before the round with an injured chest muscle.

Crane’s in-laws also live in the Valley, and he was grateful to play well in front of them after a rocky offseason in which he contemplated getting surgery on a labrum injury before learning he didn’t need it.

Instead, he spent the offseason working on his putting, which has been exceptional at the Humana. Crane also started with a bogey before an eagle-birdie run kick-started his round.

The plunging scores might level off on the weekend, with wind and clouds in the forecast for Saturday when President Bill Clinton plays a round with Greg Norman. Crane and his wife spoke with Clinton on Thursday, discussing their work with a foundation that battles sex trafficking.

“It’s really given this tournament a spark to have him around,” Crane said. “It’s been great for everybody in this tournament. It’s just grown so much in a year. The buzz is unbelievable, and it’s really fun to be a part of it.”

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.