Tway holds one-shot lead over Armour III

By Associated PressJune 11, 2011, 8:03 pm

CONOVER, N.C. – Bob Tway decided to try the Champions Tour because he still enjoyed playing competitive golf. What disappeared in the shift from the PGA Tour was the intense pressure to win.

Two years later, the 1986 PGA Championship winner is about to test his new, relaxed persona.

Tway, the overnight leader, fired a 5-under 67 Saturday to move to 14 under and maintain a one-shot lead over Tommy Armour III in the Greater Hickory Classic. One more low round on a hot, humid weekend at Rock Barn and Tway could capture his first victory on the 50-and-over circuit.

“Of course, you should be a little nervous. That’s why you do it,” the 52-year-old Tway said. “But I may not be quite the same as I was on the other tour. I’d still like to win tournaments, no doubt after that.”

He’ll have plenty of competition.

Armour’s recent resurgence continued with four birdies over the final six holes for a 67. James Mason, looking to become the 12th Monday qualifier to win on the circuit, shot 65 and was two shots back along with Chip Beck (65), Mark Wiebe (68) and Mark O’Meara (67).

Nick Price, who overcame a double-bogey, Jeff Sluman and Mike Goodes sat three strokes behind and 29 golfers were within six shots of the lead.

“The guys are lighting it up,” said O’Meara, playing the event for the first time.

The intense heat – the temperature soared into the 90s Saturday – has tamed Rock Barn. Tway acknowledged how the course’s grounds crew has had to “baby the greens” with water while the fairways remained firm. That’s allowed golfers to target the flagstick on nearly every hole, with balls usually stopping on impact.

Tom Kite was the first to show just how low you could go. He had three eagles in five holes and posted a 28 before making the turn. Thoughts of a possible 59 faded with a bogey on his 10th hole and he sat six shots back.

After needing only 23 putts in a round of 63 on Friday, Tway wasn’t so hot with the putter a day later, where making par felt almost like you were going backward. He still managed seven birdies, including on 18 for the second straight day.

“It’s a birdie-fest,” Tway said. “You’ve got to just keep going.”

That’s been Mason’s attitude all year.

The Georgia native, whose lone victory came as a qualifier in his first season on the 50-and-over tour in 2002, lost his full-time playing privileges heading into the year. Then he turned 60 in January and started wondering about his future.

“I said as soon as I go downhill with my playing ability then I’ll certainly give it up,” Mason said. “I made a commitment this year that I was going to go to every qualifier I could go to and then evaluate it after the year.”

Mason had been 0 for 5 in Monday qualifiers, including failing to make the field last week in Iowa, yet was encouraged by his play in a few mini-tour events. It all came together when he fired a 62 on Monday that included an ace.

“I’m just delighted to be here,” Mason said. “Once I got into the tournament I felt fairly at ease.”

That showed in a bogey-free 67 on Friday. Then he heated up on the back nine Saturday in a round that included just 22 putts.

Mason holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-5 14th to take the lead at 11 under. He gained another stroke with a birdie on 17, and suddenly Mason had earned a spot in the final threesome Sunday.

“I’m just going to try to go out there and not choke, I guess,” he said.

Tway won eight times on the PGA Tour – the last in 2003 at the Canadian Open. But he isn’t sure how he’ll react entering the final day with the lead.

“It’s hard to tell,” he said. “Relaxation is always a huge key to anything. I guess in what they call our second chance or whatever, the main thing is to just enjoy the process.”

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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.


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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

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.