Unknown Leads Champions Event

By Associated PressAugust 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
Boeing ClassicSNOQUALMIE, Washington -- Jerry Pate thought his card looked mighty good on Friday -- four birdies, no bogeys and most important: no three-putts.
 
'If you're putting for birdie 18 times you're supposed to make something, even me,' Pate said. 'They've talked so bad about me on television about my putting, I'm starting to putt better.'
 
Pate made three birdies on the back nine, part of a 4-under round of 68 that put him in a group two shots back in the first round of the Champions Tour Boeing Classic.
 
Ray Stewart, a former PGA TOUR player who made the tournament field by shooting 70 and claiming the last automatic spot in a Monday qualifier, made four birdies on his first nine, and finished with a 6-under 66.
 
Stewart, a native of Abbotsford, British Columbia, playing in his first tournament since the 2006 Senior British Open, didn't bogey.
 
Pate, who started the week ranked 62nd in putting, hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and putted for birdie from off the green on the other two holes. He got to 2 under with a 15-foot birdie on No. 11, then hit a wedge to 18 inches on No. 16 for a tap-in birdie.
 
Pate capped his day by sinking a 27-foot putt on the par-3 17th.
 
'These greens are tough. They have a lot of slope and there's not a flat putt out there,' Pate said. 'You have to hit the perfect speed and perfect line.'
 
The group at 4 under also included Gil Morgan, who is struggling through one of his worst seasons on the Champions Tour. Morgan was also bogey-free in his round.
 
'This has probably been my worst year to date since I started out here,' said Morgan, who has just two top-10 finishes this year and has won just once since 2004. 'I seem to be making too many mistakes this year.
 
'It's nice to play well again and get off to a good round.'
 
A number of players shared the lead at one point at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge.
 
John Harris was tied for the lead at 5 under through 12. Playing No. 4, his 13th of the day, Harris hit a tree guarding the right side of the fairway with his tee shot, and the ball dropped into a lateral hazard underneath a patch of blackberry bushes.
 
While playing partner Loren Roberts picked the blackberries, Harris tried to save bogey, but his 8-foot putt spun around and out. Harris dropped another shot and finished with a 2-under 70. Bruce Lietzke was also at 5 under before faltering and finishing at 2 under.
 
Mark O'Meara, looking for his first win on the Champions Tour, got to 4 under, but bogeyed three of his final four holes for a 1-under 71. Nick Price led a group at 2 under that also included Mark McNulty, who won The Tradition last week.
 
Defending champion Tom Kite rallied late, birding three holes on the back nine to finish even.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.