Verplank Backs Up Big Time Against Tiger

By Associated PressAugust 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- At some point lost among all those trees, Scott Verplank realized he'd gone the wrong way.
All he needed was a solid round, and he could have made things interesting for Tiger Woods. Not to mention giving a thrill to all those hometown fans braving the heat and humidity.
But Verplank spent too much time under the trees and in the rough Saturday to make up any ground at the PGA Championship. Instead, he slid backward -- waaay back.
'I really just didn't play any good, honestly,' he said. 'I mean, there was really no two ways about it.'
By the time he staggered into the clubhouse with a 4-over 74, he'd dropped from second place into a seven-way tie for sixth. After getting star billing playing in the last group Saturday with Woods, he's been reduced to an also-ran.
At least he's got company.
Geoff Ogilvy (74), John Daly (73), Stuart Appleby (72) -- they all backed up, too. For the few who did make a move, it did little good. Stephen Ames shot a 1-under 69 to move into second place, and he's still three strokes behind Woods.
Ernie Els started his back nine with three birdies in four holes, and all it got him was a 69 that left him six strokes back. Boo Weekley flirted with a 63 before settling for a 65, and Woods still has seven strokes on him.
'Tiger, he's not making the mistakes I'm making,' Els said. 'In a way, that's frustrating. But in a way, that's got to be a positive, too. If I can start eliminating these mistakes, I can really start challenging for tournaments again.'
But it might be too late for everybody at Southern Hills.
Woods didn't make a run at history Saturday, as he did in the second round when his putt for 62 lipped out of the 18th hole. He shot a methodical 1-under 69, doing nothing spectacular except staying in the red. And in the lead. Woods is 12-0 when he takes at least a share of the lead into the final round of major.
'He's playing the golf course very smart,' Verplank said. 'When you hit a lot of fairways with irons -- and he's hitting a lot of greens -- and you putt like he does, it doesn't look that difficult.'
After playing so smoothly the first two days, almost everything Verplank did looked difficult, and the difference was only accentuated by watching him go directly against Woods. He was erratic off the tee and hit only nine of 14 fairways. He reached only 10 of 18 greens in regulation.
Somebody even stepped on his ball.
'I guess I slept wrong,' he said when asked to explain the difference. 'Just the same stuff that I always do when I don't play like I feel I should. Got a little quick, got a couple of really bad lies, which I know everybody does. But I guess since I haven't been in the rough very much the first two days, I didn't know it was that bad.'
About the only thing he had going for him was a very loud and proud gallery.
Verplank went to Oklahoma State and still lives in Edmond, a 90-minute drive from Southern Hills, and the locals were thrilled to see one of their own playing with Woods on Saturday. There were shouts of 'Go Cowboys!' and 'O-S-U!' and plenty of Oklahoma State orange.
There was even a guy wearing an Oklahoma State jersey and helmet -- true devotion on a day when the temperature was a sizzling 101 degrees.
'I feel bad that I didn't keep it up and stay in there a little bit better with Tiger,' Verplank said. 'The first eight, 10 holes, I kind of got to see what it's like for him when people are always yelling. Pulling for him and all that.'
Verplank actually got within a stroke of Woods early -- for about a minute. He made birdie on No. 4, then watched Woods do the same.
Then things began to unravel.
He sprayed his tee shot into the rough on the par-5 No. 5, and didn't fare much better on his next three shots. He actually advanced the ball a decent distance with his second shot, but he was still in that thick, fluffy Bermuda.
Shot No. 3 went all of about 120 yards and found, if it was possible, even deeper rough. He finally got out of that with his fourth shot, only to land short of the green. He chipped on, and made the putt for a bogey.
But it was a double bogey on the par-4 12th that really ruined his round. He was in the trees off the tee and clipped one as he tried to come out.
'Just pulled my tee shot, stayed in the rough and had a lie I thought I could get and obviously I couldn't,' Verplank said. 'That was a big deal. I guess looking back, I should have played more conservatively, but, you know, I did what I thought was right and it wasn't.'
He had three more bogeys over his last five holes, including three-putting for one on 18.
'I still felt like I was going to play good, but you know, it didn't happen,' Verplank said. 'Maybe tomorrow I'll have that miracle round. I kind of went the opposite way today.'
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.