Weir Home Alone -- in First

By Associated PressSeptember 11, 2004, 4:00 pm
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Mike Weir closed out a dream round at the Canadian Open on Friday with a 5-iron from 196 yards to 3 feet for a 5-under 66 and a one-shot lead over Vijay Singh, making it likely they will be in the same group in the third round. It will be Canada's best against the best in the world.
 
'I'm really looking forward to it,' Singh said. 'I like Mike, and I'm a friend of his. I know the crowds are going to be a little biased, but it won't be any worse than what it was last week. I'm used to it.'
 
Having Weir and Singh atop the leaderboard turned out to be the perfect gift for a Canadian Open that is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
 
Weir was at 9-under 133, the first time he has ever been in the lead at his national championship. Singh, who broke the Canadian Open record with a 28 on the front nine to finish off his first round at 68, came back with four birdies in his final six holes for a 66 that left him one shot behind.

Craig Barlow, Weir's best friend from their mini-tour days, had a 69 and was at 6-under 136.
 
Because of a five-hour rain delay at the start of the tournament, 73 players had to return Saturday morning to finish the second round. Jesper Parnevik finished off a 66 Saturday morning and was at 7-under 135. He will join Weir and Singh in the final threesome.
 
Pat Perez shot 68 and was at 136, along with Barlow.
 
'He's playing the best of anyone. He's No. 1 in the world for a reason,' Weir said of Singh. 'Hopefully, I'll be able to find the magic tomorrow.'

It already was plenty loud Friday.
 
Weir made Glen Abbey sound like Sunday at Augusta National.
 
The crowd stood eight rows deep behind some of the greens, some standing on coolers in the back, all of them giving him rousing ovations every time he walked to the green.
 
The most electrifying moment came on the par-5 fifth, when Weir laced a 3-iron that barely climbed over a bunker and rolled up a ridge on the green to about 3 feet for an easy eagle. Anyone but Weir, any place but Canada, and someone would have thought he had holed the shot for double eagle.
 
'I could tell it was a good shot, but it wasn't quite the 'made it' roar,' Weir said.
 
He tapped in the putt and could barely contain a smile. There is no sweeter feeling that playing good golf before the hometown crowd, something that until this week has been a foreign sensation for Weir.
 
He missed the cut in his first nine trips to the Bell Canadian Open. He has never liked the Jack Nicklaus design at Glen Abbey - in fact, he only had one round in the 60s until his 68-65 on Friday while playing 30 holes.
 
'It's only halfway through, but I'm still excited about it,' Weir said. 'I haven't been in this position in the tournament before. I haven't played this golf course very well, so that's two good things.'
 
The challenge will be to control his emotions.
 
This is the treatment Colin Montgomerie gets at Royal Troon when he's playing well (Weir knows that because he was paired with Monty this year in the final two rounds). And it's not much different that how the crowd responds to Woods when he's on top of his game.
 
'Pretty much the same,' said Joel Edwards, who played the first two rounds with Woods at Royal Montreal in 2001, and spent the last two days with Weir at the Abbey. 'They're rooting hard for him, and they should. He's a great champion, he's at home, and he's playing good.'
 
It's hard not to cheer for Singh with his stunning array of shots.
 
The 41-year-old Fijian returned Friday morning and hit a 6-iron into the water on the par-5 18th, sending him to 4 over for the tournament. All that did was upset him, and he answered in style.
 
Singh had five birdies inside 6 feet, and rolled in a 40-foot eagle putt on No. 5. He broke the nine-hole tournament record of 29 previously held by Mike McCullough in 1984 and Andy Bean in 1983, both at Glen Abbey.
 
'I just started hitting it close, and all of a sudden I noticed it was 28,' Singh said. 'I was just trying to get it back as close to par as possible.'
 
And despite running into some trouble in the middle of his round, Singh got his game on track quickly with three straight birdies starting on No. 12. He finished with a bunker shot to 5 feet for birdie on the final hole.
 
That puts him in a familiar spot - near the lead, and with the crowd squarely against him.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Bell Canadian Open
  • Full Coverage - Bell Canadian Open
     
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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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