Weir races to lead in Boston with 61

By Associated PressAugust 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. ' Mike Weir shaved his playoff beard when his wife and children flew into town this week, but that had no bearing on his golf Friday. This was a round to enjoy, not explain.
 
Determined to get off to a better start, Weir birdied the first four holes and one-putted his final nine greens in the Deutsche Bank Championship to tie the course record at TPC Boston with a 10-under 61, the lowest round of his PGA TOUR career.
 
Weir had a three-shot lead over a group of four players that included Vijay Singh, whose victory last week at The Barclays put him atop the standings in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
 
Vijay Singh
Last week's champion Vijay Singh is three back after a 64. (Getty Images)
Singh previously had the TPC Boston course record to himself, a 61 in the third round two years ago. And the Fijian set the tone for a day of low scores when he ran off five birdies in a six-hole stretch for a 64.
 
It took Weir only 10 holes to catch him.
 
There was no indication on the putting green when I was warming up that was going to tell me it was going to be like that, Weir said. It just felt normal. Just one of those days where I made about a 15-footer on the first hole, another on the second hole. I just kind of built on that momentum.
 
I just tried to keep the pedal down, because I knew the scores were pretty low.
 
John Merrick, Heath Slocum and Briny Baird joined Singh at 64, while Ben Curtis, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk were in a large group another stroke back. More than half of the 115-man field shot in the 60s, and only 23 players failed to break par.
 
Even so, Weir never saw a 61 coming.
 
In his 20 previous stroke-play events this year, he had shot in the 60s only one time, at the Canadian Open.
 
Its been kind of my goal the last moth or so to get off to better starts in tournaments, he said. It seems like Ive been having to come from behind. Ive just put it in my to try to get off to a better start. Obviously, this was way exceeding my expectations.
 
Only three of his birdie putts were inside 10 feet, including a 5-footer on the 18th that gave him his career low on tour, one shot better than a 62 in the first round at Doral seven years ago.
 
The only noticeable difference was a clean-shaven face.
 
Weir had been on vacation when he grew a light beard, and he kept it for the first round of the playoffs last week at The Barclays, where he tied for seventh. He also stars in a PGA TOUR commercial with Wayne Gretzky, who urges Weir to grow a playoff beard as if these were the Stanley Cup playoffs.
 
But when his wife and daughters (ages 10 and 8) arrived on Tuesday and his girls wouldnt kiss him, Weir gave each a razor and let them start stripping away the beard.
 
The playoff atmosphere was not as great as last year, perhaps because Tiger Woods isnt around to make his playoff debut, and there wasnt the star power centered on one group as there was last year when Woods, Singh and Phil Mickelson played the first two rounds.
 
Mickelson, the defending champion, suffered through a familiar malaise. He hit the ball fine, but 31 putts kept in the middle of the pack at a 69.
 
The worst score belonged to British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington, who was in decent shape in the fairway on the par-5 18th until trying to play out of a water hazard, hitting another shot off a rock and into the water and missing a 6-foot putt on his way to a triple-bogey 8.
 
That gave him a 4-over 75, and a candidate to miss the cut for the second straight week in The Playoffs.
 
Harrington has become the lightning rod of criticism for the restructured points system, even though he isnt doing the complaining. By missing the cut last week, the Irishman fell from No. 4 to No. 23 in the standings, and if he misses the cut Saturday, he surely will fall out of the top 30 and could miss the TOUR Championship.
 
Its nuts. I dont think theyve got it right quite yet, Ian Poulter said. How can you have a double major winner not make the TOUR Championship. Thats complete nonsense.
 
Poulter had a 70, not terribly impressive considering he has 36 holes to made one last Ryder Cup impression on European captain Nick Faldo. Paul Casey hit his stride late and shot 68, the other European hopeful of a captains pick.
 
Weir was tied for the 36-hole lead a year ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship, but the circumstances were far different. He needed a big week simply to finish among the top 70 and advance to the third round, which he failed to do.
 
Now he is No. 18 in the FedExCup standings and thinking only about each shot.
 
There werent many of them to count.
 
When he knocked in an 18-foot birdie from the front of the seventh green, Weir already was 6 under. Then came a 5-foot birdie on the 10th, an 8-iron that rolled up to 4 feet on the 13th, and a 25-footer on the 15th, with five par saves on the back nine.
 
On an easy day for scoring, Weir made it look like childs play.
 
It was one of the rare days it did feel like that, he said. But it was one of those days with my putter I hadnt had in a while. So it was fun.
 
Singh is trying to convince himself that hes a good putter, although it didnt take much in the opening round. Of his seven birdies, the longest putt was about 6 feet.
 
I just dont feel any pressure out there at the moment, he said.
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.