Wiebe retains lead in Endicott; Watson, Price close

By Associated PressJune 25, 2011, 10:47 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. – Even at age 53, Mark Wiebe learned something about himself.

“I didn’t know I was a control freak, but I like being in control,” Wiebe said.

So far he is exactly that at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Wiebe shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over John Huston (70) after the second round. Bidding for his second straight Champions Tour victory, Wiebe was at 11-under 133 at En-Joie Golf Club.

While his challengers took turns making costly mistakes, Wiebe continued his solid play, finishing his second straight round without a bogey to stretch his streak to 64 holes. “I prided myself for my patience level today,” Wiebe said. “I’m kind of proud of the way I’m managing my game at this point in time in my life.”

Wiebe started with a flourish, sinking a 45-foot birdie putt on the first hole, then hitting a wedge to 10 feet and making another birdie at No. 2. He reached 10 under after pitching to 5 feet and making birdie at the par-5 fifth hole.

Huston started the day tied with Wiebe at 7 under, but his day nearly unraveled on the front nine. He made bogey at the par-5 third hole when mud on his ball sent his second shot into a bunker and he hit his third shot over the green.

After rallying with a birdie at the par-5 fifth hole, Huston had a double bogey at the par-3 seventh, missing a 1-foot putt to fall back to 5 under.

“It was a little bit of a letdown, but I had a lot of holes left,” said Huston, playing just his third tournament on the senior circuit since turning 50 on June 1.

Undeterred, Huston then rallied with four birdies in the next five holes and avoided trouble the rest of the round. That left him and a dozen other players within five shots of the lead heading to Sunday’s final round.

“We’ll all have our work cut out for us trying to track him down,” Huston said.

Most likely.

Wiebe finished second to Nick Price at the Toshiba Classic in March – he lost by only one shot after Price opened with a 60 – and won two weeks ago at Rock Barn, and that has sent his confidence to a new level.

“I kind of felt, although I didn’t win (the Toshiba), I still had some game,” Wiebe said. “That was a big confidence builder. Of course, any time you win your confidence level is a little higher, but I think the challenge is to keep your expectations down because when you win and you’ve had some success you start expecting more. That’s a challenge to not let your expectations get goofy.”

Not likely considering who’s in the chase here.

Local favorite Joey Sindelar (69), who won the B.C. Open twice at En-Joie in the 1980s, Bobby Wadkins (69), Price (71), and Hal Sutton (70) were tied at 7-under 137 after a breezy, sometimes gusty day. And among the 20 players within six shots of the lead were Tom Watson (67) and Mark Calcavecchia (68).

“Two weeks ago, I got my confidence level up. Winning is a great thrill, I have to tell you,” Wiebe said. “But I won’t think about that until this tournament is over. There’s a whole bunch of guys that have a chance and you can really build momentum the first five or six holes. You can really get it going, and if you get going you can really shoot low. We’ll see what happens.

“I just know I have a cush (ion), but it could be gone after the first hole. But I’d much rather be two up than two back without a doubt.”

Wiebe made it 27 straight holes without a bogey at En-Joie when he parred No. 9. He made a nice par save at No. 15 after a poor drive, drained a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 16, and finished with a birdie try that somehow stayed out of the hole, coming to rest on the lip as Wiebe stared skyward on the 18th green.

Price, who started the day one shot behind, made four birdies on the front side to reach 10 under and tie Wiebe at the top of the leaderboard. He faltered at No. 13, driving the right rough, punching out before missing a 10-foot par putt to fall a shot behind. It was his first bogey since the second round at Rock Barn.

Price also found trouble at No. 15, which is guarded by a huge water hazard along the left of the fairway, and didn’t escape. He drove into the water and made double bogey.

Watson, who hadn’t played the course since the 1976 B.C. Open, opened with a 72 Friday and moved into contention with four birdies on the front nine Saturday. He could have gone even lower before making the turn. His second shot at the par-4 ninth hole landed above the pin and spun back down a gentle slope within 6 feet, but his birdie try lipped out.

Watson regrouped with two birdies on the first three holes on the back side, but his charge came to an abrupt halt when he hit into water hazards at Nos. 14 and 15 and dropped three shots.

“I hit a bad 5-iron at the par-3 (14th). I just blocked it and it went in the water, but I did get it up and down,” Watson said. “Then the 15th hole I hit in the short cut (rough), kind of a sloppy lie, and I caught it fat. Hit a pretty good pitch up there to 6 feet but missed it for bogey.”

Watson, playing for the first time since he won the Senior PGA Championship a month ago, rallied with birdies at 16 and 18, sticking his second shot at the par-4 closing hole within 3 feet of the pin as the gallery cheered.

“Two bad shots there,” he said after signing his card. “It was a pretty good round of golf, except for those two shots. I needed to get to at least 8 under par. Those two water balls kind of shot me out of it, I think.”

Divots: Wiebe has won two of three when he’s been the leader after two rounds. … Peter Jacobsen is at 6 under and in line for his best finish since a T5 at the 2007 Toshiba Classic. … Hole No. 15 remains the most difficult. There have been just 13 birdies through two rounds.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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