Zoeller-Crenshaw set Champions Skins record

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2009, 5:00 pm
2005 WendyKAANAPALI, Hawaii ' Fuzzy Zoeller defended his Champions Skins Game title with new partner Ben Crenshaw by taking a dozen skins and $500,000 on the back nine Sunday to beat first-day leaders Greg Norman and Jay Haas.
 
Zoeller and Crenshaw finished the alternate-shot event with 13 skins worth a record $530,000, surpassing the $510,000 earned by Raymond Floyd and Dana Quigley three years ago at Wailea. Norman and Haas, who began the day with three skins and $90,000, added to their total with a par on the second playoff hole for the 18th-hole superskin worth $100,000.
 
The international duo of 73-year-old Gary Player and Champions Tour player and rookie of the year Bernhard Langer finished with one skin worth $50,000, while teammates Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson were shutout.
 
It was the first time Nicklaus, making his 19th appearance, was blanked since 1998.
 
On a postcard, 82-degree day on Maui, no one was hotter than Zoeller and Crenshaw, a late replacement for injured Peter Jacobsen.
 
The 57-year-old Zoeller, who won the Masters 30 years ago, made two birdie putts within 5 feet on Nos. 12 and 17 to win a half-million dollars in a span of six holes.
 
The big-money hole was the 421-yard 12th, where Crenshaw hit a gap wedge from 94 yards to 5 feet. After the other three teams missed their birdie tries, Zoeller calmly walked up and eyed his try with eight skins ' five carried over from the first day ' worth $300,000 on the line.
 
I remember the days when these were easy, Zoeller quipped before the putt.
 
Zoeller dropped the putt and raised his arms in the air, as a gallery packed four deep around the green roared. The clutch putt even drew hugs and handshakes from his opponents.
 
The players only had to contend with gentle breeze, a dramatic change compared to Saturdays front nine.
 
Crenshaw, a two-time Masters champion and 1999 Ryder Cup captain, then hit a 7-iron over the water and stuck it to about 4 1/2 feet on the 144-yard 17th.
 
With four skins and $200,000 at stake, Nicklaus nearly holed a bunker shot for birdie, Langer missed a 15-footer and Haas couldnt roll in a putt from 12 feet. Zoeller smiled and dropped his birdie try, which he said was in his comfort zone.
 
The cigarette-puffing pair of Crenshaw and Zoeller, and Player-Langer were eliminated after the first playoff hole for the final $100,000. Nicklauss tee shot sailed into the water on the next playoff hole, essentially handing the check to Haas and Norman.
 
Just like he did so many times in years past, Player shook his fist after holing a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 13th, pleasing the photo-snapping, fairway-walking gallery.
 
How much was that, $50,000? Player asked after the putt. My father never made that in his life, working down 12,000 feet in a gold mine. So, I say thank you.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • Getty Images

    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

    Getty Images

    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

    Getty Images

    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

    Getty Images

    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.