Breaking through the comfort zone

By Brandon TuckerSeptember 20, 2011, 3:55 pm

LA QUINTA, Calif -- If you're one of those golfers who can't seem to break through your handicap, look to Scott Mraule for hope. 

Mraule is competing in the Championship Flight of this year's National Championship. Back in 2007, he won the National Championship in the Sarazen Flight in just his second year playing golf. 

In a matter of a few years, he's taken his game from a 20-handicap into the Championship Flight with a handicap under 4. 

But speaking with Mraule, you'll discover his rise isn't just a case of dumb luck. 

'I go out to the range every night and hit 150-300 balls,' he said. 'I work on putting in my living room, when I can find the time I work on the short game.' 

That repetition, plus a lot of action in competition - he's played 13 events in 2011 - leads to confidence. 

'It's about forgetting bad shots,' he said. 'And having trust in yourself.' 

Mraule certainly has no fear of going low. He's carded as low as 68 and has gone under par many more times. He thinks he can play competitively for the next ten years.

After two days at nationals, Mraule finds himself with more work to do. He sits 18 shots behind K.C. Fox.

The anti-sandbagger

Amateur events can be havens for seasoned sandbaggers who slyly raise their handicap all season long only to score low in the right tournament with the biggest prize. 

But a prime example of personal pride over handicap-massaging is Am Tour finalist Mark Titone from Naperville, Illinois. Mark, 52, joined the Chicago North Am Tour this year and had a stellar season in the Sarazen (12-15.9 hcp), playing in 22 events. After three runner-up finishes, he won his 8th event at Ravisloe Country Club. 

His strong play in 2011 meant his handicap was dropping fast, and on the eve of the final tournament before the National Championship, Mark chose to play even though it would assuredly mean his handicap would drop below 12. Doing so would put him into the Sr. Hogan flight (8.0-11.9), which meant against players nearly four shots better at Nationals. 

But Titone told his local tour that his goal was to play in the best flight he could, and the satisfaction of making a higher flight took president over winning in a lower flight. And here his is at PGA West this week in the Hogan Flight. 

After two rounds, Titone finds himself well off the pace at PGA West in 102nd place. But if his rookie season's rapid improvement is any indication, look out for him at Nationals next season. 

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.