A Win is a Win is a Win

By Brian HewittApril 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)Well, it wasn't quite Woods vs. DiMarco in the final round at the Masters. But it was the final round.
It was good theater if not good golf. Well, it was OK theater. And, well, it was OK golf.
There were more lead changes on the final day of the MCI Heritage than the road show of My Fair Lady.
Peter Lonard
Despite not being pointed in the right direction much of Sunday, Peter Lonard was still able to get the win.
The winner was a 37-year-old Aussie named Peter Lonard and the first words out of his mouth after his first victory on the American PGA Tour were: 'I was wondering if it was ever going to happen.'
On his web site, Lonard lists his favorite food as 'barbecued.' Not 'barbecue,' but 'barbecued.' In other words, just about anything as long as its barbecued. Lonard is an unprepossessing bloke who, after Saturday's round, said he planned to eat the same food and drink the same amount of beers he had been drinking all week long.
Rest assured that he probably swilled a few extra ones Sunday night.
For his part, runner up Darren Clarke had to be feeling a little barbecued himself after birdieing the first three holes to take a four-shot lead and closing with a bloated 40 on the final nine holes to drop all the way back into a four-way tie for second with Davis Love III, Billy Andrade and Jim Furyk.
'At the end of the day,' Lonard said, 'if you win, you win.'
Clarke, the 17th-ranked player in the world, had opened this event with a pair of stylish 65s that provided him with a six-shot lead after 36 holes. In his final 36 holes Clarke carded 10 bogeys, three double bogeys, 13 pars and nine birdies.
The headline writers were already working overtime.....'Jilton Head,'.........Calidoublebogue Sound.....etc. etc.....You get the idea.
'I feel like about a 36-handicap,' said Clarke, who was 6-over par on the last six holes.
So heres the deal: Peter Lonard stumbled to a 75 Sunday. But guess what? His 72-hole total of 7-under par was lower than anybody elses. By two shots. He will not be handing back his check of almost $1 million dollars anytime soon. He will not be asking the PGA Tour to take back the two-year exemption any time soon either. Hell probably even keep the plaid jacket.
For his part, Clarkes world didnt end Sunday either. His swing deserted him, yes. But that happens. Moe Norman, the Canadian golf legend, used to say only two people who ever owned their golf swings: Him and Hogan. Clarke has a ton of game and a terrific instructor in Butch Harmon, maybe the best in golf. Harmon will get him back on track sooner than later.
You just dont get Woods vs. DiMarco every week. For that matter, I know golf grinches who werent even thrilled with Woods vs. DiMarco. Lots of contenders, they say, is what they want on the back nine on Sunday at the Masters. Lots of shots full of meaning for CBS producer Lance Barrow to show in rapid fire succession. Two players only in contention, they say, is not enough.
The real winner in South Carolina Sunday was Harbour Town Golf Links, Pete Dyes devlish little track that seems to get tougher and more interesting every year. Listed in the PGA Tour media guide at less than 7,000 yards, it gives the worlds best all they want. Would love to see the USGA take a U.S. Open there some June. Let it play hard and fast. Let the wind blow. Throw rakes into the waste areas so the pros cant ground their clubs on the coquina shells. Let even par win our national championship.
Am probably just dreaming. But Peter Lonard was dreaming, too, more than 10 years ago when something called Ross River Fever raged through his body and forced him off the Australian Tour and back to a club job. All of a sudden I was selling Mars bars and sausage roles in the pro shop, he said.
Lonard kept after it. Slowly, he got his health back. And Sunday he won for the first time on the worlds most lucrative golf tour.
Heres to him. Fosters Lager, barbecued and a Mars bars for everyone.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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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.

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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

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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.

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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."

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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.


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.