Day 1 wrap: NCAA men's golf regionals

By Ryan LavnerMay 14, 2015, 9:13 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals got underway Thursday at six sites around the country. The low five teams in each regional after Saturday’s final round will advance to the May 28-June 3 NCAA Championship at Concession Golf Club in Florida.

Here are the first-round results from the Chapel Hill (N.C.), Noblesville (Ind.), Yale (Conn.), Lubbock (Texas), San Diego (Calif.) and Bremerton (Wash.) regionals. Live scoring on can be found here

Chapel Hill Regional, at Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C.:

Leader: Charlotte (-13)

Second place: Florida (-7)

Individual leader: Will Register, North Carolina (-6)

Rest of the top 5: Florida State (-4), Clemson (-4), North Carolina (-2)

Work to do: Kennesaw State (-1), Stanford (+2), Penn State (+4), Wake Forest (+6) 

Skinny: Charlotte might be the 50th-ranked team entering regionals, but it sure didn’t play like it Thursday. Three 49ers players shot 68 in the opening round. The Gators, coming off a seventh-place showing at SECs, also were a surprise in Round 1, counting three scores of 70 or better. Most of the higher-seeded teams got off to a decent start, but fourth-seeded Wake Forest has the most work to do. The Demon Deacons were forced to use a 76 Thursday after No. 2 Davis Womble shot 5 over. 

New Haven Regional, at The Course at Yale in New Haven, Conn.:

Leader: South Florida (+1) 

Second place: Ohio State (+2)

Individual leader: Rigel Fernandes, South Florida (-6)

Rest of the top 5: San Diego State (+4), Vanderbilt (+5), Oklahoma State (+9) 

Work to do: Troy (+9), N.C. State (+9), Iowa (+11), LSU (+14)

Skinny: Only four players broke par on Day 1 here. Not surprisingly, no team finished the first round under par, with South Florida – which is hosting this year’s NCAAs – leading the way. Fernandes’ eight-birdie 64 was four shots better than any other score on Day 1. Second-seeded LSU struggled mightily in the opening round, with no player recording a round under 73. As a team, the Tigers only recorded six birdies. 

Noblesville Regional, at Sagamore Golf Club in Noblesville, Ind:

Leader: Colorado (-11) 

Second place: Illinois and SMU (-3) 

Individual leader: Benjamin Baxter, SMU; David Oraee, Colorado; Jeremy Paul, Colorado all at -4

Rest of the top 5: UCLA (+5), UNLV (+7)

Work to do: Oregon (+9), Alabama (+10), Georgia Southern (+13), Virginia Tech (+21) 

Skinny: Colorado, which hasn’t reached an NCAA finals since 2002, got off to a torrid start here with all four players under par after Day 1 and their top two - Paul and Ocaee - as the co-leaders. Can the Buffaloes keep it up? This is a ninth-seeded team coming off an 11th-place showing at the Pac-12 Championship, but it is now 20 shots clear of the sixth-place team. Two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama will begin the second round in seventh place, after a 10-over start. No. 1 man Robby Shelton shot 74 on Day 1. Only 13 players broke par in the first round here. 

Lubbock Regional, at the Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas:

Leader: Texas (-11) 

Second place: Houston (-10)

Individual leader: Austin Eoff, Purdue (-6)

Rest of the top 5: Duke (-8), Texas Tech (-6), Purdue and California (-5)

Work to do: Auburn (-4), Louisville (-1), North Florida (+7)

Skinny: No surprise, top-seeded Texas continued to roll with four players shooting 69 or better, including a 66 out of lead man Beau Hossler. The Blue Devils got solid 67s from Jake Shuman and Turner Southey-Gordon, Duke's Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. This is a tightly bunched leaderboard, with nine teams separated by nine shots. 

Bremerton Regional, at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash.: 

Leader: UAB (-8)

Second place: TCU and USC (-7)

Individual leader: Sean Crocker, USC (-6) 

Rest of the top 5: Iowa State and Washington (-1)

Work to do: South Carolina (E), UC Davis (+1), Michigan (+4), Baylor (+5)

Skinny: Solid opening rounds from Paul Dunne (67) and Martin Rohwer (68) put the Blazers atop the leaderboard after Day 1. They’ve been playing better of late, with a pair of wins and a second-place showing at the Conference USA Championship in their past three starts. USC’s Sean Crocker, one of the nation’s top freshmen, closed with six consecutive birdies for a back-nine 30 and opening 66. That leaves him one shot clear of Hogan Award finalist Cheng-Tsung Pan, who is playing on one of Washington’s home courses. Top seed South Carolina flew all the way across the country, but a solid opening round in which the Gamecocks took no higher than a 73 leaves them in good shape heading into the second round. 

San Diego Regional, at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.:

Leader: Oklahoma (-4)

Second place: East Tennessee State (+1)

Individual leader: Grant Hirschman, Oklahoma; Gudmundur Kristjansson, East Tennessee State; Grant Bennett, Wichita State all at -3

Rest of the top 5: Wichita State (+4), St. Mary’s (+7), San Diego and Virginia (+9)

Work to do: Georgia Tech (+11), Eastern Kentucky (+11), Arizona State (+13), New Mexico (+15), Georgia (+19)

Skinny: So much for chalk here. Oklahoma has three players inside the top 6 individually as it looks to qualify for its fifth consecutive NCAA finals, but not much else went according to plan. Fortunately for top seeds Arizona State and Georgia Tech, poor first rounds leave them only a handful of shots behind the all-important fifth spot. Arizona State’s Jon Rahm, still in contention for national player of the year honors, mixed seven birdies with two doubles and a triple during an opening 73 that left him four back. Three of the top five teams on the leaderboard are the lowest seeds in the regional.  

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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.