Brown, Loupe tied at Farmers; Mickelson three behind

By Doug FergusonJanuary 29, 2016, 12:36 am

SAN DIEGO - Scott Brown and Phil Mickelson both had reason to believe it could be a long day on the South Course at Torrey Pines. It turned out just fine Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open, especially for Brown.

Brown hit into a hazard and made bogey on the first par 5 he faced and was 2 over through six holes. He finished with eight birdies over his last 11 holes for a 6-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Andrew Loupe.

Only it felt much better for Brown because it was on the South, which played 2 1/2 shots harder than the North Course where Loupe shot his 66.

''Extremely hard,'' Brown said of the South, which already hosted one U.S. Open and has another coming in five years. ''But it's fair. It's just tough. If you're out of position, you just have to play for par or bogey and you can't make any big numbers out there because as soon as you get behind the 8-ball, you can't press and try to make birdies.''

He did, anyway, including a 30 on the front nine.

Brown and Loupe had a one-shot lead over five players, including Billy Horschel, who all played the North Course.

Defending champion Jason Day, who missed the pro-am because of the flu, made his tee time but not a lot of birdies. He shot 72 on the North Course. That was one shot better than Rickie Fowler, who won Sunday in Abu Dhabi and couldn't buy a putt on the North Course in his round of 73.

''Couldn't get anything going,'' Fowler said. ''Couldn't make a putt. So looking forward to getting on the South greens, that's for sure.''

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson, whose last win at Torrey Pines was 15 years ago, didn't have the ideal start, either. On the second-easiest par 4 on the South Course, he hit into a fairway bunker, caught the lip trying to get out, hit his third shot just over the green and failed to get up-and-down, making double bogey.

''I thought anything in the 60s would have been a good score,'' Mickelson said. ''It's a very difficult golf course. But after doubling the second, I was able to kind of just keep things calm until I made a few birdies, and it was a good back nine.''

As significant as his birdies was a par on No. 11, where his tee shot found a bunker and he escaped with a 20-foot par putt. Mickelson hit enough good drives to set up three straight birdies. He reached the 614-yard 13th hole in two, hit wedge to 5 feet for birdie on the 14th and an 8-iron to 4 feet on the next hole.

He ended with a 27-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

Of the 33 players who shots in the 60s, only 12 of the scores came on the South Course. K.J. Choiand Chesson Hadley each had a 68.

Paul Dunne of Ireland made his PGA Tour debut with a 69 on the South, while 17-year-old Ryan Ruffels of Australia opened with a 70 on the North Course in his first professional event in America. Ruffels, the son of tennis parents Ray Ruffels and Anna-Maria Fernandez, won a Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines, and he beat Mickelson in a practice round last December.

Mickelson figured the South Course would be a good test for his driver, and he had mixed results.

''It was not what I expected, but better than I'm used to,'' he said.

Jimmy Walker was expecting much better. He was excited about the way he was driving the ball until a piece of epoxy on his driver came loose during the pro-am. He missed it left of the gallery on No. 7, and so far right on the par-5 ninth on the South that it landed beyond a blue mesh fence of a concession area. At that point, he still was 4 under. Walker kept it together for a 69 and then headed for the range.

''It's tough when you've got a two-way miss going,'' he said. ''But I hit some good irons, good wedges and some good putts.''

This tournament typically isn't sorted out until the weekend because of the disparity of the courses, though the North is no longer a pushover. It has tighter fairways with thick rough. The scoring difference comes largely from the par 5s, which all are reachable with good tee shots.

That's where Brown is headed on Friday with the same plan - keep it in the fairway, keep big numbers off his card.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.