Guthrie four up, Daly six back at BMW Masters

By Doug FergusonOctober 25, 2013, 9:09 am

SHANGHAI – Luke Guthrie brought only one 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew from America, enough of a caffeine fix to get him through the week without headaches. He packed only one sweater – lime green – because his crash course on Shanghai did not include checking the forecast.

At this rate, Guthrie might end up staying another week, a problem he would love to have.

Guthrie coped with another day of harsh wind and plunging temperatures Friday with a 1-under 71, giving the 23-year-old American a four-shot lead over six players going into the weekend at the BMW Masters.

A victory would make him eligible for his first World Golf Championship next week across town in the HSBC Champions.

''I was just coming over to challenge myself, put myself in a new environment and see what I could make of it,'' Guthrie said. ''I'm playing well right now. I've got 36 more holes and I'm looking forward to the opportunity and hopefully I come out with a 'W' and get to stay in Shanghai longer.''

Guthrie never let anyone get closer than two shots at Lake Malaren, and he started to pull away with a 20-foot birdie putt that broke three directions on the par-3 17th. But his misjudged the speed of the 18th green on a long chip, and then narrowly missed a 10-foot par putt on his last hole.

It was a tough way to end a solid day, though he had no complaints at 8-under 136 and four shots clear of the field.

Even as everyone else was battling par and conditions that were getting colder by the minute, Guthrie marched along in short sleeves. That wasn't by choice.

''I should have looked that up about Shanghai before I came here,'' Guthrie said. ''I didn't know exactly what the weather was going to be like. I only have one sweater here. I'm wearing blue and pink today, so I'm kind of out there already. I didn't want to put a green sweater on top of it. So I just dealt with being a little cold.''

Ricardo Gonzalez didn't make a bogey until the final hole and still had a 67, the lowest round of the day. Also in a tie for second were Scott Jamieson (68), Paul Casey, Thongchai Jaidee, Craig Lee and Simon Dyson, who each shot 70.

John Daly showed plenty of power but couldn't make a putt in his round of 74, which included a double bogey-birdie-bogey finish. He was six shots behind.

Peter Uihlein, who was two shots behind after chipping in for eagle at No. 7, made six bogeys over his next seven holes. He tried to salvage his round with two later birdies, only to catch a mound short of the 18th that sent his approach into the bunker for one last bogey and a 75. He was at 144.

As for Guthrie, not everything that happens in Las Vegas stays there – such as his game. He closed with a 64 in Las Vegas to tie for fifth and then flew straight to Shanghai, leaving him enough time to get over jet lag and see the Jack Nicklaus design at Lake Malaren in the pro-am.

Even if he didn't bring enough warm clothes, he brought his game.

''I'm playing well. I was in good form coming here and had been hitting it really well,'' Guthrie said. ''Kind of felt the trend going in the right direction.''

Guthrie made his first bogey of the tournament with a tee shot that left him against the lip of a fairway bunker on No. 5, and he had to knock it out to the fairway. He dropped another shot on the 10th, and hit a poor shot that left him in an impossible spot on the 12th. Everything else, however, was solid. He rolled in a 15-foot birdie on the 11th, got up-and-down behind the green on the par-5 15th for a birdie and hit 6-iron into 20 feet on the 17th.

The BMW Masters is the start of ''The Final Series'' on the European Tour, four tournaments with at least $7 million in prize money that concludes the Race to Dubai. Guthrie, coming off his rookie season on the PGA Tour, has no stake in that. A win, however, would make him eligible for the HSBC Champions next week in Shanghai, which counts toward the FedEx Cup on the U.S. circuit.

''Still plenty of golf left,'' he said.

Only 18 players in the 77-man field were under par, a testament to the tough conditions.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello didn't figure to be among them until he ran off five straight birdies late in his round for a 68, leaving him five shots behind. Ian Poulter got back in the game until two late bogeys forced him to settle for a 69. Poulter was at 1-under 143, along with Rory McIlroy, who bogeyed the last hole for a 72, and Lee Westwood (71).

Graeme McDowell, in his first event since getting married at the end of September, was trying to push his way up the leaderboard until he bogeyed three of his last five.

''It's been very tough the last two days in the wind,'' Casey said. ''These are not conditions I expected or wanted. But it makes a very good, difficult golf course even more so. It's a great test of golf, which is I guess what we want. This is the Final Series for us in Europe. It's meant to be difficult, and it has been.''

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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.