Henley leads by 1 after Round 1 at Hyundai TOC

By Doug FergusonJanuary 10, 2015, 3:17 am

KAPALUA, Hawaii - Russell Henley found Kapalua to be a lot more fun the second time around.

Henley made four birdie putts outside 20 feet on his way to an 8-under 65 on Friday, giving him a one-shot lead over Bae Sang-Moon in the opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Henley made his debut last year in the winners-only event that starts the year and never broke 70. The Plantation Course offered up far better scores without the typical wind off the west coast of Maui.

And anytime that Henley feels good with the putter, the two-time winner on the PGA Tour can be dangerous.

''I kept the ball in front of me pretty decent today, and didn't scare too many chances at bogey,'' Henley said. ''But my main thing was obviously I putted great and was seeing the lines today. If I can putt like that every day, I would probably have a few more wins.''

Bae kept his focus in so many ways.

He was in Honolulu practicing last week when he learned the South Korean government had denied an extension of his overseas travel permit. Bae has deferred his mandatory military service, and there are questions over how much time he spent at home during this deferral. He has hired a legal firm to sort out the problems, but he caused a stir back home when he was quoted as saying he would not being going back to South Korea. What he meant was that he was not required to be there while the law firm worked on it.

Inside the ropes, Bae looked as if nothing could bother him.

He opened with six birdies in eight holes, was slowed by a bogey on the 11th hole and picked up two more birdies for a 66.


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''A little bit hard to focus on my game because I got a little trouble,'' Bae said. ''But I try to split things. But I don't want to think about it, the other things on the course. So yeah, I think I did really good today. I really want to the next three days, also.''

Bae is all about a fresh start.

Kapalua still feels like the first tournament of the season, even though the 2014-15 season began in October at the Frys.com Open, which Bae won at Silverado.

''This is new year on calendar,'' he said.

Most players have not competed in nearly two months, except those who were at the Hero World Challenge the first week of December or played overseas. Masters champion Bubba Watson played in Thailand to close out his best year ever, and he has been at Kapalua for the last week before his shots counted. He had a 70, a reasonable start, though he has yet to break 69 in 12 rounds on the Plantation Course.

This was the day to do it. It's rare when the flags aren't moving, though even a relatively calm day doesn't make it that easy. The greens are among the largest, and the grain and slope can prove tricky even to the regulars in this winners-only event.

Henley set the pace. Bringing up the rear were Ben Crane and Kevin Stadler at 74, a nine-shot differential from first to worst in a 34-man field.

Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed, who joined Watson as the only multiple winners on tour last year who are at Kapalua, led a group at 67 that included Scott Stallings, Robert Streb and Ben Martin, who chipped in for eagle on the 18th with a shot that would have gone 20 feet by the hole if it hadn't banged into the pin.

Matt Kuchar, never far from the hunt, was among those at 68.

Henley's first win was in Hawaii at the Sony Open two years ago, and he qualified this year by winning a four-man playoff at the Honda Classic that included Rory McIlroy. He is regarded as one of the best putters on tour, though Henley was more concerned with how he was hitting the ball. So he went to swing coach Scott Hamilton after the U.S. Open, tried to work on changes as in late summer and is now starting to trust what he's doing.

The swing is more on plane, and the translation for Henley is that he doesn't miss it as wild as he used to. Throw in a good putting stroke that didn't change, and he was happy with the direction he was going.

He was a runner-up at the Deutsche Bank Championship and tied for 12th at the Tour Championship during the FedEx Cup playoffs. He added a tie for fourth at the McGladrey Classic, and he has been among the leaders in two of those events.

''I always putted pretty well,'' he said. ''Since I started hitting the ball better ... I've been playing better golf. And definitely, I think as the swing has gotten better, it has made me play more consistently.''

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.