Holmes (62) tames Blue Monster, leads by 4 at Doral

By Doug FergusonMarch 5, 2015, 11:01 pm

DORAL, Fla. - J.B. Holmes never liked the old Blue Monster at Doral because he thought it was too easy for a World Golf Championship.

He said this with a straight face Thursday after a 10-under 62 that tied the tournament record at the Cadillac Championship, gave him a four-shot lead and left the rest of this world-class field to wonder just how he managed.

''I was able to hit the shots where I envisioned and hit good shots, and today the putter was on,'' Holmes said. ''Put that combination together, you do everything pretty good, you're going to shoot a good score.''

He made it sound as easy as it looked. Except that Trump National Doral wasn't all that easy for everyone else.

Rory McIlroy again felt tentative with his swing and shot 40 on his opening nine holes before finishing without a par on his last six holes - an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys that allowed him to salvage a 73. The world's No. 1 player has shot 73-74-73 in his three rounds in Florida this year.

Phil Mickelson shot 74 and failed to make a birdie for the first time in 186 rounds on the PGA Tour, dating to the final day at Olympic Club in the 2012 U.S. Open.

''Ten under? You're joking,'' Shane Lowry said after a hard-fought 71.

Ryan Moore was hanging with him until he hit his tee shot into the water on the par-5 18th hole and made double bogey. He still had a 66.

''It was a very fair test of golf,'' Moore said. ''I mean, it's difficult, but you can make some birdies.''


WGC-Cadillac Championship: Articles, videos and photos


Dustin Johnson ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine and was at 68, along with Alexander Levy of France and Rickie Fowler, who thought his round was solid. ''To shoot 68 in some tough conditions on a tough golf course and be six back, wouldn't really expect that,'' Fowler said.

Henrik Stenson, making his American debut, had six birdies and joined Phoenix Open winner Brooks Koepka at 69. The group at 70 included Adam Scott, who used a conventional putter for the first time in just over four years.

Holmes last played at Doral in 2010, missing time with injuries, not the least of which was surgery to remove a piece of his skull in 2011. Gil Hanse renovated the Blue Monster to make it more sensational with so much water hugging the fairways and greens. That was never an issue for Holmes. He finished his round with an 8-foot par putt, which he said was the closest he came to bogey all day.

''By about 5 feet,'' he said.

The start was nothing short of deal. Holmes two-putted for birdie on the par-5 10th, holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the 11th, and then smashed a drive downwind on the 603-yard 12th hole. He hit 6-iron thinking he might be able to clear the bunker, and it turned out better than he imagined, a foot away from the hole for an eagle.

The rest of the round, playing in tropical warmth and typical south Florida wind, was a matter of keeping it below the hole and making putts.

This was never his favorite WGC event the two previous times he played it.

''One of my least favorite tracks on tour,'' he said of the previous design. ''It was just too easy. I felt like for a World Golf Championship, 22 under winning shouldn't really happen. It's a very difficult golf course. I played great today.''

He was right on both counts.

The average score was 73.4, meaning that Holmes was more than 11 shots better than the field, the best standard of a great round. His 62 matched the tournament record set by Bubba Watson at Doral in 2012, and Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen at Mount Juliet in Ireland in 2002.

McIlroy's standard is slightly off at the moment.

Already a winner in Dubai and a runner-up in Abu Dhabi, he missed the cut last week at the Honda Classic after a month break and said he felt tentative. A week later, not much changed. Poor tee shots kept him from reaching the par 5s on the back nine in two. He twice failed to save par from the bunkers. And then from the middle of the fairway on the 18th hole - the tee shot is supposed to be the hard part - he was caught between clubs and tugged a 7-iron short, down the bank and into the water for a double bogey.

On his next tee shot, McIlroy was 5 yards away from going into the water - on the adjacent Red Course.

''It is very good on the range and it is very good in normal play when I'm not playing a tournament,'' McIlroy said. ''Then I've got a card in my hand the last couple weeks and it just hasn't quite been there. It's nice you can get round rounds this week and sort of try to play your way into some sort of rhythm. I don't feel like it's that far away. That's the frustrating thing.''

But he's far away from the lead. McIlroy already was 11 shots behind.

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."