Points Imada share lead at Torrey Pines

By Doug FergusonJanuary 30, 2010, 4:55 am
Farmers Insurance OpenSAN DIEGO – D.A. Points saved his best golf for the tougher course at Torrey Pines and wound up in a share of the second-round lead with Ryuji Imada in the Farmers Insurance Open on Friday.

Points avoided a shaky start with a series of good par saves, then finished strong with an eagle and a birdie over the final four holes on the South Course for a 7-under 65. Imada also played the South, which hosted the U.S. Open in 2008, and shot a 68.

Imada, who was runner-up to Tiger Woods by eight shots in 2008 at the PGA Tour event, has yet to make a bogey.

They were at 11-under 133, giving them a head start going into the weekend when it’s far easier to keep track of who’s doing well.

Torrey Pines has two of the most distinct courses on the PGA Tour, with the South playing 2 1/2 shots easier than the North. Points apparently didn’t get the memo.

“Funny enough, I’ve played this course a lot more than I’ve played the other one, and I feel pretty comfortable out here,” he said.

They were two strokes ahead of Matt Every, who had a 70 on the South, and Michael Sim of Australia, who had a tournament-best 62 on the North Course and finished with an eagle.

Robert Allenby, who opened with a 67 on what he called the “real course”–  the South – didn’t fare quite as well on the North as he struggled on the bumpy greens. He still had a 69 and was three shots back going into the weekend.

Phil Mickelson didn’t go as low as he wanted, but he also finished with a flourish for a 67 that left him only four shots behind in his first tournament of the year. Mickelson spent most of his time after the round answering questions about the old Ping wedge in his bag with square grooves, and Scott McCarron accusing him of “cheating” for using it.

“I think he’s saying the rule is a terrible rule,” Mickelson said.

More important to Mickelson is having a chance on a hometown course that has befuddled him since the South Course was revamped to accommodate a U.S. Open. Mickelson is a three-time winner at Torrey Pines, but not since 2001. A victory this week would be his third in four starts, something he has never done in his career.

The final two rounds are held on the South Course, and some believe the tournament doesn’t really start until Saturday.

Points, with a 36-hole lead for only the third time, relishes two more days on the South.

He not only played the U.S. Open, but the Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines twice. That brought back some sour memories, although it had nothing to do with his scores. Points said he tied for seventh at the Junior Worlds in his last year, which qualified him to compete in a junior event in Japan.

“Like a stupid kid, I didn’t go to Japan,” he said. “I went and played in the Maxfli Junior PGA because it was on ESPN, and I thought it would be cool to be on TV rather than to have the experience of going to Japan. I kind of regret that part.”

Twenty players were separated by five shots going into the weekend on a course that can be punishing for short hitters who aren’t in the fairway, and everyone who can’t judge the distance to reach the proper spots on the greens.

Mickelson struggled on the greens, missing three birdie opportunities in a span of four holes. The other was the 323-yard second hole, where he pounded a driver that barely cleared a bunker and hopped onto the green for a two-putt birdie.

“I didn’t have many birdie putts, but I was able to make all the tough par putts and kind of salvage the round,” Mickelson said.

Allenby referred to the North Course as “Mickey Mouse-ish,” and while his score didn’t indicate that – a 69 – he had few complaints with his position. Allenby has two victories and a runner-up finish on three tours in his last three starts, and is playing as well as anyone.

The struggle was not so much the greens, but his emotions.

He wore a pink shirt with a purpose for the second round.

“One year ago today at 9 a.m., my mother drew her last breath,” he said somberly.

Allenby’s mother died of cancer on Jan. 29, and he spent Friday thinking about his shots, and thinking about his mother.

“I was up and down like a yo-yo,” he said. “That was one of the worst times of my life. What I’m trying to do now is make this one of the best weeks of my life.”

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.