Scott shares Barclays lead; Rory rallies to make cut

By Doug FergusonAugust 22, 2014, 10:19 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. - Now that the majors are over, Adam Scott is going after the only big prize left this year - a shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup title.

Scott ran off four straight birdies in the middle of his round Friday, and then closed with an approach that settled a foot from the cup for a tap-in birdie and a 6-under 65. That gave him a share of the 36-hole lead with Cameron Tringale at The Barclays.

Three dozen players were within five shots of the lead, a group that includes British Open and PGA champion Rory McIlroy. The world's No. 1 player, going after his fourth straight victory, shook off some rust on the range and was nine shots better than his opening round with a 65.

Scott won The Barclays a year ago at Liberty National, and it felt like a bonus in a year in which he won his first major at the Masters. He never had a serious chance at any of the majors this year, and he is looking at the FedEx Cup playoffs differently.


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''There's so much to play for, and for me to be satisfied with the year, I need four really great weeks,'' Scott said.

Scott and Tringale were at 8-under 134. Kevin Chappell (67), Brendon Todd (69) and Jim Furyk (69) were one shot behind. The group two shots back included Henrik Stenson (64), Jason Day (64) and Ernie Els, who is playing his sixth straight tournament and shot a 68.

Some scorecards needed more than just numbers, starting with Phil Mickelson.

Lefty took a bogey on the ''five-and-dime'' fifth hole, thusly named because Byron Nelson always used a 5-iron and a wedge. Mickelson, like so many other players, tried to drive the green and took a wild detour. His shot bounced into the grandstand, behind a row of seats on the thin carpet of the hospitality area. Instead of dropping into deep grass, he chose to play it out of the bleachers, right next to a half-filled glass of beer on a table.

It went too long, over the green and into a bunker, though it gave the crowd a thrill.

''It wasn't hard to make contact. It was hard to hit it on that skinny little green and get it to stop,'' Mickelson said.

He compared it with trying to hit a shot off the cart path, except the carpet ''doesn't scrape up your club as much.''

Mickelson birdied his last hole for a 72 to make the cut on the number.

Seung-Yul Noh made a bogey by playing off the wrong green - except it turned into a triple bogey because he didn't know that he wasn't allowed to hit off the putting surface from a different hole. His tee shot on No. 11 was so far right that it landed on the third green. Noh took a divot off the green, and a rules official drove up and told him the rule, which comes with a two-shot penalty.

McIlroy kept his excitement to birdies. The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland said he took a week away from golf to celebrate his big summer - two majors and his first World Golf Championship - and paid for it with an opening 74. But the range session Thursday afternoon did wonders, and he went from below the cut line to within five shots of the lead.

He also made those ''Freaky Friday'' rounds that ruined so many tournaments a distant memory.

His last four second rounds have been 66, 64, 67 and 65. That's more like ''Fun Friday,'' and they've put the No. 1 player back in the mix.

''It's a very bunched leaderboard,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm still five shots behind, but there's a lot of players between me and the leaders - obviously, a few quality guys at the top, Adam being one of them. So I'm going to have to shoot a couple of rounds similar to today to maybe win this thing.''

Scott was so clean from tee-to-green that he shot 65 and walked away lamenting a pedestrian effort with his putter. He missed six putts inside 12 feet and played the par 5s in 1 over. No wonder he called that ''some of the best golf I've played all year.''

''It just wasn't my day today on the greens,'' he said.

The top 100 from the FedEx Cup advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston, with the top 70 advancing to third event in Denver and the top 30 going to East Lake in Atlanta for the Tour Championship and a shot at the $10 million prize.

Lee Westwood kept his PGA Tour season going - barely. He shot a 73 and made the cut on the number at 1-over 143. Because 79 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut Saturday, only the second such cut in the playoffs since the new policy began in 2008.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.