Sean OHair Jim Furyk lead Deutsche Bank Championship

By Doug FergusonSeptember 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
DeutscheBank Logo 2007NORTON, Mass. – Sean O’Hair hasn’t made many birdies lately. He saw more than his share Saturday in another day of low scoring at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and some of them were even his own.

O’Hair was 8-under par in an eight-hole stretch in the middle of his round, sending him to a 7-under 64 and a share of the lead with Jim Furyk after 36 holes on the TPC Boston.

O’Hair and Furyk, who made six birdies in his round of 67, played in the same group with Retief Goosen, who had a 67 and wound up two shots behind. The threesome combined to make 17 birdies and one eagle.

“It can either help your or it can really hurt you,” O’Hair said of watching his partners keep making putts. “If you get impatient out there, it can be a detriment. But with the attitude I had out there the last couple of days, it was nice.”

No one needed to make birdies quite like Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods at Deutsche Bank Championship
Tiger Woods turned things around on his back nine Saturday, making four birdies at the TPC Boston. (Getty Images)

He was on the cut line when he made the turn and was desperate to secure a tee time for Sunday and make up as much ground as he could. After an unlikely par save from a buried lie in the bunker, Woods gave himself seven consecutive birdie putts inside 12 feet. He made four of them for a 67, although he still was seven shots behind.

O’Hair and Furyk were at 12-under 130, two shots clear of Goosen and Marc Leishman, who had a tournament-low 62. Nearly half the field of 99 players shot in the 60s.

Scott Verplank made an eagle for the second straight day on his way to a 68, leaving him a group of players at 9-under 133 that included Justin Leonard, Mike Weir, Kevin Sutherland and John Senden, who recorded the rarest shot in golf.

Senden made a double eagle on the par-5 second hole, holing out from 250 yards with a 4-iron. He shot a 64.

“It looked like it was just going to roll to the back of the green or just over the back,” Senden said. “And then when the I saw the cheers go up, I knew it was in the hole, so it was exciting.”

Most of the excitement came in the morning, however, as O’Hair, Furyk and Goosen lit up the scoreboard in pristine conditions. The best viewing belonged to Geoff Ogilvy in the group behind them.

“When you’re watching the group ahead of you throwing birdie after birdie, you know you have to keep making them,” said Ogilvy, who managed a 68 and was in the large group at 8-under 134.

Furyk, winless in more than two years, went 25 consecutive holes without missing a green until he found a fairway bunker on No. 15 that led to bogey. Even so, he was steady as ever and feeling better about his chance of ending his drought. He has never gone two consecutive seasons without winning since he joined the PGA Tour.

“I didn’t expect to go out there and hit 13 fairways and 18 greens today,” he said. “I hit a few bad shots, got loose once in a while, but was able to score well all day.”

Everyone in his group did that. They were a combined 34-under par after two rounds.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever played in a group where all three guys played so well,” Furyk said. “We saw a lot of good golf and a lot of good golf shots, and obviously I saw some putts go in. We all made our share of putts.”

There were only five holes where no one made birdie.

Steve Stricker shared the 18-hole lead with Furyk and appeared to be on his way toward catching him with consecutive birdies as he was approaching the turn. That changed with one bad tee shot and several missed putts inside 6 feet.

Woods, meanwhile, didn’t need a leaderboard to realize he was hovering around the cut at 1 under.

“I saw a lot of media guys out there, so I thought I’d better turn this thing around and make them go away,” he said.

It started with pars – a 12-footer at No. 9, a tricky 5-footer on the 10th and a superb save from the plugged lie in the face of a bunker at No. 11, followed by a 20-foot putt. From there, Woods hit everything inside 12 feet and made some, although he was increasing frustrated by missed birdie chances of 7 feet at No. 13, 10 feet at No. 15 and 10 feet at no. 17.

“They haven’t been lipping in, they’ve been lipping out,” Woods said. “That’s about par for the course right now.”

He was at 5-under 137 needing a low round Sunday to get back into the mix for the Labor Day finishes. And as the first two days have shown, low scores certainly are out there.

Woods attributed so many missed chances at Liberty National on putts that often broke multiple times before reaching the hole. He worked some on his short game during his three days at home, no more than usual.

“I really putted well on the weekend, I just didn’t make a lot of putts,” he said. “When you’re lipping out a lot of putts, you’re not putting poorly. Those greens were a tough read for a bunch of people.”

Woods has a hard time finding much fault with anything this year, except for not winning a major. His five victories are twice as much as anyone else, and he still holds the No. 1 stop in the FedEx Cup standings going into the second week of the playoffs.

The big surprise is Heath Slocum, who was planning a trip to Switzerland this week for the Omega Masters on the European Tour until he won last week at Liberty National. That moved him from second-to-last place at No. 124 to No. 3, right behind Woods and Stricker.

Players have been debating whether Slocum earned too many points, and they tried to balance his rocket rise with the notion that he did beat a field at The Barclays that included the top 124 players on the PGA Tour.

The top 100 qualified for the Deutsche Bank (minus Paul Casey, who is injured), and that number will be pared to the top 70 players in points going to the third round next week at the BMW Championship outside Chicago.

Woods is virtually a lock to at least contest for the $10 million prize that comes with the FedEx Cup, especially the way he has played over the last two months—two victories, two runner-up finishes.

“This last stretch, I think I’ve hit the ball pretty good,” Woods said. “I’ve putted well in stretches. Some people have alluded to other things, but that’s not too bad for my last four events. The overall year has been very consistent.”

He missed the FedEx Cup playoffs last year recovering from knee surgery. The last time he played the Deutsche Bank was in 2007, when he tied for second, four shots behind Phil Mickelson. Woods took nine more putts than Mickelson that day.

Getty Images

Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

Getty Images

Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."