Snedeker wins at Pebble, heading back to Augusta

By Doug FergusonFebruary 15, 2015, 11:50 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Brandt Snedeker broke his own scoring record and won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second time in three years.

Snedeker played bogey-free in the final round Sunday and left the mistakes to everyone else. He closed with a 5-under 67 and a three-shot victory over Nick Watney, and the timing could not have been better.

Snedeker fell out of the top 50 at the end of last year for the first time since 2011 and was guaranteed of playing only one major and no World Golf Championships unless he turned his game around. One great week at one of his favorite spots in golf changed everything.

The victory assures him a spot in the Masters and PGA Championship (he already was eligible for the U.S. Open). And he moves to No. 31 in the world ranking, which most likely gets him into all the WGCs, starting with Doral in three weeks.

''I'm just so excited about what's next,'' Snedeker said.

He made only one bogey in 72 holes of glorious weather, as good as it gets at Pebble Beach. And when he finally took the lead after Watney made his worst swing of the week - a 4-iron right of the sixth fairway and into Stillwater Cove - Snedeker pulled away, taking all the drama out of the final hour.


AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Articles, videos and photos


A conservative par on the final hole gave him a 22-under 265, breaking the scoring record by two shots that he set in 2013. He also broke by two shots the score to par previously held by Phil Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997) when the par-72 Poppy Hills was still in the rotation.

Watney opened with four straight birdies, but it was three bogeys in a five-hole stretch at the turn that cost him. He rallied with a pair of birdies for a 69 to secure second place alone, a good step for him getting his game back in order.

Charlie Beljan closed with a 66 and finished third.

Jim Furyk, the 54-hole leader, didn't make his first birdie until the 11th hole. He missed three birdie putts inside 10 feet on the front nine, went out in 38, and was out of the hunt halfway through the final round. It was the ninth time Furyk failed to convert when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead since his last victory at the 2010 Tour Championship. Then again, this was his first competition in five months.

''I only made two birdies today and I hit the ball way better than that,'' Furyk said. He tied for seventh, six shots behind, along with Jordan Spieth and Matt Jones.

With a big crowd celebrating one of the most beautiful weeks ever at Pebble, the final round quickly turned into a battle between Snedeker and Watney.

Watney, thrilled at the chance to play with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, opened with four straight birdies to build a two-shot lead. But on the par-3 fifth, a photographer shot his camera at the top of Watney's swing and he flinched, coming up well short and in a bunker. Watney made bogey, and Snedeker rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt for a two-shot swing to tie for the lead.

It was a big putt for Snedeker, and it was evident by the abrupt fist pump when it dropped. He took the lead on the next hole when Watney pushed his approach over the edge of the cliff and made bogey.

Watney never caught up. They matched birdies on the seventh and 11th holes, and then Snedeker pulled away with pars. Watney made bogey from a fairway bunker on the 13th, and from behind the green on the 14th to fall four shots behind.

''I thought Brandt handled himself really, really well,'' Watney said. ''Maybe in trouble one time, but very solid. So that's what I need to be like next time.''

Torrey Pines winner Jason Day, who opened with a 72 at Pebble Beach in great scoring conditions, got within two shots of the lead until the putts stopped falling. He closed with a 67 and tied for fourth with Pat Perez (68) and Dustin Johnson, who closed with a 66. It was the second tournament for Johnson since he returned from a six-month leave of absence for what he described only as a personal challenge.

Perez and Michael Lund, the co-founder of Pandora Jewelry, won the pro-am competition at 42 under.

Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.