Spieth (66), Castro (69) share AT&T National lead

By Doug FergusonJune 28, 2013, 7:09 pm

BETHESDA, Md. – Jordan Spieth, playing with nothing to lose, gave himself another chance to win going into the weekend at the AT&T National.

Spieth hit every green in regulation Friday and extended his streak to 29 holes without a bogey on a tough Congressional course, giving him a 5-under 66 and a share of the lead with Roberto Castro (69) before storms interrupted the second round.

They were at 7-under 135, with storms soaking the course, it was unlikely the second round would be completed until Saturday morning.

Spieth is the 19-year-old Texan who started the season with no status, uncertain where he was going to play. He now has earned over $900,000 – the equivalent of being No. 39 on the PGA Tour money list – and is assured of a Tour card when the new season starts in October.

But he won't be eligible for the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs unless he's a PGA Tour member, and he can't be a member this year unless he wins.


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''Honestly, I think it's a great position to be in,'' Spieth said. ''I'm just free swinging. I can't be in the playoffs unless I win, and that makes winning the No. 1 goal. You'd like to get in the playoffs and play against the top players, the best players from this year. It's everyone's goal out here to win the FedEx Cup. My goal is to move up the world rankings as much as I can, and that's the way to do it, is to get into those playoffs.''

D.H. Lee had a 66 and was two shots behind at 5-under 139. Cameron Tringale (67) and James Driscoll (69) were another shot behind, while the group at 3-under 139 included former British Open champion Stewart Cink (69), Gary Woodland (69) and David Lingmerth, who went from around the cut line to contention with a 65.

Spieth has lived up to the hype he first generated when he played late on Sunday in the Byron Nelson Championship at age 16 and tied for 16th. In his one year at Texas, the Longhorns won the NCAA title. And in six months as a pro, he has shown quickly that he belongs.

He already has four top 10s and has special temporary membership, meaning he gets unlimited exemptions. His goal was to somehow get a PGA Tour card for 2013-14 season, and a win would be over the top.

Even so, the teenager who was born just three years before Tiger Woods turned pro is savvy to realize the tournament is not even halfway over.

''I can't really think about that at this point,'' he said. ''There's a long way to go. I'm kind of free swinging. I've gotten in a position where I can play a pretty full schedule this year, and I know I'll have my card for next year. Now all there's left to do is try and get a win to make the playoffs. So I'm just going out there trying to win and being aggressive, and hopefully, it will work out for me.''

Scoring was slightly better at Congressional, a course that has hosted the U.S. Open three times. Warmer weather in the morning made the ball fly a little farther and shortened the longest PGA Tour course on the mainland.

Spieth began his day with a 25-foot birdie putt on the first hole, avoided a long three-putt from above the hole on No. 4 by making a 12-foot par putt and then picked up four birdies over the final five holes on the front nine for a 31. He made nine pars on the back nine, never coming close to a bogey.

It was a clean round, executed well by a teenagers who plays like he knows where he is going.

''I'm excited for what the weekend is going to bring,'' he said.

Castro tied the course record on the TPC Sawgrass in May with a 63 to lead the opening round of The Players Championship, and then he followed with a 78 and never seriously challenged the rest of the week. After opening with a 66 at Congressional, he dropped a shot early from a fairway bunker on No. 3 and was plodding along until finishing the back nine with a pair of birdies, and then adding a birdie on the par-5 16th.

''I felt good,'' he said. ''I probably learned a lot there (at Sawgrass) and realized that one round doesn't mean anything – just got to keep going. And I was able to do that.''

Defending champion Woods is not playing because of an elbow injury, and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose withdrew earlier in the week because of fatigue. Some of the other big names most likely won't be around for the weekend, such as Hunter Mahan, who had a 72 and was at 5-over 147. Masters champion Adam Scott traded birdies and bogeys in his round of 71 that left him nine shots behind.

Brandt Snedeker had to salvage a scrappy round with two late birdies for a 71, leaving him five shots behind.

DIVOTS: The tee on the par-5 ninth hole was moved forward Friday, making it play only 613 yards. Six players went for the green in two – compared with none Thursday when the hole was 635 yards – with Angel Cabrera and Jason Day going just over the back. Both made birdie. ... Charlie Beljan, who opened with an 84, called officials Friday morning to say he had withdrawn.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry