Spieth sets single-season earnings mark

By Doug FergusonSeptember 27, 2015, 10:34 pm

ATLANTA - At age 22, Jordan Spieth became the first $22 million man in golf Sunday.

Spieth capped off a dream season when he poured in putts from all over East Lake and closed with a 1-under 69 for a four-shot victory in the Tour Championship. That was all he needed to become the youngest player to capture the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus.

His fifth victory of the year, including two majors, was worth $1,485,000 and allowed the Texan to set a PGA Tour record with $12,030,465. And if that wasn't enough, Spieth went back to No. 1 in the world.

His battle with Henrik Stenson long over, Spieth finished it off in fitting fashion. He made an 8-foot par putt that was never going anywhere but right in the heart.

''This is one I cannot wait to celebrate,'' Spieth said.

The first person to greet him was his little sister, Ellie, who keeps him so grounded. His parents, girlfriend, grandfather and high school friends from Dallas were at East Lake to watch another amazing performance in a year filled with them.

Stenson couldn't do much about it.


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On two holes around the turn with the Swede in tight for a certain birdie, Spieth matched him with a 20-foot birdie on the par-5 ninth and a 45-foot birdie on the par-3 11th. At that point, Stenson just stared at Spieth with a wry smile and patted him on the back.

''It's been a phenomenal year for him,'' Stenson said after a 72 to tie for second. ''I watched it firsthand at the first two rounds at Augusta, and he played phenomenal and putted phenomenal. And it was the same putting display, really, today - just an exhibition on the greens, to be honest.

''His putting and mental focus is the best in the world. It's hard to argue that.''

And there's no longer an argument for PGA Tour player of the year.

Jason Day had five victories, including his first major at the PGA Championship, and there was talk a sixth win and the FedEx Cup might put the Australian in the discussion. Not anymore. Spieth won the Masters and U.S. Open, missed a playoff by one shot at the British Open in his spirited run for the Grand Slam and was runner-up at the PGA.

Along with winning the money list, Spieth won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average.

Stenson made a $1 million putt of his own, though it was the least he could do. He was three shots behind when he shanked his shot from the 17th fairway and made double bogey. That dropped him into a four-way tie for fourth and moved him to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. But he bounced back with a 60-foot birdie putt on the last hole to tie for second and finish No. 2 in the FedEx Cup for a $3 million bonus (instead of $2 million).

Danny Lee (65) and Justin Rose (66) joined Stenson in second place. For Stenson, it was his third runner-up finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs, and his fifth runner-up finish this year without a victory. He still has more events left on the European Tour.

But this week - and year - was all about Spieth.

Even when he missed the cut in the opening two playoff events, Spieth knew he could atone for it all by winning the Tour Championship. He showed up Monday morning to get to work on the range, and Sunday morning was even more impressive. Spieth arrived three hours before his tee time, dressed in tennis shoes as he went to the practice green.

''Early grind,'' caddie Michael Greller said.

They only do that at the majors, and Spieth approached the Tour Championship that way. Ultimately, that's what finished off his big year.

''This is incredible,'' Spieth said. ''This is an event where we approached it like a major championship. I didn't have a great playoff, but I put a lot into this week. Mentally, I stayed in it. And boy, that putter sure paid off.''

Spieth had made only two bogeys in 58 holes at East Lake until he made two in a row at Nos. 5 and 6 to fall into a share of the lead with Stenson. He three-putted the sixth by hitting his first putt 6 feet by the hole, and he left a long birdie putt on the next hole well short.

''C'mon, buddy, get your speed right,'' Spieth said as he walked off the green.

It was a gentle scolding at just the right time.

Spieth seized control with an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 8, a two-shot swing when Stenson took bogey from the trees and the bunker. The next half-hour was like a highlight reel from Spieth's year on the greens, especially the long birdie putt on the 11th.

''You're feeling like you got a good chance to make up some ground,'' Stenson said. ''But he just poured that one in the middle. It's fun to watch and just say, 'Well done.'''

There really wasn't much else to say.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


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Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, 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.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

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 PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

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 Course 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. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

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.

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Mickelson 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.


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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.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.