Woods jumps out to the lead at Quail Hollow

By Doug FergusonApril 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. ' The Masters is over. The Tiger & Phil show might just be getting started.
 
Tiger Woods matched the course record with a 30 on the front nine, where he closed with three straight birdies Thursday morning to finish off a 7-under 65 at the Quail Hollow Championship. Phil Mickelson followed in the afternoon by chipping in for eagle and making a remarkable par save from under a video board for a 5-under 67 that put him in a tie for second.
 
They did not play together, as was the case three weeks ago in an electric final-round pairing at Augusta National. But on a warm and breezy afternoon in Carolina, it seemed as though they were never far apart.
Phil Mickelson chased Tiger Woods Thursday to get within two shots of the lead. (Getty Images)
A few fans taunted Woods early in his round, calling out, Lets go, Phil! as he walked by.
 
Mickelson couldnt escape a familiar name even as he lumbered to the finish, as fans called out, Youre only two shots behind Tiger!
 
Its only one round, Mickelson said. Theres a lot of golf left.
 
Even so, the Quail Hollow Championship served up quite an appetizer on a course that even was reminiscent of Augusta with virtually no rough and slick greens.
 
The emphasis was not accuracy off the tee as much as wizardry with the short game, and both players were up to the task.
 
Woods was plodding along the back nine, failing to birdie either of the par 5s, until he ran off six birdies and two splendid par saves on the front nine. After twice putting himself in tough positions, he hit a low pitch out of a swale on the second hole to a foot, then hit another wedge that stopped a few inches next to the cup on the fourth.
 
I hit a couple of loose shots here and there, but I really putted well, Woods said. I had a couple of key saves ' made a nice little up-and-down at 2 and just a really good save at 4 that kept the round going. Its always nice when you birdie the last three.
 
For Mickelson, it was sweet to finish with a par.
 
From a fairway bunker on the par-4 18th, he wanted to lay up short of the green but pulled his shot while trying to avoid a creek that runs down the left side. The ball went under a large video board, and Mickelson took his free drop on a slope of grass above the cart path.
 
Then came a wedge that spun just enough to stop 2 feet away.
 
Its nice to finish with a par, he said. I ended up playing a good round.
 
Steve Marino, who gave himself a chance at winning last week in New Orleans, and Robert Allenby also opened with a 67. The group another shot back included two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, Hunter Mahan, Jeff Maggert and Lucas Glover.
 
Masters champion Angel Cabrera opened with a 70, along with defending champion Anthony Kim.
 
More than half of the 156-man field shot par or better at Quail Hollow, a course given a new look for this tournament. Instead of deep rough, theres a uniform cut of 2 inches that allowed players a chance to attack the greens.
 
Trouble was, the greens were firm and fast, making it difficult and at times dangerous to get it close to the hole.
 
Its playable, Woods said. The only thing is, itll bait you into being more aggressive into some of these flags. Youve just got to be careful on that.
 
Mickelson called it the best setup he has ever seen, no surprise coming from a guy who tends who spend a lot of time off the fairway.
 
I think the fans are enjoying the recovery shot, which is the most exciting shot in golf, Mickelson said. Were having a bunch of recovery shots ' at least I am ' from the trees and so forth. I think that makes for exciting golf.
 
Mickelson picked up a routine two-putt birdie on the fifth, then a deft chip from just short of the seventh green fell for eagle. But his momentum slowed, and he finished with seven straight pars.
 
Woods, who finished one shot behind Mickelson at Augusta, became the fifth player to shoot 30 on the front nine at Quail Hollow. Hed not been leading after a round since Saturday at the U.S. Open last summer, and while he got off to a bogey-free start, his record is not all that daunting when leading after the first round ' 13-10 on the PGA Tour.
 
But it got at least one players attention.
 
If you want to win, youve got to be on top when its done, Glover said. And it just got a lot harder since he decided to play good on a Thursday.
 
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''