Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island

By Erik PetersonApril 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
harbour town
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Most golf resorts begin with a piece of land so beautiful it must have been blessed by the golf gods. An architect’s dream is a piece of land that wasn’t intended for anything but golf.
Such is not the case at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, S.C., host of the PGA Tour’s Verizon Heritage. While it’s long been known as one of the most popular golf destinations in the Southeast, if not for the vision of one man, it might never have come to be.
Golf ChannelTiger's breakdown of Harbour Town
In the 1950s Charles Fraser utilized his Yale law education and a passion for the environment to see opportunity through the dense pine forests that dominated the Hilton Head landscape. Using a section of the island he’d purchased from his father, he put together plans for a high-end residential community. When builders bought into his concept Fraser kept them at bay, enforcing strict housing codes that prohibited any structure from rising above the tree line. Houses were designed to coexist with their natural surroundings.
But you don’t have to be a tree hugger to appreciate Sea Pines’ splendor. The golf is just as well thought out.
Sea PinesVideo tour of Sea Pines Resort
Harbour Town Golf Links is the resort’s main attraction and is one of the longest-standing host sites on the PGA Tour. Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus teamed to design the course, one of only two venues with such a distinction. The course opened in 1969 and immediately earned a spot on the PGA Tour’s schedule – no small feat for an area that barely a decade earlier had a population of about 600.
Aside from the highly photogenic, candy-cane-patterned lighthouse that shines like a beacon behind the 18th green, the course’s defining characteristic is its postage-stamp greens.
In fact, because of its difficulty and emphasis on distance control, there is perhaps no other PGA Tour event with a smaller pool of candidate-winners than the Heritage. Multiple winners at Harbour Town include some of golf’s finest ball-strikers: Payne Stewart, Boo Weekley and Davis Love III.
While some of the long hitters decide to rest and recuperate from the previous week’s driving onslaught at Augusta, the short hitters get a chance to showcase their shot-making skills.
Golf courses on Hilton Head

More info on Sea Pines Resort

At 6,973 yards Harbour Town is one of the shortest layouts on the PGA Tour, but it has withstood the test of time with careful design and unique risk-reward opportunity. Like most great golf courses the back nine at Harbour Town is where the rubber meets the road.
No. 13 – Par 4 373 yards
It doesn’t appear tough on paper, but two precise shots are required or else bogey beckons. The green is protected by a massive bunker with road ties as walls, so shots astray can be deflected violently. With the possibility of birdie about equal to that of double or even triple bogey, the tide can turn quickly at this unique and diabolical short par 4.
No. 15 – Par 5 571 yards
Great par 5s give players options and this hole is no exception. If you can hit it long down the right side you’ll have a chance to get there in two, but a sharp dogleg left into the green will snare any less-than-perfect shot. When a 571-yard par-5 plays as a strategic three-shotter for most Tour players you know it must be tough.
No. 17 – Par 3 185 yards
The first hole to expose players to the unpredictable winds off Calibogue Sound comes near the end of the round. Strategy for this hole depends entirely on the wind. PGA Tour players have hit as much as 3-wood and as little as 9-iron here.
No. 18 – Par 4 452 yards
The home hole at Harbour Town is no doubt its signature. It also happens to be one of the most photographed holes in all of golf. Players are confined to tight driving lanes all day but at No. 18 the 80-yard-wide fairway is the exception to the rule. Conveniently and perhaps not accidentally, the lighthouse is the preferred aiming point off the tee. Hitting the fairway is the easy part, though, as the unpredictable wind off Calibogue Sound makes the final approach very intimidating.

Where to play
Beyond Harbour Town Golf Links there are two other courses within Sea Pines Resort: Heron Point by Pete Dye, and the Ocean Course, the first course built on Hilton Head Island. It recently underwent a redesign by Mark McCumber.
Where to stay
The Inn at Harbour Town – Everything in this quaint, 60-room hotel has an authentic European feel, from the greeter at the front door who’s clad in Scottish garb to the British accents of the concierge. Rooms have views of the Harbour Town Golf Links.
Homes & Villas – If you’re traveling with family or golf buddies, this is the option for you. There are three levels of accommodations to meet your financial preference. The homes and villas are scattered throughout the resort in five different locations. Visit for more info and special prices.
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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.