Expert Picks: FedEx St. Jude Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 5, 2013, 1:20 pm

The PGA Tour heads to Memphis this week for the Fedex St. Jude Classic. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They are joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Brandt Snedeker: He’s top 10 on Tour in virtually every significant statistical category, including top-10s (six). Has top-30s in his last two starts at TPC Southwind and knows he needs another good showing before next week’s Open.

Group 2: Scott Stallings: Arrives in Memphis on the strength of consecutive T-4 finishes, and he’s motivated to get to Merion after narrowly missing in the sectional qualifier.

Group 3: Robert Karlsson: Has lost in a playoff here twice in the last three years, and he’s made three of his last four cuts, including a T-4 in Charlotte.

Group 4: Brandt Jobe: Not much to go on in this group, so take the guy who has made his last two cuts, with five of his last eight rounds under par.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Fredrik Jacobson: On a course where hitting greens in regulation is at a premium, give me the guy who can get up and down from anywhere.

Group 2: Scott Stallings: His last few Sunday rounds have shown that he can make birdies in bunches when it matters the most.

Group 3: Robert Karlsson: Finally back from last year’s swing yips, qualifying for the U.S. Open on Monday should have him brimming with confidence.

Group 4: Doug LaBelle II: Another sectional qualifier, LaBelle tends to run hot and cold, so strike right now while his irons are hot.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Brandt Snedeker: Ready to get back on another hot run.

Group 2: Charles Howell III: Like those five top-10s this year.

Group 3: Brian Harman: Liked that T-10 at Wells Fargo a little more than a month ago.

Group 4: Doug LaBelle II: Making a lot of cuts, now comes the big paycheck.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Brandt SnedekerThe world No. 6 finally has a handle on the health issues that have slowed him this season and he is confident despite that second-round 80 at the Memorial.

Group 2: George Coetzee: Motivated to earn a spot on International Presidents Cup captain Nick Price’s team, but he needs a hot summer and Memphis is a good place to start.

Group 3: James Hahn: Although he has struggled since the Tour left the West Coast, he was solid at Monday’s U.S. Open qualifier where he earned a spot at Merion.

Group 4: Bobby Gates: Dustin Johnson proved last year that distance counts in Memphis, and Gates is one of the Tour’s longest (he’s 30th in driving distance).

Win McMurry

Group 1: Brandt SnedekerThe Tennessean has had a strong year with half a dozen top 10s and will continue to ride that momentum at this FedEx event after winning the FedEx Cup last season.

Group 2: Charles Howell III: He's been a top-25 machine this season and finished inside the top 10 here as recently as 2011.

Group 3: Robert Karlsson: He's knocked on the door here in the past with playoff losses in 2010 and 2011 and not long ago finished T-4 at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Group 4: Henrik Norlander: This Swede has been on a roll recently making the cut in seven consecutive events. He keeps it going here in Memphis.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.