Expert Picks: Tampa Bay Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 12, 2013, 8:42 pm

This week the PGA Tour heads to Tampa, where the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort will host the Tampa Bay Championship. in two different directions. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new 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 will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Luke Donald: The defending champion wasn't at his best at Doral, and he plans to meet with swing coach Pat Goss in search of a fix this week. But it wasn't Donald's swing that landed him the title in 2012, it was his putting (107 total putts).

Group 2: Martin Kaymer: The former world No. 1 said at the beginning of the season he's ready to take another run at the top spot, and he seems to be finding his old form following top-10 finishes in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and at the WGC Match Play.

Group 3: Martin Laird: The Scot is off to a slow start in 2013, but he's played well at Innisbrook in the past (T-5 in 2011) and he has played some of his best golf in Florida.

Group 4: John Daly: Because you can never write Daly off completely, not with his freakish combination of power and touch. He showed more consistency last week in Puerto Rico (70-70-70-69) than he has in some time.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Jim Furyk: He's the last player listed in Group 1, but he's certainly not an underdog at Innisbrook. Furyk won the event in 2010, lost in sudden death last year and also has a T-13 finish on his Copperhead resume these last three years. This is only the fifth start for Furyk this season, but he has two top 20s and hasn't finished worse than T-35. He's fifth on Tour in driving accuracy and ninth in three-putt avoidance.

Group 2: Scott Piercy: He's been really hot in 2013, with five top-25 finishes including a third-place showing in Phoenix. Against a strong field last week at Doral, he co-led in total driving and was 15th in strokes gained putting. He tied for fifth here a year ago with a 62 on Sunday.

Group 3: Kevin Streelman: He comes in off a missed cut in Puerto Rico, but I'm looking past that and focusing on the five pretty decent paychecks he's made this year, the biggest being from his tie for 10th at the Humana Challenge. He also finished T-10 at the Tampa Bay Championship a year ago.

Group 4: Erik Compton: The Florida native has looked good this year, racking up top 25s in half of his six starts. His best was in the Sunshine State at the Honda Classic a couple weeks ago. He tied for fourth, a career-best finish, which he concluded with an even-par 70 on Sunday, one of only four players to post four rounds of par or better that week.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Jim Furyk: Perfect course for this past winner here to bust out in 2013.

Group 2: Michael Thompson: The guy's on a roll through the state of Florida, and his confidence is high.

Group 3: Martin Laird: Memory of a strong finish here two years ago (T-5) will help the Scot's mojo.

Group 4: Boo Weekley: Still a terrific ball-striker, and the putter is coming around.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Adam Scott: Coming off a torrid final round at Doral, expect him to keep it up this week.

Group 2: Geoff Ogilvy: Nearly broke through for a win two weeks ago; his long-awaited next W could happen soon.

Group 3: Ted Potter, Jr.: Florida legend from Ocala who knows what it takes to play these courses well.

Group 4: Ben Kohles: From Henley to Guthrie to Langley to Spieth to Uihlein, the kids have been alright. Time for Kohles to get his turn in the spotlight.

Getty Images

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.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.

Getty Images

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.

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.