Power Rankings: 2015 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayFebruary 3, 2015, 4:23 pm

The PGA Tour heads to the California coast for the Farmers Insurance Open, the 12th event of the wraparound season. A full field of 156 players will tackle the North and South courses at Torrey Pines against one of the Tour's most scenic backdrops.

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Scott Stallings won this event a year ago by one shot over five players, including Graham DeLaet and Jason Day. Here are 10 players to watch in San Diego:

1. Jordan Spieth: Finished a respectable T-7 last week while topping the Phoenix power rankings, and he should have another strong week at Torrey Pines. Spieth played his way into the final group of the third round a year ago, but faded with 75-75 over the weekend to finish T-19. Coming off a strong finish at TPC Scottsdale, not to mention two wins to close 2014, he should improve on that result.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie was a runner-up last year and he also finished T-9 in 2013 when he closed with a 66 on the South Course. Day started the year strong with a T-3 at the winners-only event at Kapalua, and other than a pair of mid-tournament withdrawals he hasn't finished outside the top 20 on Tour since the Open Championship in July.

3. Justin Rose: Rose hasn't played in the U.S. since the Tour Championship, but he comes in off a solid showing in a pair of events during the European Tour's Desert Swing. Rose hasn't played at Torrey Pines since a run of three straight starts from 2010-2012, but he was predictably solid across that stretch: 11 of 12 rounds at par or better, two top 25s and no result worse than T-33.

4. Jimmy Walker: Walker tees it up for the first time since his nine-shot romp at the Sony Open. While he missed the cut unexpectedly last year after playing the first two rounds alongside Tiger Woods, Walker was T-4 at Torrey in 2013 and T-8 the year prior. Factoring in his playoff loss at Kapalua, no one has started 2015 with more momentum than the current FedEx Cup leader.

5. Brooks Koepka: He won last week in his debut at TPC Scottsdale, so there's no reason to think he can't contend in his first trip to Torrey Pines. Koepka has the length off the tee to tame the difficult South Course and create plenty of opportunities on the shorter North Course, and the 24-year-old is not lacking for confidence after his triumph on Sunday.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese phenom has twice worked into contention already in 2015, but both times he has been derailed by a balky putter. Matsuyama tied for 16th last year in his Farmers debut with all four rounds of par or better, and he now has four top-10 finishes to hsi credit already this season, including a trio inside the top three.

7. Bill Haas: Haas won his last start at the Humana Challenge, and his track record at Torrey Pines is sneaky good: six top-20 finishes in 10 starts, including a run of three straight top 10s from 2011-2013 highlighted by a T-4 result in 2012. His tee-to-green consistency pays dividends across both courses at this event, and that trend should continue this week.

8. Justin Thomas: The rookie shows no signs of slowing down. Thomas tied for 17th last week in Phoenix for his fifth straight top-25 finish, a streak that dates back to the Sanderson Farms Championship in November. While the 21-year-old doesn't have much experience on Tour, he does know this event and venue after a surprise T-10 finish in his Farmers debut last year.

9. Brandt Snedeker: Coming off a disappointing end to his 2014 season, Snedeker has now finished T-10 three times already this season, including last week at TPC Scottsdale. While he missed the cut at Torrey Pines last year, he had reeled off four straight top-10 finishes before that, including a win in 2012 and runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2013.

10. Rickie Fowler: Fowler finished in the middle of the pack last week in Phoenix and missed the cut at Torrey Pines last year, but his record in San Diego prior to 2014 is worth note: four straight top-20 finishes, including a T-5 in 2010 and a T-6 in 2013.

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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 Web.com 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.


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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.

@tommyfleetwood_1

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.