Power Rankings: 2015 Shell Houston Open

By Will GrayMarch 30, 2015, 6:54 pm

The PGA Tour concludes a two-week stint in Texas with the Shell Houston Open, the 21st event of the wraparound season. A field of 144 will tackle the Golf Club of Houston this week, where the winner will receive the last spot in the Masters.

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Matt Jones won this event a year ago in a playoff over Matt Kuchar. Here are 10 players to watch in Humble:

1. Jordan Spieth: At No. 4 in the world, Spieth is the highest-ranked player in this week's field, and he arrives in Houston with plenty of momentum. He followed his Tampa win with a runner-up finish last week in San Antonio, and his game appears to be peaking just in time for the Masters.

2. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar probably should have won this event last year, where a 72nd-hole bogey dropped him into a playoff with eventual winner Matt Jones. He also finished T-8 in both 2010 and 2011 and returns off a T-15 finish at Valero, his seventh top-25 finish of the season.

3. Patrick Reed: Reed won earlier this year in Hawaii and lost in a playoff in Tampa in his most recent start. While his Houston record includes only a missed cut in 2013, he is eighth on Tour in total strokes gained and has six top-25 finishes in nine starts this season.

4. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard returns to Houston, where he held the 36-hole lead and finished T-3 a year ago. His best result this season came at Riviera, where he narrowly missed out on a playoff, though he was in the mix at Doral in his last start before fading on Sunday.

5. Lee Westwood: A quietly good start for the Englishman this season: six starts, all top-25 finishes, including a T-12 result at Doral and T-17 in Tampa the following week. Westwood knows his way around this course as well, with five top-25 finishes in Houston since 2009.

6. J.B. Holmes: Holmes is having a career year despite a missed cut at Bay Hill, and he has found past success in Houston. A runner-up in 2009, he was also T-8 in 2012 and finished T-12 last year. His last five starts include four top-25 finishes and a pair of runner-ups.

7. Phil Mickelson: Lefty faded over the weekend in San Antonio, but he still showed signs of life with a T-30 finish. This is usually an event where he picks up steam, with four straight top-20 finishes dating back to his win in 2011.

8. Jason Kokrak: The veteran is in the midst of a strong run, with three straight top-15 finishes on three very different layouts (Innisbrook, Bay Hill, TPC San Antonio). Kokrak finished ninth in Houston two years ago and now ranks inside the top 30 in both scoring average and the all-around ranking.

9. Louis Oosthuizen: After an injury-plagued season, Oosthuizen now has five top-10 finishes in his last six worldwide starts dating back to November, including a T-9 finish at Bay Hill. Before last year's missed cut, he had three straight top-20 finishes in Houston highlighted by a third-place showing in 2012.

10. Ryan Moore: Moore won earlier this season in Malaysia and he has continued the momentum since the calendar flipped to 2015, with five top-25 finishes in six starts highlighted by his fifth-place showing at Doral in his most recent start. Moore is making just his fourth start in Houston, but he did finish T-11 in 2009.

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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.

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.