Power Rankings: 2015 U.S. Open

By Will GrayJune 16, 2015, 5:01 pm

The 32nd event of the wraparound season is upon us, as the PGA Tour heads to Washington for the U.S. Open. A field of 156 will tackle Chambers Bay, which is hosting a professional event for the first time.

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Martin Kaymer won this event a year ago by eight shots over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton. Here are 10 players to watch outside Seattle:

1. Jordan Spieth: The rankings begin with the reigning Masters champ, who has shown this year that he can contend on seemingly any type of layout. Spieth appears to be in control of all facets of his game and has an extra boost of confidence that comes with winning a green jacket.

2. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama checks off all the boxes: length off the tee, iron precision, strong short game and overall consistency. He hasn't finished outside the top 25 since Torrey Pines, finished T-10 two years ago at Merion and will win again sooner rather than later.

3. Jason Day: The Aussie has hit a rough patch in recent weeks, but his overall game and U.S. Open track record can't be ignored. Three top-five finishes in the past four years, including a pair of runner-up finishes, and Day leads the Tour this season in birdie average.

4. Rory McIlroy: McIlroy is back in action after a rough fortnight in Europe, and he should rebound on a course that more resembles an Open Championship layout. McIlroy won twice just last month and has a pair of top-25 finishes in this event to go along with his runaway victory in 2011.

5. Justin Rose: Rose won this event two years ago, and he probably should have won the Memorial two weeks ago. The Englishman has turned a corner since a slow start to the season, with a win and a pair of runner-up finishes among his last five PGA Tour starts.

6. Rickie Fowler: Fowler has shown this year that his contender status last year in the majors was no fluke. After a breakthrough win at TPC Sawgrass, he played well in Ireland and should feel quite comfortable on the links-style layout in play this week.

7. Bubba Watson: If a course calls for imagination, Watson has to be among the pre-tournament favorites. Few can get more creative with shot shapes than the two-time Masters champ, and he certainly has the length off the tee to take on the course with an aggressive approach.

8. Phil Mickelson: Still in search of the last leg of the career Grand Slam, Mickelson enters with momentum from a T-3 finish in Memphis and will have plenty of options at his disposal around the greens. His game has been inconsistent for a year and a half, but he has finished second in each of the last two majors.

9. Dustin Johnson: Johnson was a surprise withdrawal last week in Memphis, but the bomber will still be a threat this week in Washington. Johnson won earlier this year at Doral, a layout that rewards length off the tee, and has cracked the top 25 three times in the last five years at this event.

10. Brooks Koepka: Koepka appeared on the verge of another win last week at TPC Southwind, but he faded over the weekend. After a T-4 finish last year at Pinehurst, he has the length off the tee and high ball flight to contend once again this time around.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.