Power Rankings: Puerto Rico Open

By Will GrayMarch 4, 2014, 10:46 pm

This week marks the 16th (and 17th) events of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. While many of the game's best tee it up at Trump Doral (our Power Rankings for that event can be viewed here), a full field will tackle another Trump product on the Isle of Enchantment. Trump International Golf Club - Puerto Rico will host the Puerto Rico Open this week, where many players will look to give their season a spark with a high finish.

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Scott Brown returns to defend the title he won last year by one shot over Jordan Spieth. Here are 10 players to watch this week in the Caribbean:

1. Matt Jones: The Aussie has been viewed as a rising star for several months, and this may prove to be his opportunity for a breakthrough win. Jones already has top-15 finishes in Palm Springs and Phoenix this year, two places where low scores were the name of the game. He's comfortable in Puerto Rico, having cracked the top 15 in each of his prior two starts, and was near the lead through two rounds at TPC Scottsdale. Might be able to stay near the top a little longer this week.

2. Chris Stroud: Stroud lost in a playoff last year at the Travelers Championship but has been solid to begin his 2013-14 campaign, notching five top-20 finishes in eight starts this season. That streak includes three top 20s in four starts this year, capped by a T-12 last week at the Honda Classic in which he broke par three times. Tied for 18th in Puerto Rico a year ago.

3. Brooks Koepka: While he's not a PGA Tour member, Koepka is the highest-ranked player in this week's field at No. 70. After climbing the ranks in Europe, Koepka nearly won the Frys.com Open in October and narrowly missed out on a spot in the WGC-Accenture Match Play field last month. This event offers him an opportunity to gain valuable world ranking points - as Spieth did with his runner-up showing a year ago - and potentially earn full-fledged membership with a victory.

4. George McNeill: The 2012 champ was fifth in Puerto Rico the year prior, and now returns to a familiar venue off a pair of top-15 finishes at the Northern Trust Open and Honda Classic. McNeill shot par or better in each round last week at PGA National and now has eight straight rounds of 71 or better.

5. Scott Brown: The defending champ, like McNeill, preceded his win with a fifth-place showing. Brown got off to a strong start this season, with top-five finishes at both the Frys.com Open and McGladrey Classic, but has cooled considerably since then. A return to Puerto Rico might be just what he needs to get his game back on track, though, as he has shot 70 or better in seven of eight competitive rounds at Trump International.

6. Brian Stuard: Stuard notched three straight top-six finishes earlier this season, including a runner-up showing at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba the last time the PGA Tour ventured outside the 50 states. He enters this week off a T-24 at Honda, where he played himself back into the mix with a Saturday 65, and Stuard tied for fourth in this event a year ago.

7. Nicolas Colsaerts: The Belgian Bomber is likely one of the more recognizable names in this week's field, and Colsaerts tied for 19th at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. This will be his first start in Puerto Rico, but Colsaerts possesses the length off the tee to take advantage of Trump International. Should his putter heat up, Colsaerts will likely factor over the weekend.

8. Seung-Yul Noh: The South Korean has been solid so far in 2013-14, making eight straight cuts and cracking the top 30 on three occasions, including a T-10 at Torrey Pines. He tied for 25th at this event in his lone start here in 2012, and last year showed that he can make the most of an opportunity against a somewhat lesser field when he won the third event of the Web.com Tour Finals.

9. David Hearn: The Canadian played well last week, closing with a 3-under 67 to earn a tie for sixth, his best finish on Tour since he lost a playoff at the John Deere Classic in July. Hearn has played in this event twice and finished inside the top 15 both times, with a tie for 14th in 2011 followed by a T-8 result last year. 

10. Emiliano Grillo: The Argentine may not be well-known among American golf circles, but he made headlines earlier this year when he finished second at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic among a field that included Tiger Woods. Grillo also finished fifth at the Joburg Open last month in South Africa, going 63-62 across the second and third rounds. He has the game to go low, and clearly the confidence is brimming of late.

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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.