Stat attack!: Quicken Loans National review

By John AntoniniJune 30, 2014, 2:19 am

Justin Rose is second on the PGA Tour in bounce-back percentage, but his comeback victory at the Quicken Loans National was his biggest bounce back of the year – even though he only followed a bogey or worse with a birdie or better one time last week.

Rose opened with a 74 at Congressional – including a front-nine 40. It was the worst first-round score for a winner this year and just the seventh time since 2000 that a player opened with a 74 or worse in a PGA Tour event and went on to win.

 Score Player Tournament To par
 75 Mark Calcavecchia 2007 Tampa +4
 74 Justin Rose 2014 Quicken Loans +3
 74 Vijay Singh 2004 Houston +2
 74 Stuart Appleby 2005 T of C +1
 74 Phil Mickelson 2005 BellSouth +2
 74 Tiger Woods 2005 Masters +2
 74 Padraig Harrington 2008 British Open +4

After the 3-over start, Rose shot 65 Friday and followed with rounds of 71-70 on the weekend to finish tied with Shawn Stefani at 4-under 280. Rose won on the first playoff hole after Stefani hit his approach into a greenside pond. Interestingly, Stefani also opened with a 74 last week, and six of the seven players who were in the top five began their week with over-par rounds.

Comeback kings: Quicken Loans leaders after round one

 Finish Player First round Final score Pos. after day one
 1 Justin Rose 74/+3 280/-4 T-83
 2 Shawn Stefani 74/+3 280/-4 T-83
 T-3 Charley Hoffman 72/+1 281/-3 T-43
 T-3 Ben Martin 72/+1 281/-3 T-43
 T-5 Andres Romero 70/-1 282/-2 T-16
 T-5 Brendan Steele 74/+3 282/-2 T-83
 T-5 Brendon Todd 72/+1 282/-2 T-43

Rose (and Stefani) trailed first-round leader Greg Chalmers by eight strokes after he opened the week with a five-under 66. This was the fourth time in the last three years that the winning score in relation to par was worse than that put up by the first-round leader. Rose has been involved in two of those occassions, with his win at the 2013 U.S. Open also meeting this requirement.

PGA Tour events where the winner’s score was worse than the first-round leader’s score: 2012-2014

 Tournament First-round score Winner's score Champion
 2014 Quicken Loans -5 -4 Justin Rose
 2013 British Open -5 -3 Phil Mickelson
 2013 U.S. Open -3 +1 Justin Rose
 2012 U.S. Open -3 +1 Webb Simpson

This was Rose’s first win since the U.S. Open and it came on another major venue, Congressional, host of the 2011 national championship won by Rory McIlroy. Rose missed the cut at that Open (again opening with a 74), and if his victory Sunday was somewhat of a surprise it’s because he hadn’t played Congo since that missed cut. He skipped the National the last two years even though he won the tournament in 2010 when it was held at Aronimink GC in Pennsylvania. Rose is one of six players who have won in 2013-14 despite skipping the tournament the previous two years. He is also one of seven active players who have won the same current PGA Tour event (not a major or a WGC) on two different courses.

PGA Tour winners in 2014 who didn’t play that event the previous two years

 Player Tournament Last played
 Justin Rose Quicken Loans 2011
 Adam Scott Colonial 2011
 Webb Simpson Las Vegas 2010
 Harris English Mayakoba Never
 Chesson Hadley Puerto Rico Never
 Patrick Reed WGC-Cadillac Never

Active players who have won the same current PGA Tour event on two different courses*

 Player Tournament First course Second course
 Justin Rose Quicken Loans 2010 Aronimink 2014 Congressional
 Tiger Woods Tournament of Champions 1997 LaCosta 2000 Kapalua
 Vijay Singh Shell Houston Open 2002 TPC Woodlands 2004-05 Redstone
 Stuart Appleby Shell Houston Open 1999 TPC Woodlands 2006 Redstone
 Jim Furyk Canadian Open 2006 Hamilton 2007 Angus Glen
 Vijay Singh Barclays 93-95-06 Westchester 2008 Ridgewood
 Tiger Woods Tour Championship 1999 Champions 2007 East Lake

Rose becomes the second major champion from 2013 to win this season, following Adam Scott, who won the Crowne Plaza at Colonial.

How the 2013 major champions have fared in 2014

 Player Starts Cuts made Best Top 10s Points rank Money rank
10 10 Won Colonial 6 13 13


13 11 Won Quicken Loans 6 12 9
15 11 T-11 FedEx, Wells Fargo 0 89 88
14 11 Second Colonial 4 44 42

In his last seven starts, the South African-born Englishman has made six cuts and finished no worse than T-14. He has moved from 75th on the FedEx Cup standings to 12th, and from 57th on the money list to ninth.

Justin Rose on the PGA Tour since the Masters

 Tournament Finish Scores Earnings
 Masters T-14 76-70-69-74—289 $148,500
 Zurich Classic T-8 71-67-69-68—275 197,200
 Wells Fargo 5 69-67-71-71—278 276,000
 Players T-4 67-71-71-69—278 440,000
 Memorial MC 73-72—145  
 U.S. Open T-12 72-69-70-72—283 156,679
 Quicken Loans Won 74-65-71-70—280 1,170,000

But why shouldn't Rose be playing his best golf of the season? It's his time of year. He might have started his hot streak a bit earlier in 2014, but late spring/early summer is when Rose blooms. He had two previous June victories, at the Memorial in 2010 and the Open in 2013. His win at the 2010 National came on July 4. He’s also come close to winning several other times in this portion of the calendar with a runner-up at the 2008 Memorial, and a third in Hartford in 2005, both of which he was leading after three rounds. Here’s how Rose has fared at the PGA Tour events that currently end in June. He was won 26.5 percent of his career earnings at these tournaments.

Justin Rose in the PGA Tour events that currently end in June

 Tournament Starts Top-10 Best Earnings
 Memorial 10 5 Won, 2010 $2,198,620
 St. Jude 0 0   0
 U.S. Open 9 3 Won, 2013 $2,023,054
 Travelers 8 3 Third, 2005 $788,902
 Quicken Loans 5 2 Won, 2010, 2014 $2,511,620
 Total 32 13 Four wins $7,522,196

There is no truth to the rumor that Rose is petitioning Augusta National to have them switch the Masters to the week before the U.S. Open. But we wouldn't blame him if he tried.


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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.