Emotional Victory for Rankin

By Futures Tour MediaMay 25, 2003, 4:00 pm
Futures TourMERRILLVILLE, Ind. -- A sterile hospital room was the setting nearly four years ago when Reilley Rankin and good pals Courtney Swaim and Anne Hutto sat together with frightened tears in their eyes. Rankin rested before them in a hospital bed with broken bones ' a fallen All-American from the University of Georgia whose summertime plunge into a lake off a 67-foot-high rock precipice resulted in broken vertebrae and bruised vital organs.
Swaim and Hutto, who both played golf at Auburn University, pulled their friend from the water of Alabamas Lake Martin and gunned their boat to shore for help. It was a 20-minute boat ride for the young woman in severe pain. And it was a horrifying day ' a day when youth met mortality and stared it down.
And so it was more than ironic that the three friends just happened to be together today when Rankin -- once told she would never play golf again -- won her first professional golf tournament at the Northwest Indiana Futures Golf Classic presented by The Horseshoe Casino. The second-year player from Hilton Head Island, S.C. fired a final-round 70 at Innsbrook Country Club and survived a two-hole playoff against Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, who posted a 69 to tie Rankin at 211 (-5).
'Its been a long road,' said Rankin, choking back tears on the 18th green as fellow Futures Tour player Swaim, of Duluth, Ga., and Hutto, a recent Auburn graduate, watched the awards ceremony. 'I just feel very fortunate to even be able to play golf again.'
Rankin showed incredible poise against hard-charging Moon, who won earlier this season, and Ju Kim of Seoul, Korea, who was tied for the lead until she took bogey at the 18th hole with a chip and a missed par-saving putt from 12 feet. Kim finished third at 212 (-4) with a 1-over 73.
But Rankin didnt wait for others to fall off the pace. She chipped away at the lead all day when she birdied the fifth hole, saved par from 20 feet on the seventh, then made the nine-hole turn sharing the lead with Kim and Isabelle Beisiegel of Norman, Okla. But Beisiegel bogeyed twice on the back nine and fell to fourth place at 213 (-3) with a 75. As Kim dropped out of the sudden-death playoff at the 18th green, Moon and Rankin replayed the last hole twice.
'Reilley never got flustered and she played smart,' said caddie Danny Huber, a friend of Rankins family who has caddied for 22 years for such PGA Tour pros as Billy Mayfair and Lee Janzen. 'She was not going to be denied this week.'
Moon and Rankin both recorded par on the first playoff hole, with Rankin two-putting from 20 feet and Moon getting up and down for par from 16 feet. On the next visit to the 18th green, Rankins approach landed 15 feet to the right of the hole, which she two putted for par. Moons approach landed 60 feet below the hole on the front of the green and her first putt stopped eight feet short. Her par attempt spun out, leaving a tap-in putt for bogey and giving Rankin her first professional paycheck worth $9,100 in the $65,000 event.
Wearing her red and black Georgia team colors, Rankin looked right at her friends standing greenside and raised her arms. Then the tears came all over again, one week shy of four years from the day she thought her golf had ended.
'Reilleys had to battle a lot more than most people and shes gone through a lot of pain and suffering,' said Swaim, who missed the two-day cut. 'But shes incredibly driven and incredibly talented. That makes a great combination. Shes just a special person.'
And with her victory, Rankin moved closer toward her dream of someday playing on the LPGA Tour. She jumped from 17th to fourth on the Futures Tour money list with earnings of $17,410 in seven events. But most importantly were the answers to the questions she had asked herself that day in the boat speeding toward the shore.
'I asked myself if I was going to live,' said Rankin quietly. 'And I asked if I was going to be able to play golf again. I know the only reason Im here is my passion for this. I was determined to see this through. Believe me, Im grateful for every opportunity I have.'
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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.

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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 hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked 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.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

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 the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

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 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. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

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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Phil 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.