Doyle Leads A List of Senior Tour Players
The first birdie goes to the classic over-achiever, Allen Doyle.
What hasnt Doyle done? He led the Senior Tour in money won $2,553,582, admittedly with a tournament or two more than most, but still a magnificent feat for a man who, until a few short years ago, never earned much more than $35,000.
He won twice and finished in the top three 10 times. Doyle is an anomaly in that he only wanted to play professional golf to save up so his daughters would be able to go to college. They can go now. In fact, Doyle can buy the college if he wants to. He simply played beautifully in his third season in the Seniors. He won $3.5 million his first two years, $6 million counting this year, and he wont have to worry about the driving range in La Grange, Ga., much longer.
Jim Thorpe is another guy who isnt supposed to be here. But here he is, $1,827,223 richer after 2001. Thorpe won twice, finished second twice, third twice and in the top 10 13 times. He played 35 tournaments, but found time between trips to the casinos to make a very nice living, thank you.
Doug Tewell, Bob Gilder and Dana Quigley also rate Birdies for 2001s. Each finished in the top 10 of the money list, and all appear poised to do it again and again.
Bruce Lietzke and Sammy Rachels are newcomers who get Birdies. Both turned 50 this year and both won two tournaments. Lietzke became a millionaire ($1,119,573) since his 50th birthday in July, while Rachels came from the backwoods of the Florida Panhandle to earn nearly a million ($932,031).
Almost all the top 20 made Pars. Bruce Fleisher was second on the money list with almost $2.5 million, but hes been there the last two years and this has become an average year for him. Hale Irwin, No. 3, had a grandson born this season and traded a little prize money for some time spent with the new family member. Larry Nelson, No. 4, and Gil Morgan, No. 5, have both had better years, though Nelson sparkled with five wins, the most by a longshot on the Senior Tour.
Some of the PGA Tours big names just havent gotten the hang of the elder tour yet. Tom Kite won $1,398,802, good for 10th place, but he gets a Bogey because he can do even better if he gets it all sorted out.
Tom Watson chose not to participate as much as most, and consequently finished 17th on the money list. He teed it up only 13 times and won the PGA Seniors. Dont expect to see much of Watson next year, either, as he has a family of school-age children.
Lanny Wadkins has been a major disappointment, although injuries have been a bugaboo for several years now and he devotes much of his time to his duties as a television commentator. He finished 73rd on the money list while playing 18 times, winning $164,833.
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
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.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
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
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
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.
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."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
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.
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.