Pavin Shoots 64 to Lead Colonial

By George WhiteMay 18, 2001, 4:00 pm
Corey Pavin couldnt help but be happy. A score of 64 at Colonial Country Club Friday had given him the early lead at 8-under-par on the par-70 course. Considering where he was since 1996 ' finishing better than 150th on the money list only once ' that 64 was an awfully good feeling.
 
Yeah, Im very pleased ' very pleased, he said, noting the 64 included eight birdies and two bogeys, one on the final hole. Anytime you make eight birdies at Colonial, thats a good thing. Anytime you make eight birdies anywhere, thats a good thing.
 
Rocco Mediate was in second place after shooting 62 and standing at 6-under, followed by Blaine McCallister, who had a 64 Friday and stands at 5-under. Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk both played later in the afternoon.
 
Pavin ranks last in driving distance on the PGA Tour at a scant 246 yards a try, but he hit both of Colonials par-5s in two whacks. The 41-year-old three-time Ryder Cupper has seen his distance steadily dwindle since 96 ' and he wasnt exactly a gorilla before that. He has returned to Bruce Hamilton, head pro at Camarillo Country Club in California, this year, and he says his distance is slowly but surely getting back to previous levels,
 
Im starting to regain the length that I had been losing the past five years, Pavin said. Ive averaged close to 300 yards the last two days. I think the things that Bruce has been saying is finally starting to kick in.
 
At the same time he was losing distance, Pavin, one of the Tours most accurate putters, was missing at a more frequent clip. When you lose your vaunted short game and you never had much of a long game, that isnt a very good recipe for success.
 
But my putting has really come around this year, he said. I worked with Bruce the first time at AT&T this year, and he got me really rolling it well. Im not sure what the stats show (tie for 11th), but the short game has really improved.
 
Pavin hit a 6-iron ' a 6-iron! ' over the 246-yard fourth hole. He made bogey there, as well as 18, when he hit a tree with his tee shot. He birdied the first three holes of the day, then added another three in a row at nine, 10 and 11. Along the way he made putts of 45 feet, 30 feet and 25 feet.
 
I feel a lot more comfortable on the golf course than I have in a long time. My swing, Id say, is probably better than it ever has been. I hit a lot of quality shots yesterday (when he shot 68), it seemed like I had a lot of eight-and-10 feet putts. I had longer putts today, but I made them, he said.
 
Pavins last win, in 1996, was at Colonial. He also won here in 1985.
 
Obviously just coming back to Colonial helps me, he said. I like this course. My record shows that. When I come back here, I feel more comfortable. This course does that to you.
 
Of course, he has been so far down that he hardly felt comfortable anywhere. Put bad golf together with a failed marriage and a move from Florida back to California, and thats an awfully lot of life changes for one person to absorb.
 
Im playing with so much more confidence now, as opposed to the last five years, said Pavin. Being back with my old coach has really helped.
 
But beginning with 1996, its really been difficult. I do know what its like to be way down. Ive been down long enough to appreciate what the good times were like in 1991 to 1996. It sneaks into your mind (that you wont achieve your previous form), but Ive tried to fight that stuff. I never really got to the point that I wanted to quit or anything. I never gave up on myself. But there were times when you really had to wonder.
 
The hottest group of the day was Mediate and McCallister. Mediate had eight birdies and nary a bogey. McCallister, another one who has struggled of late, made seven birdies and one bogey.
 
All three ' Mediate, McCallister and Pavin ' played in the morning when the weather conditions were benign. But most of Mediates birdies came on long putts ' he made two in the 30-foot range and another five in the 15-foot range.
 
Its really something to shoot a 64 and lose by two to your partner, said a laughing McCallister. I shot a front-side 32 and he shot a 30. I just cant seem to get the limelight by myself.
 
McCallister has missed the cut in eight of his last 10 events. What has he been working on during the drought?
 
My television position, mostly, said McCallister. Gosh, I have had a lot of time off of the weekends. I sit this way, then that way. Ive really been fighting it.
 
Full-field scores from the MasterCard Colonial
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry