Rejuvenated Pavin Takes Colonial Lead With 64
Yes, he led that tournament, just as he leads this one. And forget for a moment that he wound up in a tie for 11th after a third-round 74. It is good, he says, to be back.
His score of 8-under-par 132 is one better than first-round co-leader Phil Mickelson, who shot a 68 Friday and Brett Quigley, who matched Pavin's 64.
Considering where Pavin has been since 1996 ' finishing better than 150th on the money list only once ' that 64 was an awfully good feeling.
Yeah, Im 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 had the days low score, shooting 62 and standing at 6-under. But Pavin was the subject of all the conversation Friday. Colonial was the last tournament he won ' in 96 ' and he also won in 1985. That was when he was still one of the premiere players in golf.
Pavin ranks 180th and 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, and the 11th is a major-league whack of 609 yards. 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.
Just being back on these grounds is enough to inspire Pavin to do things he could only imagine.
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 a 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 playing partner Blaine 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
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.
The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.
There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18