Lee wins Greenbrier Classic in four-way playoff

By Nick MentaJuly 5, 2015, 10:19 pm

Danny Lee shot 67 in regulation and made birdie on both extra holes to win a four-man playoff at The Greenbrier Classic over David Hearn, Robert Streb and Kevin Kisner. Here’s what happened in overtime at the Old White TPC.

Leaderboard: Lee (-13), Hearn (-13), Streb (-13), Kisner (-13)

What it means: This is the first PGA Tour victory for Lee, 24, who won the 2008 U.S. Amateur at the age of 18. His best previous result was a second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open – opposite the WGC at Doral – last year. Lee shot 67 in regulation, making four birdies and dropping just one shot. Putting from roughly the same spot he missed from in regulation, Lee made his birdie putt on the first extra hole and was matched by Hearn. His two-putt par on the par-5 17th was enough to win after Hearn got himself in trouble and made bogey. In addition to the trophy and the $1.2 million, the win qualifies Lee for the Open Championship at St. Andrews

Best of the rest: Four back to start the day, Kisner made seven birdies against a lone bogey to shoot 6-under 64 and be the first to post 13 under. He was eliminated on the first playoff hole when he missed the green long, chunked two chips from heavy rough and finally put his fourth shot on the green. This is his third playoff loss this year following close calls at the RBC Heritage and The Players. Just 1 under at the turn, Streb accidentally broke his putter on the ninth green, tossing it in the direction of his bag. Forced to putt the back nine with his 56-degree wedge, Streb made five birdies against a lone bogey to close in 4-under 32 and join the playoff. He, like Kisner, missed the green long on the first playoff hole and was eliminated. Even par at the turn, Hearn played a spotless back nine, carding three birdies to finish with a 3-under 67. After halving the first playoff, Hearn missed the fairway at 17 and punched out into the heavy rough on the lip of a fairway bunker. After another pitch out, his near-perfect fourth shot flew a yard too long, trickled off the green and then down a hill, ending his chances. This is the second time Hearn has lost in a playoff; he was on the wrong end of Jordan Spieth's first Tour victory at the John Deere in 2013. A consolation prize, the tie for second qualifies Hearn for the Open Championship.

Round of the day: Russell Henley turned in a 7-under 63, making nine birdies against two bogeys. The low round vaulted him 30 spots into solo fifth at 12 under, one shot out of the playoff.

Biggest disappointment: Justin Thomas held the lead by himself at 13 under through eight holes – and then imploded. The 22-year-old bogeyed No. 9 and double bogeyed No. 10 thanks to a four-putt from 16 feet. He went on to bogey No. 13 and quadruple bogey No. 16 after hitting two balls in the water. He played his final 10 holes eight under to shoot 5-over 75 and finish in a tie for 54th at 5 under. Also of note, none of the for 54-hole leaders – Bryce Molder (70), Jason Bohn (71), Sean O’Hair (71) and S.J. Park (75) – broke par Sunday.

Shot of the day: Really, any one of Streb's five back-nine birdies while putting with his wedge.

Quote of the day: “The head went flying and I was like, ‘Uh oh.’” – Streb

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.