Park leads Ko, Piller entering final round at Olympics

By Nick MentaAugust 19, 2016, 7:30 pm

After a third-round, 1-under 70, Inbee Park will take a two-shot lead over Lydia Ko and Gerina Piller into the final round of women's Olympic competition. Here's where things stand through 54 holes in Rio:

Leaderboard: Park (-11), Ko (-9), Piller (-9), Shanshan Feng (-8), Charley Hull (-5), Amy Yang (-5), In Gee Chun (-5)

What it means: Park is 18 holes from winning the first gold medal awarded for women's golf since 1900. Up one to start the day, she stretched her lead to three with a trio of early birdies but fell back into a tie with Piller, at 10 under, when she played a nine-hole stretch, Nos. 6-14, 3 over. But a Piller bogey at 18 and a birdie-birdie-bogey finish for Park have the latter up two heading into Sunday. With her future uncertain, this would be a fitting addition to the closing chapter of Park's career after she struggled through injury to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame earlier this year. The seven-time major champion and former world No. 1 has already won four of the LPGA's five current major titles, and gold would put her in rarefied air. Perhaps the biggest challenge on Saturday will come from the apparent heir to her throne, Ko, the 20-year-old current No. 1 who's already claimed two majors and the LPGA's Race to the CME Globe. Park and Ko will be joined in the final group by Piller, last year's Solheim Cup hero who posted 3-under 68 and remains in search of her first individual win.


Third-round highlights at the Rio Olympics

Olympic golf coverage: Articles, photos and videos


Round of the day: After a sluggish first two days, Ko raced up the leaderboard with a bogey-free 6-under 65. She turned in 6-under 29 thanks to four birdies and the first hole-in-one of her life at the par-3 eighth. After the red-hot start, Ko battled stiff winds on the back nine to close with nine straight pars and position herself in contention.

Best of the rest:Australia's Su Oh made seven birdies, six on the front nine, for a 5-under 66. She sits tied for 10th at 4 under for the week, five shots back in the race for bronze.

Biggest disappointment: Charley Hull (74), Brooke Henderson (75), and Stacy Lewis (76) all started the day within two shots of the lead and all failed to break par. They now sit 5 under, 4 under and 4 under, respectively, through 54 holes. Separately, Denmark's Nicole Broch Larsen went from 7 under through 36 holes to 3 over through 54 after a round of 10-over 81, complete with eight bogeys and a quad. Finally, first-round leader Ariya Jutanugarn withdrew after 13 holes, citing a knee injury. The reigning British Women's Open champion carded three bogeys, two doubles and three triples and was 12 over for the day when she called it quits.

Shot of the day: At 20 years old, Ko finally made the first ace of her life when she holed out from 140 yards at the eighth. Click here to check it out.

Not to be forgotten, China's Xiyu Lin made the first hole-in-one in women's Olympic golf history, also at the eighth hole and shortly before Ko.

That makes three aces at the eighth in these Olympics: Ko, Lin and, for the men, South Africa's Jaco Van Zyl. Justin Rose made one on the fourth hole.

Quote of the day:"I haven't been very lucky with hole-in-ones. ... I didn't really expect it to go in, but when it finally dropped, I thought was going to cry almost, you know cry from happiness." - Ko

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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.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.