Spieth fires 64, leads Masters by three strokes

By Ryan Reiterman April 9, 2015, 11:20 pm

Jordan Spieth was a popular pick to win the Masters, and he didn't disappoint Thursday, but there are plenty of heavy hitters chasing him after Round 1 at Augusta National.

Leaderboard: Jordan Spieth (-8), Jason Day (-5), Ernie Els (-5), Justin Rose (-5), Charley Hoffman (-5)

What it means: Spieth has been on fire this season. In his last three starts he won the Valspar, finished second in San Antonio and lost in a playoff in Houston. He continued that good play in Round 1 with nine birdies and one bogey to open a three-shot lead. But don't hand Spieth his first major title yet. Only three players since 1980 – Trevor Immelman (2008), Ben Crenshaw (1984) and Seve Ballesteros (1980) – have gone on to win after holding the lead or co-leading after the first round.

Round of the day: Spieth got hot early and never looked back. He birdied Nos. 2 and 4 and made the turn with three more on Nos. 8, 9 and 10. After a par on 11, the 21-year-old Texan made plenty of noise in Amen Corner with circles on 12 and 13, and then on the par-4 14th he hit a ridiculous recovery shot from the trees that ricocheted off the flagstick for another. His only blemish came on the par-5 15th, but Spieth closed with a birdie on 18. Despite a T-2 finish last year, Thursday's 64 was his first round in the 60s at Augusta.

Best of the rest: Take your pick of big names and chances are they're in contention. Major champions Els and Rose are three back, along with Day, who won earlier this year at Torrey Pines and has seven top-10s in the majors. Sergio Garcia is at 4 under par. Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson lead a large group at 2 under. And world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, in search of his third consecutive major and the career Grand Slam, rallied for a 1-under 71. He has plenty of company, including defending champion Bubba Watson, 65-year-old Tom Watson, Graeme McDowell, Hideki Matsuyama and Keegan Bradley.

Biggest disappointment: J.B. Holmes has two second-place finishes and a win in Houston this season, but he likely won't be adding a green jacket to his closet after shooting a 4-over 76. Reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer also shot 76 to continue his poor record at Augusta.

Main storyline heading into Round 2: McIlroy fought hard to stay in the mix and will be looking to move into contention heading into the weekend, but Tiger Woods will again be under the microscope. The current world No. 111 shot a 1-over 73, a respectable score considering the last time he played in public he shot an embarrassing 82 in Phoenix and then withdrew the following week from Torrey Pines with a back injury. But Woods finds himself in need of a low round to have any chance of winning his first green jacket in 10 years.

Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

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.

Getty Images

Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

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

Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

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.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

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.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.