Goggin Rd 1 Leader at The Memorial

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 The Memorial TournamentJack Nicklaus always envisioned the Memorial as a northern version of the Masters, from the superb course conditions to super slick greens, from caddies wearing white coveralls to grounds so immaculate that nary a cigarette butt is to be found.
 
He got his wish Thursday, especially with the greens.
 
Matthew Goggin spent as little time on them as possible, taking only nine putts over his final nine holes on his way to a 7-under 65 and a one-shot lead over Jerry Kelly and two-time Memorial champion Kenny Perry.
 
Goggin holed out a bunker shot for birdie on the par-3 fourth, then ended his round with a 12-footer for par from off the green, giving him only 22 putts for his round. Perry found the right speed and ran off six straight birdies on his way to a 66, also taking 22 putts. Kelly birdied four of his last six holes.
 
Most everyone else hung on for dear life.
 
Shaun Micheel had a 55-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that traveled 35 yards back into the fairway. Boo Weekley watched a wedge land near the hole at the par-5 11th, only to spin back to the front of the green, off the green and into the creek for a triple bogey.
 
The greens are the best greens Ive ever putted on anywhere in the world, Robert Allenby said after a 69. You can take Royal Melbourne, you take Augusta these are the best.
 
Perry could not have agreed more.
 
The two-time Memorial champion, who twice has given himself a chance to win this month, knocked in an 8-foot birdie on No. 11, and his next five birdies were holed from 18 feet or longer, a streak that ended on No. 17.
 
I was shocked when the one on 17 didnt go in, Perry said. Awesome day, though.
 
The greens rolled as true as a billiards table, and some players said they were the fastest they have seen all year, including that tournament at Augusta National last month. That was largely a product of spectacular weather at Muirfield Village, a rarity.
 
The greens are so fast, you cant believe it, Brett Quigley said after his 67, which included five straight birdies to close out his front nine. The whole day, youre playing defensive, even on uphill putts.
 
Phil Mickelson, coming off a victory at the Colonial, had a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 9 that went 12 feet by an onto the fringe, leading to a final bogey and an even-par 72.
 
The speed is quick, obviously, he said. Some putts are very tough, obviously.
 
Mickelson got an early glimpse of the speed on his opening hole, when he faced a bunker shot left of the green. Sergio Garcia was marking his ball some 20 feet left of the flag when Mickelson motioned that he was aiming in that direction. He played at a 45-degree angle from the flag, ran the shot some 40 feet by to a ridge, then watched it roll back and graze the edge of the cup.
 
We almost had another shot of the week on consecutive holes, caddie Jim Mackay said, referring to Mickelsons wedge through the trees to 9 feet for birdie to win the Colonial on Sunday.
 
Garcia, playing for the first time since winning The Players Championship, ran off three straight birdies toward the conclusion of his round until twice trying to play out of the bank of the water on No. 9, only once successfully. He finished with a double bogey for a 72.
 
Even though I played well, it felt like you couldnt'you didnt, he said. There were very little chances of giving yourself a putt you could go for. Its just not easy. Unfortunately that double on the last, after all the work I did, that didnt feel that good.
 
The greens were so fast that rules officials also were on the defensive, having to abandon several hole locations to keep it fair. One possibility was the front of the 11th green, because any putt above the hole could run off the green and into the creek.
 
It was fast. It was frightening at times. But it was fair, which was reflected in the scoring.
 
Thirteen players still managed to break 70, a group that included Colonial runner-up Rod Pampling (67), former Memorial champion Carl Pettersson (68) and former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
 
One area that kept this from being anything like the Masters was the field.
 
It was tough enough for the Memorial to lose Tiger Woods (knee), Vijay Singh (ribs), Steve Stricker (elbow) and Adam Scott (fatigue). the field expanded to 120 players this year to keep all invitationals consistent in size, but several players didnt want to come.
 
Ten alternates got into the tournament, but the list went down 17 names because of alternates who withdrew. Tee times at the Memorial used to be cherished.
 
It was the alternate who didnt want to come, Quigley said. Maybe it was too far away or they had U.S. Open qualifying. But how can you skip coming here?
 
Quigley got the call Tuesday while playing with Brad Faxon in Rhode Island, and when he got to Muirfield Village, all he heard on the range were horror stories about thick rough and lightning-quick greens.
 
It was doomsday out there, Quigley said.
 
But as they showed Thursday, it wasnt that bad if the shots were hit in the right spot and the putts were on the right line.
 
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    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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    Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

    SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

    Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

    Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

    With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

    ''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

    Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    ''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

    Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

    Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

    He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    "I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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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.