The Highs and Lows from the Week in Golf

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Front 9 and Back 9, our staff will showcase the highs and lows from the world of golf. We start with the Front 9, which offers up the top moments and stories from this previous week, and then make the turn for the lowlights.
Front 9 Hole 1
I AM RORY, HEAR ME ROAR: Up until this point, Rory Sabbitini had recently just talked the talk. But with a playoff win over Jim Furyk and Bernhard Langer at the Colonial, the brash South African has again walked the walk, nabbing his fourth career PGA TOUR victory. Sabbatini had been threatening victory since the Masters. But, ultimately, his mouth created more headlines than his play. Now, his words don't ring so hollow.
Hole 2
ELEMENTARY, MR. WATSON: There have been plenty of major surprises in major championships over the years. You can now add Denis Watson to that list. Watson captured the Senior PGA Championship for his first win in 23 years. The 51-year-old ZImbabwean was a rising star on the PGA TOUR in the early '80s until a single swing, in which he hit a hidden tree stump, derailed his career forever -- or at least until Sunday. Watson proved once again that there is no greater second opportunity in professional sports than the Champions Tour.
Hole 3
BIG GAME HUNTER: After his victory on Sunday, Dane Anders Hansen has only two career titles to his credit on the European Tour. But, boy, does he know how to pick 'em. Both wins have come in the Euro Tour's version of THE PLAYERS - the BMW PGA Championship. Hansen nipped Justin Rose in a playoff at Wentworth, which added to his other victory in this event in 2002, when he cruised to a five-stroke win over Colin Montgomerie.
Hole 4
KIM POSSIBLE: There were 144 players in the field for this past week's LPGA Corning Classic. And with eight players named Kim in attendance, there was a 5.5 percent chance at least one of them would win. One did. Young Kim made a couple of late birdies Sunday to pull away from Paula Creamer and capture her first LPGA Tour title. That makes five different Kims who have won on tour since the start of the '05 season.
Hole 5
BIRDIE KIM: No, not the Birdie Kim of U.S. Women's Open fame, but Anthony Kim, the one who set the 2007 PGA TOUR record for consecutive birdies when he rolled in six straight in his opening round at Colonial. After a bogey at the 12th, Kim rode the birdie train all the way to the clubhouse and into a share of the Rd.1 lead. As impressive as that was, it was still two shy of the all-time record of eight in a row held by six different players, the last being Jerry Kelly at the 2003 Las Vegas Invitational.
Hole 6
WE'VE SAVED SOME SEATS FOR YOU TWO: It was announced this past week that world No. 2 (That seems odd, doesn't it?) Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie will be back in action this week at the Ginn Tribute Hosted By Annika. Though the LPGA is in good shape with players such as Ochoa, Creamer, Pressel and Gulbis, there's no question the two biggest names in the women's game are Wie and Annika. It also helps that Annika will actually be competing in the inaugural event she is hosting.
Hole 7
MR. LAS VEGAS: Tiger Woods wasn't playing this past week in Ft. Worth. Instead, he was partying in Las Vegas. Wood hosted his 10th annual Tiger Jam. Friday, he gave a private clinic and then attended a VIP concert for about 1,500 people with Hootie & The Blowfish on stage. Saturday, it was Bon Jovi who played before nearly 10,000 fans. Silent and live auctions were held, where everything from a putting lesson from Tiger and pro-am spots in Tiger's Target World Challenge and AT&T National (which reportedly fetched $95,000) were on offer to a trip for two to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China ($125,000). Woods hoped to raise $1 million for his Tiger Woods Foundation and local charities.
Hole 8
QUITE THE HAT TRICK: Love 'em or hate 'em, another team at Duke as racked up yet another national championship. The Lady Blue Devils cruised to a 15-stroke win over Purdue in the NCAA finals held at LPGA International's Legends Course in Daytona Beach, Fla. And the fact that it was the team's third straight title will undoubtedly rankle all the Duke haters out there. Arkansas' Stacy Lewis rallied to win the individual championship.
Hole 9
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?: Paul Claxton did more than just win for the first time in six years on the Nationwide Tour; he became the first player to cross the million-dollar threshold in career Nationwide earnings. The $108,000 he pocketed at the inaugural Melwood Prince George's County Open pushed his career tour total to $1,101,673. We weren't sure if making over $1 million on the Nationwide Tour was a good thing or not -- so we kept it right around the turn. Then again, a million dollars is a million dollars however or wherever you earn it.
Back 9 Hole 10
HERE WIE GO AGAIN: Another item that deserves a spot around the turn is Michelle Wie agreeing to a sponsors exemption to play in the PGA TOURs John Deere Classic in August. It was just a few weeks ago that her instructor, David Leadbetter, said that Wie would be forgoing mens events to focus on playing ' and trying to beat ' players of her own gender. So much for that. Wie will be competing in the event for the third straight year. She withdrew last year in the middle of the second round due to heat exhaustion. Wies last five rounds on the PGA TOUR have been 76-78-81-77-77.
Hole 11
THE CREAM IS RISING ... and then fading away. At one point on Sunday, Jim Furyk, Paula Creamer, Justin Rose and Nick Price were either in the lead, tied for the lead or within ear shot of the lead in their respective tournaments. But in the end, all four came out with the short end of the stick - Rose and Furyk losing in playoffs and Creamer and Price fading to three shots back of the winner.
Hole 12
THE BIG CAT'S SMALL FINISH: Of all the players who lost this past week, perhaps none had to feel more defeated than Eduardo Romero. The Argentine had a four-stroke lead on Saturday at the Senior PGA Championship before bogeying his final two holes to cut his advantage to two. Then, still leading Watson by a couple through 12 holes on Sunday, Romero bogeyed 13 and double bogeyed 14. That helped put Romero from 2 up to 2 down, where he ultimately finished.
Hole 13
WHAT'S A MILLION EUROS ANYWAY?: The European Tour announced recently that anyone who could capture the Irish Open and the BMW Championship in back-to-back weeks would also win a huge bonus of 1 million euros. Well, Padraig Harrington took a step in the right direction when he became the first Irishman to win the host country's championship in some 25 years. Then came the tour's flagship championship at Wentworth, ironically a place Harrington has bypassed in the past because he didn't like the course set-up. Heading into the weekend, Padraig was just two strokes out of the lead with a million thoughts dancing around his head. But course karma derailed him in the third round when he posted a 3-over 75 that pretty much simultaniously ended his run at a second consecutive title and the pot of gold that awaited.
Hole 14
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: Kelly Jo Dowd, a cancer-stricken mother whose dream of seeing her teenaged daughter, Dakoda, play in an LPGA event was realized last spring, died Thursday. She was 42. Kelly Jo spent her final years battling breast, bone and liver cancer, which spread to her brain in the final months of her life. She also spent her final years supporting her daughter's dreams, and being an inspiration to all those suffering through this terrible disease.
Hole 15
IT'S NOT YOU, MR. HOGAN: With a new date on the PGA TOUR schedule that doesn't see it coupled in back-to-back weeks with the Byron Nelson Championship, the Crown Plaza Championship suffered a from a lack of big name players. Not helping matters was the fact that the European Tour was staging it's version of THE PLAYERS, with eight of the top-15 players in the world in attendance.
Hole 16
IF ONLY FOR A MOMENT: Ms. 59. The Queen of Golf. Perhaps the all-time greatest player in the women's game. Oops, sorry about that. It was the other Sorenstam. As in Charotta. And it was Charlotta - and we repeat, not Annika - who owned the first-round lead at the Corning Classic, an event her sister won in 2004. Three days later the other Sorenstam finished 19 shots back of the winner and in a tie for 60th place.
Hole 17
JUST HOW LOW DO I HAVE TO GO?: A week after her maiden victory on the Ladies European Tour, Bettina Hauert again found herself in a position to win heading into the final round of the BMW Ladies Italian Open in Rome. So what did she do? The German simply went out and fired a sensational, course-record 10-under 62 ... to lose by a stroke. Her round, which included four birdies and two eagles on the back side, fell one shot shy of winner Trish Johnson, whose 6-under 66 got the job done.
Hole 18
DAMN KIDS!!!: It is very rare when a player does not return to an event to defend his or her title. But that was the case last weekend when Hee Won Han failed to show up at the LPGA Corning Classic. As much as she would have liked to have been on hand to have a go for the repeat win, her excuse was, well, very excusable - she is pregnant with her first child. At least Han now has something she can hold over her child's head everytime he or she gets Mom mad.
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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.

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    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

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    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

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    ''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.

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    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.