Lefty Hope-ing for Fresh Start

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicThere's Ray Romano, Huey Lewis, Yogi Berra, Clint Eastwood, Roger Clemens, Oscar De La Hoya and even American Idol winner Taylor Hicks. And let's not forget the new official host of the event, George Lopez.

Sure, they're big stars and all, but they'll be dwarfed by the attention paid by the one true star of this year's edition of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic: Phil Mickelson. Lefty.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson has won in his first start of the season on five different ocassions.
The three-time major winner. The owner of the now infamous quote, 'Im such an idiot.' -- his comment after his meltdown on the 72nd hole at Wingfoot.

After much has been written and debated over that last couple of months regarding him and his mental health, the 35-year-old Mickelson makes a very attention-grabbing return to the TOUR, having not played in an official PGA TOUR event since the WGC-NEC Invitational in late August.

Has he put that disaster behind him? Will he be refreshed and ready to climb back into the No. 2 spot in the world rankings?

He has too much talent not to recover,' said Golf Channel and CBS analyst Peter Oosterhuis, 'but who knows?

One would think that he would, but having not played at the end of the year, and having not played very well when he did, there are some questions he has to answer (in 2007).

These questions may or not be answered over 90 holes of golf in the desert, but perhaps more importantly is the fact that golf fans will at least get to see one of their favorite players back out on the course.

This week also marks the 2007 season debut of David Duval. It was here eight years ago that Duval became the third and, at the moment, last player to shoot a 59 on the PGA TOUR.

Duval is playing out this season by using his exempt status as a top-25 player on the career PGA TOUR money list. After making just one cut in 2005, Duval saw much improvement last season, making 11 of 24 cuts with his best finish coming at the U.S. Open, where he tied for 16th.

The Hope is a five-day event played on four different courses - Classic Club (host course), PGA West, LaQuinta CC, and Bermuda Dunes CC. The tournament has a purse of $5 million with $900,000 going to the winner.

Chad Cambell is the defending champion.

Heres our list of players to watch for ' with a twist. Instead of nominating our overall tournament favorites ' which can consist of many of the same players each week ' we will present our favorites from four different categories: Superstar (top-10 ranked player from the Official World Golf Ranking); Second Tier (guys outside the top 10, but no lower than 100); First-Timer (a player who has never won before on TOUR); Veteran (a guy who has won before, but not in some time).

Well, this one was easy, considering the fact that Mickelson is the only player from the top-10 in the rankings teeing it up this week. He would have been the logical choice anyway due to his past success here and also because of this little nugget: five times in his career Lefty has won a title in his very first appearance of the season. His line for the last five times he's been at the Hope: Win, T6, Win, T12, T5.

Second Tier
Currently ranked 41st in the world, Lucas Glover is someone to watch for after his solid showing a year ago. It was his first time in the event and he posted a tie for 10th, one of his eight top-10 showings for the year. Seeing that this event is played over 90 holes, Glover will have plenty of opportunities to score. He was second only to Daniel Chopra in total birdies last season.

Like father, like son. Back in 1980, Craig Stadler won his first-ever PGA TOUR event with a win at the Hope. Now his son Kevin will look to do the same. Having played on three different tours last season - six starts on the PGA TOUR, 10 on the Nationwide Tour, and six on the European Tour - Stadler earned enough on the Nationwide to regain his PGA TOUR card of the '07 season. He also broke through last year in one of his six Euro starts with a win at the Johnnie Walker Championship.

A former winner in 2000, Jesper Parnevik has always played well here in the desert. The colorful Swede has teed it up 10 times in this event, and in addition to his victory, has four top-10s, with two top-5s coming in his last three starts. He finished second only to Campbell last year, his best showing since a runner-up at the 2004 Chrysler Championship. Parnevik, whose last win on TOUR came in 2001, played well last week in Hawaii, until a closing 2-over 72 dropped him into a tie for 28th place.

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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.