Unmasking Muirfields Unknows

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2002, 4:00 pm
The top of the leaderboard at the 131st Open Championship is filled with household names like Els, Woods, Montgomerie, Price and O'Meara. But it also contains some lesser known names who have put together two solid rounds to stand alongside the world's best.
 
The following is a quick guide to help you get to know some of the men who find themselves near the top at Muirfield, but near the bottom of golf's consciousness.
 

 

Soren Hansen
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T6
Country: Denmark
Age: 28
Turned Pro: 1997
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 88th
Wins: 1 (European)
Best Open Finish: T83 (2001)
Hansen picked up his first European victory on the fourth hole of a plauoff at the 2002 Murphy's Irish Open. Coached by former European Tour player, Anders Sorensen, coach to the Danish national team. Partnered Thomas Bjrn to a share of second place in the WGC-EMC2 World Cup as Denmark lost out to South Africa in a play-off.

 

Carl Pettersson
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T6
Country: Sweden
Age: 24
Turned Pro: 2000
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 76th
Wins: 1 (European)
Best Open Finish: N/A
Pettersson won the 2002 Algarve Open de Portugal in a play-off with David Gilford. Father, Lars was an Executive for Volvo Trucks Division, resulting in Carl moving from Sweden to England Raleigh, North Carolina. Won four All-American titles while studying at North Carolina State University. Won the European Amateur in 2000.

 

Des Smyth
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T6
Country: Ireland
Age: 49
Turned Pro: 1974
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 279th
Wins: 8 (European)
Best Open Finish: T4 (1982)
Smyth became the oldest winner in European Tour history by winning the 2001 Madeira Island Open at the age of 48 years and 34 days - 20 days older than the previous oldest champion, Neil Coles. Has won in four different decades. Member of two Ryder Cup teams (1979, '81). Six-time winner of Irish National Championship. Was a member of Irish team which won the Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1988.

 

Stephen Ames
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T9
Country: Trinidad & Tabago
Age: 38
Turned Pro: 1987
Current Tour: PGA Tour
World Rank: 75th
Wins: 2 (European) 1 (Buy.Com)
Best Open Finish: T5 (1997)
Ames is the first player from the caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Grandmother was two-time golf champion of Trinidad & Tabago. Won 1991 Pensacola Open on then Hogan Tour. Claimed first European title at 1994 Open V33 then won again in 1996 Benson & Hedges Int'l Open. Best PGA Tour performances were third place finishes at 1998 Nissan and 1999 Sprint Int'l.

 

Thomas Levet
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T9
Country: France
Age: 33
Turned Pro: 1988
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 134th
Wins: 2 (European)
Best Open Finish: T49 (1999)
Levet was born into a sporting family. His father, a doctor, played hockey and tennis, while his mother played volleyball for France. Became first Frenchman to play on PGA Tour in 1994. Picked up first European Tour win at the 1997 Cannes Open, becoming the first Frenchman to win in France since 1969. Earned his seconf title at the 2001 Victor Chandler British Masters, after a four-way play-off.

 

Ian Poulter
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T9
Country: England
Age: 26
Turned Pro: 1994
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 108th
Wins: 2 (European)
Best Open Finish: T64 (2000)
Poulter won in each of his first two seasons on the European Tour. Won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award in 2000. Sealed the award by winning the Italian Open and finishing 31st on the 2000 Order of Merit. Earned second title six months later at the 2001 Moroccan Open. Won the Open de Cte d'Ivoire on the Challenge Tour in 1999.

Full Coverage of the 131st Open Championship
 
Full-field scores from the 131st Open Championship
Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, 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.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

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 PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

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 Course 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. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

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.

Getty Images

Mickelson 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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. 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.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.