BYU Leaps into First at Mo Williams
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 18 BYU men's golf team, riding a career-low 65 from freshman Jake Ellison in the first round, had a firm grip on first place after 36 holes Monday at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate.
Ellison (65-71--136), who has twice shot 68 this season and 67 once, sat in second place in the individual standings behind Arkansas' Andrew Dahl (64-68--132). Ellison's 65 was the lowest round for BYU (281-285--566) this season.
Head coach Bruce Brockbank said he was impressed with his team's play Monday.
'It was an exciting day and the guys played really well,' Brockbank said. 'We were on top of the leader board all day.'
The Cougars had three players in the top 20: Ellison (2), sophomore Oscar Alvarez (6), and junior Greg Machtaler (16). Alvarez (68-73--141) came in just five strokes behind Ellison, his first-round 68 tying his career low. Machtaler (74-69--143) had his second-lowest round of the season when he shot 69 on the second 18. Rounding out the Cougar five were junior Todd Miller (74-73--147) and sophomore Clay Bingham (80-72--152), who recovered nicely from a poor first round 80 to shoot a 72.
Brockbank said he thinks his team should be able to hang on and win the tournament despite a tough field that includes three top-10 teams.
'We feel like we can play with them,' he said. 'We'll go out tomorrow and see if we can finish this one off. The guys are excited to get out there.'
The Cougars are just one stroke ahead of No. 8 Texas Christian (284-283--567) with 18 more holes to play. The tournament's final round will begin Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8:30 AM.
The Morris Williams, hosted by No. 7 ranked University of Texas, is held at the Austin Country Club on a par-72 course that measures 6,906 yards. The tournament draws the following tough field: Texas (7), TCU (8), Oklahoma State (10), California (13), Arkansas (16), Oklahoma (23), Pepperdine (29), Texas A&M (31), Tulsa (34), SMU (40), Baylor, Fresno State, Houston and Virginia.
Last season, BYU placed 14th in the Morris Williams. Oklahoma State (286-285--571), the winner of the 2003 tournament, was in third place going into the final round.
BYU has finished in the top five in all seven of its tournaments so far this season.
1. BYU 281-285=566 (-10); 2. TCU 284-283=567 (-9); 3. Oklahoma State 286-285=571 (-5); 4. Arkansas 288-284=572 (-4); 5. Tulsa 286-293=579 (+5); 6. Oklahoma 288-292=580 (+4); 7. California 286-295=581 (+7); T-8. Texas 287-295=582 (+6); T-8. Virginia 290-DNF=290 (+6); 10. Baylor 298-288=586 (+10); 11. Pepperdine 303-DNF=303 (+12);12. SMU 296-293=589 (+13); 13. Texas A&M 296-DNF=296 (+12); 14. Houston 292-307=599 (+23); 15. Fresno State 309-295=604 (+28).
Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas
Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.
Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?
Memo to the golf gods:
If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?
Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?
It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.
With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.
It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.
We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.
We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.
Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.
Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line. Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.
We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors.
In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.
While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.
Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.
Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.
Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.
While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.
Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.
So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?
McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever
With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.
The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.
Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.
"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."
McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.
But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.
"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."
What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire
Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.
Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x