Els Completes Hawaii Sweep

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 19, 2003, 5:00 pm
Ernie Els is off to the best start in 14 years on the PGA Tour.
 
The 33-year-old South African became the first player since Steve Jones in 1989 to win the first two tournaments of the season by capturing the Sony Open Sunday in Honolulu, Hawaii.
 
Els shot 3-under 67 at the Waialae Country Club to match Aaron Baddeley, who had a 69, at 16-under-par 264.
 
He then made an improbable 43-foot birdie from the fringe on the second extra hole. Baddeley had a 20-footer to continue the playoff, but left it inches short.
 
'It was a fun day,' said Els, who earned his 12th tour win. 'I thought the kid was gonna go away, but he kept at me. Unlucky for Aaron, but he's going to win a lot of titles.'
 
Els added another $810,000 to his bank account. He collected $1 million in his record-breaking performance a week ago in Maui. He won the Mercedes Championships - by eight shots - in 31-under par, a tour record in relation to par.
 
This win was a bit harder to come by.
 
Baddeley, making his first start as a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour, had his worst ball-striking round of the week ' he hit four of 14 fairways and nine of 18 greens in regulation, but still managed to hang with the second-ranked player in the world.
 
Both men made four-foot birdie putts on the first extra hole, the par-5 18th. They then went back to the 353-yard, par-4 10th.
 
Els had driven the hole earlier in the day, but hooked his tee shot into the rough the second time around. Baddeleys tee shot finished in the front left greenside bunker.
 
With little green to work with, and a tree limb impeding a flop shot, Els ran his pitch shot through the green, 43 feet from the hole.
 
Baddeley had a straight-forward - albeit lengthy - bunker shot, but blasted out well short of the hole. After Els ran his birdie bomb home, and then Baddeleys putt to tie died on the lip.
 
'I didn't strike it the best today but I was there and had a chance to win in the end,' said Baddeley. 'Ernie didn't make many mistakes. He was putting the pressure on me to drive it in the fairway as well or hit it on the green. That and he was very composed.'
 
The victory was a bit of redemption for Els. He lost to Tiger Woods in a playoff in the 2000 Mercedes Championships, when Woods made a 40-foot birdie on the second extra hole to prevail.
 
'Tiger made that putt on me and I had a chance to tie him and I left it on the edge,' said Els. 'The world keeps on turning. Sometimes it works out for you.'
 
Els started this Sunday two back of Baddeley, but took a one-shot lead into the last after a bizarre 17th hole.
 
Els' 25-foot birdie putt was tracking toward the cup when it hit Baddeley's marker to keep it from going in.
 
Baddeley was ready to strike his three-foot par putt when he backed off after hearing a portable toliet door close. He re-started his routine, but lipped out the putt.
 
Last year, John Cook was distracted by a ringing cell phone at 17 and hit his tee shot in a greenside bunker. He bogeyed the hole and ended up one stroke behind eventual winner Jerry Kelly.
 
Baddeley was given a reprieve, however, when Els left his 15-foot birdie putt for victory at 18 short of the hole. Baddeley then converted one from nearly the same length to force the extra session.
 
Chris DiMarco shot 4-under 66 to finish third, two back of Els and Baddeley. Defending champion Kelly (65) eagled the last to tie Robert Allenby (66) for fourth place, at 12-under.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Sony Open
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    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.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    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.


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    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?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    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."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    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