Looking Back at the First-Timers Part 1

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 6, 2002, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)First-time winners were more frequent than inclement weather this season on the PGA Tour. Eighteen players recorded their maiden tour victories, with three winning on multiple occasions. That number easily broke the old tour record of 14, set in 1991.
 
From Jerry Kelly winning the first full-field event to Luke Donald winning the last, here is a brief look at the first nine this season. Tomorrow we'll make the turn and look at the second nine.
 

Jerry Kelly
 
The 36-year-old Wisconsin won his first PGA Tour event in his 200th career start. He birdied the par-5 18th to defeat John Cook by a single shot in the Sony Hawaii Open. Kelly added his second title in July at the Advil Western Open, and ended the season sixth on the money list with nearly $3 million ' roughly what he made the last four years combined.
 

Matt Gogel
 
Gogel earned the most redemptive victory of the season when he captured the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He was the helpless victim to Tiger Woods seven-shot comeback in 2000. He then took a three-stroke lead into the weekend in 2001, only to shoot 81 on Saturday. This time, he birdied the 72nd hole from 45 feet, while Pat Perez self-destructed with a triple-bogey-8.
 
That was easily the highlight of Gogels season. He recorded only a pair of top-10 finishes over his final 21 starts. The $720,000 he collected at Pebble comprised 66 percent of his yearly intake.
 

Len Mattiace
 
He was best known as the man who lost the 1998 Players Championship when he put two in the water on 17 that Sunday; that was until this years Nissan Open. It took over seven years and 220 events for Mattiace to get win No. 1, but it only took 13 more starts to get win No. 2. Mattiaces FedEx St. Jude victory was part of a career-best year in which he earned over $2 million, and finished for the first time, at 18th, inside the top 60 on the money list.
 

Kevin Sutherland
 
It started with a come-from-behind, 20-hole upset over David Duval. It ended with a 1-up win over Scott McCarron, and a $1 million paycheck. Sutherland defeated Duval, Paul McGinley, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Brad Faxon and McCarron to win the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Sutherland was seeded 62nd among the 64 participants. It was his first victory since joining the tour in 1996. He notched only one more top-10 over the remainder of the season, however, earning just over half of what he made that one week at La Costa.
 

Ian Leggatt
 
The same week that Sutherland danced in the debutante's ball, so too did Ian Leggatt. The now 37-year-old Canadian won the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open, which was played simultaneously to the Match Play Championship.
 
Leggatt recorded sparse results the remainder of the year, with five top-20s, five missed cuts, and two withdrawals. He finished the year 47th on the money list.
 

Matt Kuchar
 
The 1997 U.S. Amateur champion won the Honda Classic by combining a four-hole birdie stretch on the back nine Sunday with a handful of difficult par saves. The victory was rewarding in more ways than the $630,000 check. Kuchar silenced critics who said he made a career mistake by not turning professional after his early amateur success.
 
After earning his 2002 card through sponsor's exemptions, Kuchar made over $1.2 million this year to finish 49th in the cash department.
 

Craig Perks
 
Chip-in eagle at 16; 25-foot birdie at 17; chip-in par save at 18; thats the way Perks concluded his remarkable victory in The Players Championship. The New Zealander, ranked 203rd in the world at the start of the week, won in his first appearance in the tours most important non-major event. He made $1,080,000 for his maiden triumph, but missed 10 of his final 19 cuts to miss The Tour Championship, and end the season 34th in earnings.
 

K.J. Choi
 
Choi became the first Korean-born player to win a PGA Tour event by cruising to a four-stroke victory in the Compaq Classic of New Orleans. To prove that wasnt a fluke, he also won the Tampa Bay Classic. Choi earned over $2 million in just his third season on tour, finishing 17th on the money list.
 

Chris Smith
 
Smith finally secured a spot in the big leagues after bouncing back and forth for the past seven years between the primary circuit and the developmental tour. He won the Buick Classic to garner a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. He finished the year with $1.36 million, nearly doubling his career tour earnings.
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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.