Pair of Broadcasters Lead Senior Event

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 20, 2001, 4:00 pm
Bob Murphy shot a second-round 66 to move into a share of the lead with Gary McCord Saturday at the SBC Championship at Dominion Country Club. Their two-day totals of 10-under-par 134 tied the 36-hole tournament record and left them one shot ahead of Bob Gilder, Bruce Fleisher and defending champion Doug Tewell.
 
McCord, a two-time Senior Tour winner and a sometimes irreverent golf analyst for CBS Sports, knocked an 8-iron to a foot for a birdie at the 14th to take a two-shot lead over Murphy, who was just finishing his round.
 
But McCord hooked his drive against rocks at the par-4 16th and was forced to play his second shot out to the fairway. Though he found the green with his third, McCord three-putted for a double-bogey six that dropped him into a tie with Murphy. He parred the final two holes for a 1-under 71.
 
'You have good days and bad days and the key is to manage things out there,' said McCord, who at 26th on the season money list is eligible to play in next week's season-ending Senior Tour Championship, an event he won in 1999.
 
McCord fired a course-record-tying 63 to grab the lead in Friday's opening round. The 9-under-par score was his best on the Senior Tour and matched his low round on the PGA Tour.
 
Murphy, a broadcaster for NBC Sports, began the day five strokes behind McCord and fell further off the pace with a bogey at the second hole. He erased the mistake with a birdie at the third then hit a 4-iron to a foot to set up an easy birdie at the 209-yard 5th.
 
After making it back-to-back tap-in birdies with a sand-wedge approach tight to the sixth hole, Murphy wrapped up the front nine in fine fashion with a 12-foot birdie putt at the eighth followed by a 25-foot chip-in for eagle at the par-5 9th.
 
Murphy moved to 10-under with a birdie at No. 11 but dropped a shot at the 12th. He lipped out birdie tries at Nos. 16 and 17 but found the mark with a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-5 closing hole.
 
'I got a new set of irons,' said Murphy, who hit 16 of 18 greens in round two. 'I started using these new clubs last week...I trust them a little more this week.'
 
Murphy, 58, amassed 11 wins in his first five seasons on the Senior Tour. His last victory came at the 1997 Toshiba Senior Classic and his best finish this year was a tie for 13th at the Senior PGA Championship in late May.
 
'My year has been crummy,' he said. 'I haven't played well at all. I putted mediocre and my confidence just wasn't there.'
 
Gilder, whose win at the Verizon Classic in February was just his third start as a member of the 50-and-over circuit, shot 67 to get to nine-under 135. Fleisher, currently second to Allen Doyle in 2001 earnings, had a 69. Tewell turned in a 68.
 
Jim Barker carded a 65 to join Larry Nelson, who had 69, at eight-under 136.
 
Doyle heads into the final round four off the pace at 138. A total of 27 players finished 36 holes within six shots of the lead.
 
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Rahm (62) takes early lead at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."