Players Look to Snap Winless Funks
The only thing he doesnt have during that span is a victory.
Winless since the 1998 Deposit Guaranty Classic, Funk is on track to end that streak at this weeks John Deere Classic.
The 46-year-old Maryland Terrapin fired his second straight 64 to earn a share of the second-round lead in Silvis, Ill. He stands at 14-under-par 128, tied with J.P. Hayes, who shot a career and touranment best round of 10-under 61.
Hayes' round included 11 birdies and one bogey. He birdied five of his first seven holes, before dropping a shot at the par-4 eighth. Unfazed, he birdied Nos. 10-12 and Nos. 15 and 16. After failing to tie Funk on the par-5 17th, Hayes concluded his record round with a 3 on the par-4 18th.
Hayes' Record Scorecard
'It was a lot of fun,' Hayes said. 'I felt like I was going to play well, but you never expect something like that. The putter was the difference.'
Robert Gamez, who hasn't won since his rookie season in 1990, is one back after a 64.
Funk has nearly been flawless over the first two rounds at the TPC at Deere Run. He has recorded 14 birdies and no bogeys, and missed but one fairway and one green through 36 holes.
The five-time tour winner is fresh off a second-place finish in last weeks B.C. Open. It was his first event in the U.S. in a month and a half. Funk played three consecutive weeks in Europe, trying to work his way into the Open Championship. He failed to qualify for the seasons third major, but found some solace at En-Joie.
'I feel really good mainly coming off such a good week last week,' said Funk. 'I really am hungry for a win and I want it really bad. I don't want it too bad that I'm going to get in my own way.'
Hayes, like his fellow co-leader, is winless on the tour since garnering his maiden title in the 1998 Buick Classic. But since his victory, the 36-year-old has been a mainstay inside the top 100 on the money list, and hasn't had to venture to Q-School since 1997 (his fourth overall appearance).
While Hayes has been consistent over the past four years, the same cannot be said for Gamez.
The 34-year-old hasnt finished inside the top 140 on the money list since the 1997 campaign. That was also the year of his last top-10 finish in a tour event ' until this season.
Gamez tied for seventh in Greensboro, tied for ninth at the FedEx, and then closed in 66 to tie for third at the B.C. Open. Due to his Past Champion status, hes played in 11 events this year, missing five cuts, but making the most of his weekend opportunities.
Hes currently 111th on the money list.
Gamez furthered his effort to regain full-exempt status on tour by carding eight birdies and one bogey Friday.
'This is by far the most consistent I've played since I've been out here,' Gamez said.
Pat Bates, who turned 33 Friday, celebrated his birthday by shooting a career best 9-under 62 to finish at 10-under-par 132.
Full-field scores from the John Deere Classic
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.