Rookie Stenson Continues to Shine

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 12, 2001, 4:00 pm
Despite a shaky start, Henrik Stenson managed to collect himself with a third round score of 71 and retain his solid lead at the Benson and Hedges International Open.
At 11-under-par 205, the 25-year-old Swede leads by three shots over Olle Karlsson (68) and Paul McGinley (70). Four back at 7-under sits Angel Cabrerra (69), while young Australian Aaron Baddeley (69) is amongst a group of three at minus-six.
Stenson, who began his round with the same lead of three shots, hit the bricks early, with bogies at Nos. 1 and 4, but quickly righted the ship with three birdies over the remainder of his round.
I had a rough start but I fought hard to get the shots back which I managed to do, so Im pretty pleased with the day overall, he commented. To be honest, I didnt expect to shoot 71 and still be leading by three, but it is difficult to tell what will happen sometimes.
Chances are, Stenson wasnt exactly sure what would happen at all entering this week. In the ten events in which he has competed in his rookie season, he has had a bit of a tough time of it, missing three cuts and not recording a finish better than a tie for 27th place.
However, he is no stranger to good play, as he took the top rankings on the 2000 Challenge Tour in Europe, and on Saturday, he issued his strategy to seal the deal.
My game plan tomorrow will be the same as it has been for the first three rounds, just go out there and try and play as well as I can and to do the very best on every shot. I had a good year last year, but to win on the main tour would be really special.
Likewise, it would be a special occasion for Karlsson, who has been owner to an injury-plagued career, and was forced to qualify this year through Q-school.
Last year I didnt have my card but I played 12 tournaments and was close to qualifying, he stated. But I went to Qualifying School and got my card back. This year Ive started pretty well, coming in 12th in Malaysia and eighth in Argentina, and have made a few cuts since then. And for a change I am injury-free!
Unfortunately for Sam Torrance ' who through Fridays second round, was just four shots off the lead ' injury reared its ugly face at The Belfry and he was forced to withdraw, when he damaged muscles in his midsection on the practice range.
Yet the European Ryder Cup captain remained upbeat on his prognosis for captaincy at this same Belfry course later in September.
I suppose the one good this to come from this is, that no matter how many injuries I get in September, it wont affect the performance of the team. I can walk and talk, pick and choose, bully and shout, even though I have damaged ribs.
For defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal, he is hoping he will have the opportunity to hear the jaunts and jeers from Torrance, as he sits eighth on the Order of Merit list. A round of 72 Saturday, however, has his chances for a repeat victory diminished, as he sits at 2-under for the tournament.
Likewise, Thomas Bjorn, who began his day just three off the pace, shot a disappointing 75 in Round Three to drop seven shots back at 4-under.
Full-field scores from the Benson and Hedges International Open
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

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 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.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

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.


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.