Rutledge Gets Big Comeback Victory

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 26, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 ING NZ PGA ChampionshipCHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- Jim Rutledge fired an 8-under 64 Sunday to come from behind and win the ING New Zealand PGA Championship by one stroke. Rutledge ended the event at 9-under-par 279.
Jarrod Lyle held at least a share of the lead after the second and third rounds. A bogey at the par-4 18th dropped Lyle back to 8-under-par 280 after closing with a 2-over 74. He shared second place with Brett Rumford, who closed with a 72.
Wade Ormsby carded a 2-under 70 to finish in fourth place at minus-7. Chad Collins and Scott Gardiner were one stroke further back at 6-under-par 282 at Clearwater Resort.
Rutledge was well off the pace at minus-1 to start his round. He got off to a quick start with birdies on the first and second. The 46-year-old moved to minus-4 with a birdie on the par-5 fifth.
The Canadian then birdied the seventh for his fourth birdie of the day. Around the turn, Rutledge birdied the par-5 10th to get to 6 under and within two of the lead.
Rutledge, whose best tour finish was a tie for fifth at the 2004 Alberta Classic, parred six consecutive holes from the 11th. He then holed out for eagle on the par-four 17th to jump into a share of the lead at minus-8.
'With a hundred and eleven yards to the green I had a sand wedge, which was the perfect club for me,' said Rutledge. 'It was a little bit down wind left to right. I just tried to hit it in the middle of the green and spin it to the hole.'
Rutledge birdied the last from 25 feet out to get to minus-9.
'That green is pretty fast from right to left, so I figured that if I could just get it rolling on the right line, hopefully it wasn't going to go too far by,' Rutledge said. 'I had a good line on it and really good speed.'
Lyle was all over the place in the final round. He birdied the first to climb to 11-under. However, he bogeyed each of the next two holes. He then double bogeyed the par-5 fifth to drop to minus-7.
The Australian got one stroke back with a birdie on the sixth. Lyle parred his next six holes, then got back to 9 under with a birdie on the 13th. The 24- year-old parred four straight heading to the last. However, Lyle bogeyed the last after driving into a hazard to fall one short.
Rumford was two back at 8 under to open the round. He started the seven straight pars to remain there. After dropping a stroke on the eighth, Rumford got that right back with a birdie on No. 9.
The 28-year-old faltered to another bogey on the par-3 11th. Rumford atoned for that error with a birdie on the par-5 14th. He closed with four pars in a row to share second.
Jason Dufner and Paul Gow each shot 1-under 71 to get to 5-under-par 283. They shared seventh place with Paul Marantz, who closed with a 1-over 73.
Kevin Stadler, who won on the European Tour two weeks ago, closed with a 74. He tied for 10th place at minus-4 with Peter Fowler, Bob Heintz, David Morland IV, Peter Senior and David Smail.
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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in four months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014. 

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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    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."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    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.'"

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    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."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    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."