Sipula Wins PGA Stroke Play
Ahead by four as the final round began, Sipula, 32, an assistant professional at Edgewood Country Club, saw his lead shrink to one after four holes before a two-stroke swing at the eighth pushed him comfortably in front again and his lead was never less than three strokes the rest of the way.
'With the wind, it was a struggle the first few holes,' Sipula said. 'It seemed like it was mostly a cross wind and it was hard to judge. I hit a lot of good shots but the wind caught some of them.'
Westerly winds gusting more than 25 miles an hour and temperatures in the 50s caused havoc most of the afternoon and only one player broke 70 all day. Fellow New Jersey pro Peter Busch of Scotch Plains shot 69 and he had started more than five hours earlier than Sipula.
Sipula's playing partners, Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah, and Ed Sabo of Tequesta, tied for second at 284 on final round scores of 73 and 75. Bob Ralston of Little Rock, Ark., and Mike Zinni of Mankato, Minn., each matched par-72 and tied for fourth with 285s.
'This is the biggest tournament I've even won,' Sipula said. 'Not the most money but the most prestigious.' It was also his first win in PGA of America competition and he earned $5,185 from the $89,000 purse.
The Stroke Play is the fourth of six national championships staged here by the PGA of America as part of its Winter Tournament Program. Still to come is the Match Play on the adjacent Dye course Monday through Feb. 4 and the Women's Stroke Play Monday through Wednesday at the nearby PGA Country Club.
Sipula's lead began to disappear almost immediately as he bogied the first and fourth holes and Sabo birdied the second from 25 feet. All three birdied the par-5 sixth, playing mostly downwind. Schneiter made up two strokes with a short birdie putt at the par-3 seventh as both Sipula and Sabo bogied. Sipula sank a 20 footer to birdie the eighth as Sabo and Schneiter bogied and suddenly the lead was three again and the winner was virtually unchallenged the rest of the way.
Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Conn., was low among three women who advanced past the 36-hole cut. She closed with 73 for 301, tied for 75th. Whaley qualified for the Greater Hartford Open in July by winning the Connecticut PGA Section Championship last September. She is the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event.
The top 25 on the money list::
278 - Tom Sipula, River Vale, N.J., 67-69-69-73. $5,185.
284 - Steve Schneiter, Sandy, Utah, 74-67-70-73. Ed Sabo, Tequesta, 68-71-70-75. $2,790.
285 - Mike Zinni, Mankato, Minn., 75-70-68-72. Bob Ralston, Little Rock, Ark., 74-70-69-72. $2,170.
287 - Steve Mulcahy, Lima, Ohio, 73-71-72-71. John Hickson, West Brook, Maine, 74-71-68-74. $1,760.
288 - Frank Bensel, Purchase, N.Y., 71-70-76-71. Ron Faria, Hempstead, N.Y., 71-69-72-76. $1,395.
290 - Lonnie Nielsen, East Aurora, N.Y., 69-75-72-74. Rob Labritz, Fairfield, Conn., 74-68-74-74. Frank Dobbs, Port St. Lucie, 72-74-69-75. $1,290.
291 - Kevin Burton, Boise, Idaho, 78-70-71-72. Kirk Hanefeld, Westford, Mass., 74-71-71-75. Brian Gaffney, Westfield, N.J., 72-74-69-76. $1,215.
292 - John Guyton, Purchase, N.Y., 74-77-70-71. Chip Johnson, North Scituate, Mass., 74-72-72-74. Bruce Zabriski, Jupiter, 74-75-68-75. Jerry Impellittiere, New Windsor, N.Y., 72-72-73-75. Terry Hatch, Pottsville, Pa., 75-71-70-76. Mike Tucker, St. Louis, Mo., 74-71-71-76. $1,099.17.
293 - Frank Dully II, Salem, Mass., 73-73-72-75. Shelby Lowman, Greenwich, Conn., 73-73-72-75. Brendon Post, Herndon, Va., 76-68-74-75. Mike San Filippo, Hobe Sound, 76-69-72-76. $968.75.
CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:
|T20||Charles Howell III||-14||$57,754|
|T36||Tyrone Van Aswegen||-12||$27,189|
|T69||Billy Hurley III||-6||$11,623|
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.